|UTM baseball lands six on All-OVC teams |
|Posted: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 10:46 am |
MARTIN, Tenn. – In a year in which The University of Tennessee at Martin baseball team won the most games since 1992 and shattered 11 all-time single-season team records, the Ohio Valley Conference coaches and sports information directors took notice, naming six Skyhawks to All-OVC honors on May 25. Seniors Coty Green and Ty Nelson, junior Trey Karlen and sophomore Jordan Owen were named to the league’s second team, while Brent Morris and Dan Tobik earned slots on the All-Freshman team.
The six honorees doubled the program’s all-time single-season total, as the three second-teamers named last year stood as the UT Martin benchmark. The four 2010 honorees make up 25 percent of the all-time first or second team players in program history. Morris and Tobik make up the fourth and fifth UTM players to earn All-OVC freshmen honors.
“It’s pretty impressive to get six guys on the team,” Skyhawk head coach Bubba Cates said. “All of those guys had good years and it’s really special because there are so many outstanding players in the OVC. The league has produced many major league draft picks in the last couple years.”
Green ended his UT Martin career as one of the most prolific pitchers in program history, as he appears in eight career and single-season top 10 lists. The Chattanooga native led the OVC this season with nine victories, which also tied him with Mike Hayes (1986) for the most wins in a single-season in UTM history. The right-hander also led the league in innings pitched (87.2), games started (15) and called strikeouts (31). Heading into the second-to-last week of the season, his win total was sixth in the nation, and he also ranked amongst the NCAA’s best in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.77:1). His best two outings came at Indiana State on March 6 and at Eastern Illinois on May 1. Against the Sycamores — the third-best team in the Missouri Valley Conference — he out-dueled projected high-round MLB Draft pick Jacob Petricka and earned the win by going eight innings, allowing one earned run on seven hits. Against the defending OVC champ Panthers, he carried a shutout into the last inning, retiring 17 of the first 19 batters he faced en route to UTM’s only complete game of the season in a 2-1 win. He was named OVC Pitcher of the Week twice this season, becoming the only player in program history to win the award more than one time, as he has taken home three of the UTM’s seven all-time weekly pitching accolades.
“Coty simply won ballgames and our team played better when he pitched,” Cates said. “There’s something to that — he always seemed to find a way to win. He’s a real competitor and opposing coaches knew they were going to be in for a battle when they saw him take the mound.”
A native of Rowlett, Texas, Karlen demolished several UT Martin records in his first season as a Skyhawk. After starting the first 20 games of the season at second base, he slid across the diamond to start the last 35 games at third base. He didn’t let the switch affect him, as he broke the 25-year-old record for most doubles in a season with 22 two-baggers in 2010, and he also accumulated the most total bases (145) in a single season in Skyhawk history. In addition to those records, he was the first UT Martin player to score over 60 runs (61) in 24 years, and became one of only three Skyhawks to steal 30 or more bases in program history. He also ranks in the single-season top 10 in games played (55, first), at-bats (216, third), hits (77, fifth), home runs (14, fifth), runs batted in (45, eighth), slugging percentage (.671, seventh), walks (31, fifth) and hit-by-pitch (13, third). He ranked in seven OVC top 10 categories and had 23 multi-hit games, including a five-hit performance at Morehead State on May 8. He will also be remembered for his go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning that led the Skyhawks to a 7-6 victory over Lambuth in the Razz Classic on April 13.
“Trey is a very talented player,” Cates said. “He has a real blend of power and speed and his play is really explosive at times. I remember he led off the game at nationally-ranked Ole Miss with a home run and his overall numbers reflect the kind of player he is.”
