May 20, 2008
MACON, Ga. - After shattering records for a team in its first year in the Atlantic Sun, Florida Gulf Coast racked up the hardware with Jason Peacock, Richard Bleier and head coach Dave Tollet winning the league's top three individual awards, the conference office announced on Tuesday.
The Eagles became the third team in A-Sun history to win a regular-season championship in their first year in the league and the first to win the title in the one-division alignment. At 25-8, the Eagles established the record for the most conference wins by a program in their first year in the A-Sun, breaking the record set in 1999 when Jacksonville finished its first year at 22-8.
Bleier, a junior from Davie, Fla., was a unanimous selection as the Pitcher of the Year and also earned a spot on First Team with a unanimous vote. He led the A-Sun in ERA (2.19), innings pitched (90.1) and complete games (four). He shared the top spot in wins with seven and ranked fourth in strikeouts with 76.
Peacock finished with the sixth-highest batting average in A-Sun history, producing a .434 mark while reaching base at a .525 clip. He increased his production during conference play, hitting .466 with a .566 on-base percentage.
All told, Florida Gulf Coast saw eight of its players earn some level of recognition. In addition to Bleier and Peacock, reliever J.J. Crumbley and outfielder Ozzie Borrell made the First Team. Pete Woodworth, who tied Bleier atop the A-Sun with seven wins and freshman second baseman Mikel Alvarez landed on the Second Team. Alvarez, right-hander Richie Erath and left-hander Chris Sale all earned spots on the All-Freshman team.
Lipscomb, the top seed in the Atlantic Sun Baseball Championship Presented by Progress Energy, had a pair of representatives on the First Team. The battery mates of Brandon McClurg and Caleb Joseph made the First Team. For Joseph, 2008 marked a second-straight appearance who ranked in the top six in home runs (tied for fourth, 14), total bases (fourth, 136), slugging percentage (fifth, .618), RBI (tied for sixth, 53) and doubles (tied for sixth, 18).
McClurg, led the Bisons staff posting a 6-5 record while sporting a sparkling 2.70 ERA, third in the A-Sun and leading the conference with .230 opponent's batting average. The right-hander hurled a no-hitter against Kennesaw State on March 29, the first in the league since Florida Atlantic's Mickey Storey no-hit Campbell in 2006.
Belmont junior Carlo Testa made history in earning a spot on the First Team as both a pitcher and a position player, a first in the 28-year history of All-Conference teams in the Atlantic Sun. The junior southpaw tied for fifth in wins with six and ranked seventh in strikeouts with 64 while hitting .389 with a league-best seven triples.
Stetson, who again will serve as the host for the A-Sun Championship, landed a pair on the First Team and Robert Crews broke up the Florida Gulf Coast stranglehold on the individual awards, claiming the Freshman of the Year honor. Crews also found himself on the Second Team, one of three freshmen to earn a spot on an All-Conference team (Alvarez and Mercer designated hitter Joe Winker) and one of two named on all 22 ballots for the All-Freshman team (Winker). Crews led all A-Sun freshmen with a .367 batting average while hitting six home runs and stealing 10 bases.
Justin Bass earned his second First-Team selection by finishing second in the conference in hitting, .414, and leading the A-Sun in hits, 94; runs, 61; doubles, 27; and total bases, 156. One year after earning spots on the Second Team and the All-Freshman team, the Hatters' Casey Frawley made the First Team after finishing fifth in runs with 56 and tying for fifth in hits with 83. On March 29, the shortstop totaled 12 total bases against the Mercer, the single-game high in the conference (5-for-6, two home runs, one double).
The Hatters' Jeremy Cruz lost out to Peacock at first base for the First-Team but registered First-Team numbers, namely a .712 slugging percentage that led in the A-Sun as well as 15 home runs and 85 hits both placing second the conference and a .401 average, which rated third.
ETSU's Anthony Russell earned the nod at third base after leading the A-Sun in home runs with 21 and RBI, tallying 62. Kennesaw State's Jacob Robbins landed on the First Team at second base after hitting .362, 10th in the A-Sun, and tying for second in runs scored with 57. His 42 walks led the league.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is a 12-member league committed to Building Winners for Life, with a focus on academic and athletic integrity and a balance between the two for the student-athlete, and maintaining a high level of sportsmanship. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun encompasses six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun consists of some of the most dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Gardner-Webb University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.