By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Even though the 2013 season has come to an end for the Tennessee Tech baseball team, there is still much that awaits this Golden Eagle squad as post season awards from around the country are still being awarded.
Just one week after the Golden Eagles earned seven players among the all-Ohio Valley Conference squads, six more have been honored by College Sports Madness as some of the best players in the OVC.
The top award goes to senior ace Tristan Archer, who earned OVC Pitcher of the Year honors by College Sports Madness.
A four-year starting pitcher, Archer spent much of this season rewriting the Tennessee Tech record books and firmly cementing a place among the all-time greats in Tech history. Archer broke three career records this season including career victories (23), innings pitched (323.2), and starts (55). He ranks second among all Tech pitchers in strikeouts, setting down 273 batters on strikes.
On the year, Archer broke his career-high in wins, leading the Golden Eagles with nine and ranking second in the Ohio Valley Conference. His 97 strikeouts this season, also a career-high, ranked second in the league. He threw 97 innings, and put up three 10+ strikeout games this season, including his first career complete-game shutout over SIUE. The performance led to the senior garnering his fourth career adidas OVC Pitcher of the Week honor. A member of the 2010 OVC all-Freshman team, Archer was also named OVC Player of the Week by College Sports Madness earlier this season.
Stephens came into the 2013 season with huge expectations after being named Ohio Valley Conference Preseason co-Player of the Year, Preseason All-OVC first-team, Preseason All-America third-team by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America honorable mention by CollegeBaseballInsider.com. The junior did a great job of tempering those expectations by leading the Golden Eagles in runs scored (59), hits (77), home runs (15), RBI (71), walks (38), and slugging percentage (.616).
He also ranks in the top five in the OVC in slugging percentage, runs, total bases, and walks. The junior recorded a solid .341 batting average and improved dramatically on the defensive side of the ball, owning a .994 fielding percentage after 57 games at first base. He earned adidas OVC Player of the Week earlier this season as well as OVC Player of the Week by College Sports Madness. In just three seasons, Stephens has already made on impact on the Tech record books, pasting his names among the best hitters to don a Golden Eagle uniform.
His 43 career long balls already ranks second on the all-time home runs list, just eight behind former Tech slugger A.J. Kirby-Jones and 10 off the all-time OVC record . He also ranks second for career RBI, racking up 172 so far in his career, just 36 shy of the OVC record. Stephens already ranks among the top 10 hitters in Tech history as his 216 hits are good enough for eighth. He is also among the top 10 in career doubles (seventh), slugging percentage (sixth), total bases (third), and walks (10th) and is approaching the top 10 in runs scored, triples, and at bats. This year also marked the second straight season Stephens earned All-OVC second-team honors.
In just his first season as member of the Golden Eagles, third baseman Daniel Miles proved to be a difference maker at third base. The junior ranked second on the squad with a .337 batting average, collecting 67 hits in 53 games this season. Twenty-six of those hits went for extra bases, including 11 doubles, three triples and 12 home runs. His .603 slugging percentage ranked second on the team. He also ranks in the top five in the league in RBI (53), triples, home runs, and total bases (118).
Miles put together one of the best single-game performances in team history this season, hammering three home runs at Austin Peay. All three dingers came in consecutive innings as the junior slugger recorded six RBI in the contest. His weekend performance against the Governors led to his first of two adidas OVC Player of the Week awards as well as two Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week honors. This season he also became the first Tech player to ever hit a grand slam in back-to-back games.
After garnering OVC All-Freshman honors just a season ago, shortstop Dylan Bosheers collected second-team honors from the OVC following another solid season. The sophomore started every game of the season at shortstop, just one year after making every start at second base. Bosheers didn't missed a beat, recording a .977 fielding percentage and making just one error the entire OVC season. He batted an impressive .329 on the year, collecting 71 hits, including 20 doubles, two triples, and six long balls. His .523 slugging percentage ranked fourth on the team, as did his 46 RBI. He was also one of just three Tech players to hit a grand slam on the year.
Senior James Abraham collected OVC second-team honors behind a fantastic overall year. The left fielder led the Golden Eagles with a .347 batting average and also led Tech with 14 stolen bases. Abraham made just two errors all season, putting together a .978 fielding percentage. He collected 69 hits while scoring 40 runs and driving in 31 more while slugging .422. He also drew 28 walks to contribute to his .430 on-base percentage.
Seth Lucio put together arguably the best season as a closer in Tech history. In his first season as the Golden Eagle closer, the sophomore broke the single-season saves record and tied the career record of 12. He made a single-season record 30 appearances on the year, allowing just nine earned runs in over 44 innings of work. He struck out an incredible 61 batters this season, walking just 18 and holding batters to a .211 average. Just one season after being named to the OVC All-Freshman team, Lucio earned OVC second-team honors this season.