May 19, 2014
NEW YORK - The All-BIG EAST team in baseball will be heavily represented during the BIG EAST Tournament at MCU Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., later this week after Creighton, St. John's, Seton Hall and Xavier combined for 25 of the 30 selections announced on Monday.
The five winners of the four major awards will also be on display during the conference tournament. Creighton sophomore first baseman Reagan Fowler and Seton Hall junior shortstop D.J. Ruhlman share BIG EAST Player of the Year honors, while Seton Hall senior righthander Josh Prevost collected the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year award. St. John's freshman Michael Donadio was honored as the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, and Creighton skipper Ed Servais is the BIG EAST Coach of the Year.
Voting for the All-BIG EAST team and major awards was conducted by the league's seven head coaches who could not cast a ballot for their own teams.
St. John's had a league-best eight All-BIG EAST picks with three making the first team. Seton Hall was next with seven. The Pirates tied with Creighton with a conference-high four first-team selections. The Bluejays tied with Xavier for third with five All-BIG EAST players apiece. Georgetown and Villanova placed two each and Butler had one. Georgetown sophomore Nick Collins earned an unusual distinction of making both the first and second team. He was a first-team selection at designated hitter and a second-team pick behind the plate.
Fowler leads the Bluejays and is fifth in the BIG EAST with a .358 batting average. The sophomore is tied for fourth in the conference with 15 doubles and tied for third with three triples. Fowler is second on his team with 18 extra-base hits and second with a .480 slugging percentage. He's scored 38 times and driven in 25 runs while drawing a team-best 26 walks. He's also one of the best defenders in the BIG EAST as well, with only two errors in 552 attempts for a staggering .996 fielding percentage at first base.
Recently named to the Gregg Olson Award watch list, Ruhlman has experienced a breakout season for the Pirates. He enters this week's tournament second in the BIG EAST with a .364 average at the plate and finished conference play hitting .375. His 63 hits are second on Seton Hall and tied for fourth in the BIG EAST, while his 42 runs are fifth in the conference. He has three home runs and 28 RBI entering Thursday's tournament opener with St. John's. His 15 stolen bases are second in the BIG EAST.
Fowler and Ruhlman become the first pair to share the Player of the Year honor since 2008. It's the fifth time in BIG EAST annals. Ruhlman is Seton Hall's first Player of the Year since David Kim in 1997.
Prevost has been dominant most of the year, and his numbers show it. He leads the BIG EAST in wins (11), ERA (1.76), innings pitched (107.1), strikeouts (104), complete games (5) and shutouts (2) while sitting second in strikeouts per nine innings (8.72). He was recently named to the watch list for USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award, which is given annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country. He's also on the College Baseball Hal of Fame's National Pitcher of the Year watch list. Prevost is Seton Hall's first Pitcher of the Year since Ted Klamm in 1992.
Donadio saw action in all 53 games for the Red Storm this season and brings a .339 batting average into the BIG EAST Tournament, placing him ninth overall in the conference. He leads the BIG EAST with 49 runs scored, is second with four triples and is one of five players tied for fourth with five home runs. He leads all rookies with a .503 slugging percentage and 45 RBI, placing him third overall in the BIG EAST in both categories. Donadio is the second Red Storm player in the last four years named Rookie of the Year, joining Jeremy Baltz (2010).
The Creighton baseball team captured the school's first BIG EAST title in any sport by claiming the regular-season crown with a 7-6 victory in 12 innings at Xavier in the regular-season finale. Servais guided the Bluejays to a 14-4 BIG EAST record and a 30-16-1 overall mark entering Thursday's tournament opener with the Musketeers. It's his fifth career Coach of the Year honor after garnering four in the Missouri Valley Conference. Servais, in his 11th year as head coach, is looking for a fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament since taking the reins of the Creighton program following the 2003 campaign.
Fowler and Servais are Creighton's first two major award winners in baseball, picking up honors in the Bluejays' first season in the conference.
Creighton, St. John's, Seton Hall and Xavier converge on Brooklyn's MCU Park for the 2014 BIG EAST Baseball Tournament, returning to that venue for the first time since 2007. The top-seeded Bluejays, who claimed the school's first BIG EAST title in any sport Saturday when it clinched the regular-season baseball crown, will open the tournament with Thursday's 4 p.m. start against fourth-seeded Xavier. No. 2 St. John's and third seed Seton Hall will play in the nightcap at 7 p.m. Thursday's losers will battle in an elimination game Friday at 4 p.m., while Thursday's winners will meet Friday at 7 p.m., with the victor advancing to Sunday's championship game. On Saturday, the winner of Friday's first game will take on the loser of Friday's nightcap in a 3 p.m. start, with the winner also advancing to Sunday.
The first five games of the BIG EAST Tournament will stream live and for free on BIGEAST.com, with Linacre Media producing the broadcast. Sunday's championship tilt at 1 p.m. will air nationally on FOX Sports 1. The winner earns the BIG EAST's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
2014 All-BIG EAST Baseball Team and Major Awards
Player of the Year - Reagan Fowler, Creighton, So., 1B; D.J. Ruhlman, Seton Hall, Jr., SS
Pitcher of the Year - Josh Prevost, Seton Hall, Sr., RHP
Rookie of the Year - Michael Donadio, St. John's, Fr., OF
Coach of the Year - Ed Servais, Creighton
Daniel Rizzie, Xavier, So., C
Reagan Fowler, Creighton, So., 1B
Jake Peter, Creighton, Jr., 2B
D.J. Ruhlman, Seton Hall, Jr., SS
Kyle Grimm, Seton Hall, Jr., 3B
Nick Collins, Georgetown, So., DH
Mike Gerber, Creighton, Sr., OF #
Michael Donadio, St. John's, Fr., OF
Derek Jenkins, Seton Hall, So., OF
Matt Warren, Creighton, So., SP
James Lomangino, St. John's, R-Sr., SP
Josh Prevost, Seton Hall, Sr., SP #
Vinny Nittoli, Xavier, R-Sr., SP
Joe Kuzia, St. John's, Jr., RP
Second Team &
Nick Collins, Georgetown, So., C
Dillon Hamlin, Seton Hall, Sr., C
Sal Annunziata, Seton Hall, Jr., 1B
Todd Czinege, Villanova, Fr., 2B
Bret Dennis, St. John's, Jr., SS
Robbie Knightes, St. John's, Fr., 3B
Derek Hasenbeck, Xavier, Jr., DH
Zach Lauricella, St. John's, Jr., OF
Alex Caruso, St. John's, So., OF
Brian Bruening, Xavier, R-Jr., OF
Gunner Johnson, Butler, Sr., SP
Ryan McCormick, St. John's, So., SP
Luke Cahill, Seton Hall, So., SP
Scott Klever, Xavier, Sr., SP
Bryan Sova, Creighton, Sr., RP
Matt Meurer, Villanova, Sr., RP
& - 16 players because of a tie in the voting
# - unanimous first-team selection