COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It's always fun to reflect and look back at success, really revel in the joyous memories that often associate with those fleeting moments of pure victory. With the new school year fast approaching, CollegeBaseballInsider.com has provided a great opportunity for Golden Eagle baseball fans to do just that.
It may have taken some time, but CollegeBaseballInsider.com has given Tech fans that opportunity to enjoy the baseball team's recent success. After contributing to one of the most successful seasons in program history, including a school-record 40 wins and the biggest win in Tech athletics history (defeating No. 2 Vanderbilt), first baseman Zach Stephens and third baseman Daniel Miles earned CollegeBaseballInsider.com/Louisville Slugger All-American Honorable Mention.
Both honors were well deserving of the two junior corner infielders as both put together remarkable offensive and defensive seasons.
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.