From UAB Sports Information:
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Six members of the UAB baseball team earned postseason recognition by Conference USA, league officials announced on Tuesday. Senior right-handed pitcher Chase Mallard was named the Conference USA Pitcher of the Year, while head coach Brian Shoop earned the Keith LeClair Conference USA Coach of the Year to highlight postseason conference honors.
Four student-athletes earned All-Conference accolades, while three members of the team were honored with individual awards. Mallard became the first player in program history to earn C-USA Pitcher of the Year honors. Shoop earned his first Keith LeClair Coach of the Year honor and assistant coach Josh Hopper won the inaugural Assistant Coach of the Year award.
Mallard was named to the All-Conference USA First Team, becoming the first Blazer pitcher to do so in school history. Junior outfielder Chase Davis and junior right-handed pitcher Alex Luna were both recognized on the All-Conference USA Second Team. Freshman left-handed pitcher Thomas Lowery picked up C-USA All-Freshman Team accolades.
Prior to this season, UAB had only received one individual award in its time as a league member, as Dillon Napoleon was named the 2011 C-USA Newcomer of the Year. Four players earned All-Conference USA honors for the first time since 2011, as well. UAB led all conference members with three individual awards and three pitchers recognized on All-Conference USA teams.
Mallard owns a 9-2 record with a 1.32 ERA on 2014. The Cullman, Ala. native ranks second in the league in earned run average and 10th in the nation. He has struck out 91 batters in 2014, which ranks third in C-USA and school history, and owns a C-USA leading .188 opposing batting average. Mallard has thrown a pair of complete game shutouts, both coming in league play. In addition, he became the first four-time Conference USA Pitcher of the Week since 2006 Dick Howser Trophy winner Brad Lincoln and owns a nation's-best 16 consecutive quality start streak.
Shoop has guided UAB to one of its finest regular seasons in program history. UAB recorded 35 wins during the regular season, which is the most by a UAB club since 1993 and third-most in school history. The Blazers won 20 games in league play, a program record, en route to a second-place regular season finish, its best finish as a conference member. Shoop won his 900th game of his coaching career on Saturday, Feb. 22 against Youngstown State.
Hopper has mentored one of the best pitching staffs in the conference and country. UAB's pitching staff owns a 2.83 ERA, which ranks fourth in the league and 22nd in the nation. The Blazers made a 2.46 improvement in earned run average from 2013. In addition, its current team ERA and opposing batting average (.237) both currently rank first in program history for a single season. The squad has struck 400 batters on the year, which ranks third in school history, as well.
Davis was one of UAB's best hitters in the 2014 regular season. The Montgomery, Ala. native owns a .283 batting average, a team-best 62 hits, club-high 11 doubles, squad-best two triples, 27 runs batted in, and nine stolen bases. The junior outfielder leads the team in runs scored (38) and ranks ninth in C-USA. His two triples rank 10th in the 13-team league, as well. Davis had a walk-off single against UT-Martin on Feb. 15 and a three-hit, two-RBI performance in the squad's win at Hawaii on March 21.
Luna joined Mallard and redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Johnny Lieske to form one of the best weekend rotations in collegiate baseball. The junior right-handed pitcher has a perfect 7-0 record with a 1.65 ERA. His 1.65 ERA ranks second in program history for a single season, fifth in C-USA, and 34th in the country. The Huntsville, Ala. native leads Conference USA in doubles allowed (15). Luna did not allow a run in 17.1 consecutive innings and did not issue a walk in 20.1 straight frames on the mound.
Lowery was the third UAB pitcher to earn All-Conference USA honors. The Birmingham, Ala. native became the first Blazer to earn All-Freshman Team honors since Jeff Schalk in 2012. Lowery has a 5-2 record, 2.79 ERA, and four saves in 2014. The freshman left-handed pitcher is one of two pitchers to have at least five wins and four saves on the year and is the only rookie to have four saves. Lowery leads all C-USA freshmen with five wins in league play, as well.
The UAB baseball team opens postseason play with the 2014 Conference USA Tournament in Hattiesburg, Miss. UAB, the No. 2 seed, takes on No. 7 seed UTSA on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. at Pete Taylor Park to open the conference tournament.
For the latest news on Blazer sports, follow the UAB Athletics Twitter account: @UABathletics. For baseball news, follow @UAB_Baseball.
2014 Conference USA Baseball Awards
Player Of The Year
Aramis Garcia, Jr., C, FIU
Pitcher Of The Year
Chase Mallard, Sr., RHP, UAB
Freshman Of The Year
Chris Mourelle, Fr., RHP, FIU
Newcomer Of The Year
John Clay Reeves, Jr., C, Rice
Keith LeClair Coach Of The Year
Brian Shoop, UAB
Assistant Coach Of The Year
Josh Hopper, UAB
First Team All-Conference
IF Skyler Ewing, Jr., Rice
IF Shane Hoelscher, Sr., Rice
IF Zach Houchins, Sr., East Carolina
IF Trent Miller, Sr., Middle Tennessee
OF Jared Allen, Jr., Middle Tennessee
OF Michael Aquino, Sr., Rice
OF Nick Walker, Fr., Old Dominion
C Aramis Garcia, Jr., FIU
DH/UT Drew Reynolds, Sr., East Carolina
SP Zac Curtis, Sr., Middle Tennessee
SP Mike Franco, Sr., FIU
SP Blake Fox, So., Rice
SP Chase Mallard, Sr., UAB
RP Ryan Williams, Sr., East Carolina
Second Team All-Conference
IF Josiah Burney, Sr., Old Dominion
IF Stephen Kerr, Fr., Florida Atlantic
IF RJ Perucki, Sr., UTSA
IF Mike Warren, Sr., UTSA
OF Chase Davis, Jr., UAB
OF Brendon Sanger, So., Florida Atlantic
OF John Welborn, Sr., UTSA
C John Clay Reeves, Jr., Rice
DH/UT Matt Durst, Jr., Southern Miss
SP Conor Fisk, Sr., Southern Miss
SP Alex Luna, Jr., UAB
SP Brock Hartson, So., UTSA
SP Chris Mourelle, Fr., FIU
RP Bradley Roney, Jr., Southern Miss
1B Bryce Harman, East Carolina
2B Stephen Kerr, Florida Atlantic
2B T.J. Nichting, Charlotte
2B CJ Pickering, UTSA
2B Charlie Yorgen, East Carolina
3B Hunter Hope, Tulane
OF Corey Bird, Marshall
OF Dylan Burdeaux, Southern Miss
OF Nick Walker, Old Dominion
RHP Chris Mourelle, FIU
RHP Jon Duplantier, Rice
LHP Thomas Lowery, UAB