By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
JACKSON, Tenn. – Less than a day from the beginning of the 2014 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, the league announced its post season awards Tuesday evening. And for the second straight year, eight members of the Tennessee Tech baseball team received recognition for their performances on the diamond during the regular season.
Three Tech players were names to the All-OVC First Team, three more were named to the All-OVC Second Team, and two were named to the OVC All-Freshman Team.
Boasting one of the nation's best offenses, the Golden Eagles lead all of Division I baseball in runs (456), runs per game (8.3), home runs (78), and home runs per game (1.42). Tech also ranks second in slugging percentage (.497), hits (615), and walks (294), third in on base percentage (.412), and in the top 10 in batting average (.311), doubles (114), sac flies (33), and fielding percentage (.980).
The Golden Eagles proved to be one of the best teams in the Ohio Valley Conference during the regular season, finishing in second place while amassing 38 wins, just one season after posting a school-record 39 in the 2013 regular season.
Key to those 38 victories, were all eight Tech players honored Tuesday evening starting with senior right fielder Brandon Thomasson.
A native of Royal Palm Beach, Fla., Thomasson garnered his second straight All-OVC First Team honor, taking home the honor a year after earning the same honor as a designated hitter. (Fact) The slugger has been one of the best in college baseball this season, leading the nation in total bases (169) and extra base hits (44). He also ranks second in Division I ball with 22 home runs, second with a .748 slugging percentage, and third with 70 RBI.
He is just the fifth player in the history of the BB Core bat era (began in the 2012 season) to hit 22 or more long balls. Thomasson also ranks second on the Tech single-season list for home runs, just four behind A.J. Kirby-Jones' OVC record of 26 in 2010. He also is just four RBI away from the Tech single-season mark held by former Golden Eagle great Mark Maberry. He is just two weeks removed from being named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.
Also named to the All-OVC First Team for the second consecutive season was third baseman Daniel Miles. The senior has been recognized for his incredible play all season, earning a spot on the USA Baseball Midseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List as well as being named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy. He also earned OVC Player of the Week and NCAA National Player of the Week honors this season.
Miles is batting a team-best .385 on the year, ranking second in the nation with 63 runs scored. The Pascagoula, Miss. native has 85 hits this season, ranking fifth all-time in Tech's single-season record book. He also has driven in 48 runs on the power of 17 doubles, a triple, and 10 home runs. He is slugging .606 and has walked 35 times as compared to striking out just 19 times. Miles has made just seven errors on the year at the hot corner, accruing a fielding percentage of .950.
Junior Dylan Bosheers just keeps getting better every year he play, earning All-OVC First Team honors as a shortstop a year after earning Second Team honors and two years after being named the OVC All-Newcomer team. In addition to earning OVC Player of the Week honors this season, Bosheers has also been named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and earned a spot on the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List.
A three-year starter from Lawrenceburg, Tenn., Bosheers is batting .369 with 62 runs scored and 49 RBI this year, racking up a career-high 10 home runs in 55 starts. He has 80 hits this season while slugging .576 and stealing eight bases. The junior also has played incredible defense, recording a .967 fielding percentage.
Despite a down year in terms of batting average, senior Zach Stephens produced at enormous levels to earn his third consecutive All-OVC Second Team recognition. The first baseman is batting .277 with 17 home runs, 53 RBI, and 49 runs scored while making just four errors for a .992 fielding percentage.
Stephens spent most of the season rewriting the Tech and OVC record books, setting combined marks with two more in his sight. The Hixson, Tenn. native has already shattered two of the most prestigious league records that had stood for over 30 years, the marks for career home runs and RBI. With 60 long balls and 225 RBI, Stephens has set the standard far beyond that of the former marks set by Western Kentucky's Mike Williams in 1981.
The slugger has also moved to the top of the Tech career list for games played (218), at bats (875), runs (185), hits (281), total bases (519), as well as home runs and RBI. He sits just two doubles back of the current Golden Eagle record and two total bases away from the OVC mark.
A former walk-on and transfer from Chattanooga State Community College, senior Zach Zarzour has been an absolute steal for the Tech squad as he earned his second consecutive All-OVC Second Team honor Tuesday evening. He earned OVC Player of the Week honors earlier this season after batting above .700 in four games.
The second baseman is batting .336 as the leadoff man for the Golden Eagles, scoring 50 runs and gathering 76 hits. He owns an impressive .443 on base percentage while drawing a team-high 36 walks. He owns a solid .963 fielding percentage and has driven in 36 runs while raking 17 doubles in 54 games.
Making the transition from long reliever to Friday ace, junior starter David Hess hasn't missed a beat on his way to All-OVC Second Team honors, leading the Golden Eagles in wins, ERA among starters, and strikeouts. He earned OVC Pitcher of the Week honors earlier this season as well.
Hess has fanned 91 batters this season, already putting him in third place all time among Tech pitchers in strikeouts with 219 for his career. He owns an impressive 8-3 record with a 3.54 ERA in 14 starts for the Golden Eagles. The Tullahoma, Tenn. native has tossed 86 and a third innings while walking just 26 batters and holding opponents to a .238 average.
The future looks bright for this Golden Eagle squad as well as two members were named to the OVC All-Freshman team.
Evan Fraliex has made 10 starts and 17 total appearances for Tech this season, recording a 3.88 ERA over 58 innings of work. He has struck out 36 batters and held opponents to a .288 batting average while recording a record of 3-0.
Kyle Keatts has played a crucial role for the Golden Eagles out of the bullpen this season, recording a 3.13 ERA in 21 appearances and two starts. In 37 and one third innings, the right-hander has recorded 23 strikeouts to just 11 walks, holding opponents to a .239 batting average. He owns a 4-1 record with two saves this season.
The Golden Eagles will play its first tournament game of the 2014 OVC Tournament on Thursday at 3 p.m., taking on the best seed remaining from Wednesday's contests. The game will broadcast on FM 106.1 The Eagle by Dylan Vazzano and can also be viewed on the OVC Digital Network.