In 2010, Nelson put together one of the best offensive seasons for a UT Martin catcher in program history. The Skyhawk backstop led the team in batting average (.396) and on-base percentage (.478), while committing only two errors in all 55 games. He ranked in the top 10 in six OVC statistical categories, but it was during OVC play where the Knoxville native shined. He hit safely in 20 of 24 league games and led the team with a .404 batting average. In OVC games only, he ranked first in the league in hits (40) and doubles (11), while ranking in the top 10 in four other categories. He led the Skyhawks with 27 multi-hit games and had a 17-game hitting streak that lasted 30 days. He ranks in the career top 10 lists in doubles and putouts, and his 84 hits were the second-highest single-season amount in UT Martin history. He displayed above-average speed for a catcher, swiping 19 stolen bases in 23 attempts, ranking fourth in the conference and eighth in a single-season in program history. He also ranks in the top 10 in eight other single-season categories, including doubles (20, second), total bases (136, third) and runs batted in (45, eighth). Earlier in May, he was named an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District IV honoree for his strong work ethic in the classroom as well as on the field.
“Coaches always watch the best players on the opposing team a little more closely and Ty was one of those guys for us,” Cates said. “Coaches would watch Ty over the course of a weekend and see what made him so special. He plays hard and he was a big leader for us. He was always in the middle of what was going on for us on offense as well as defense.”
Starting in all 55 games in right field in 2010, Owen emerged as one of the most feared sluggers in the league. With two round trippers in the season finale at Austin Peay, he became the all-time single-season UT Martin home run leader, as his 18 long balls bested Don Jackson’s record of 17 homers in 1972. While his overall home run total ranked third in the OVC and he ranked ninth in total bases, he picked up his play significantly against OVC opponents. In league play, he led the league in home runs (14 in 24 games), total bases (82) and ranked behind only OVC Player of the Year Wes Cunningham in RBI (32) and slugging percentage (.882). He went deep at least once in every OVC series and also ranked sixth in hits (35) in conference action. He racked up 21 multi-hit games and had the second-most multiple-RBI games (13) on the team. Thanks to his power surge in 2010 (all 18 homers came in the last 38 games of the season), he ranks third on the program’s career home run list with 23, despite being a sophomore. He ranks in six single-season top 10 lists, becoming one of only nine players to tally 70 hits in a season, and he is one of just five players to drive in 50 or more runs (51) in a season. The Kansas City native’s 138 total bases in 2010 is the second-highest total in program history.
“With Jordan I thought two things were really impressive. He hit 14 of his 18 homers in league play so he did it when it really counted. Also, he had 51 RBI hitting behind Wes Patterson — who set the single-season RBI record for us this season. Jordan really picked up his production and that gave us two of the most dangerous run producers in the league in back-to-back slots in our lineup,” Cates noted.
Morris’ valuable bat was evident from the season’s first series against IPFW. In just the third game of the season, he laced three doubles — tying a program record for extra-base hits in a single game. The Lebanon native had the fourth-highest batting average on the team (.339), was a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen bases and also was a game-changer in the field, tallying a team-high seven outfield assists. He started in 46 of 48 games, producing 17 multi-hit games. On two different occasions, he put together back-to-back three-hit games and had consecutive games with a home run on April 21 against Lipscomb and April 24 against Eastern Kentucky. His third homer of the season was huge, as he drove the game-winning homer to right center field with two outs in the top of the ninth inning to cap off the Skyhawks’ sixth unanswered run and set the tone for a doubleheader sweep at Morehead State on May 8.
“While freshmen tend to be day-to-day, Brent was real consistent for us all season,” Cates said. “His batting average climbed as the season went on and he really developed as a defensive player too.”
Tobik took the league by storm and emerged as one of the OVC’s best pitchers in 2010. He led the team in Earned Run Average, as his 3.63 ERA also ranked third in the conference. For 10 straight weeks, he ranked either first or second in the OVC in ERA. He won three games and saved two ballgames (both in league play) in 22 appearances (three starts) while accumulating 67 innings — which ranked second on the team. He also ranked in the top 10 in the OVC in five other categories: least home runs allowed per game (0.27; first), strikeouts per game (7.93; sixth), least hits allowed per game (9.67; seventh), least walks per game (2.96; seventh), and opponents batting average (.275; seventh). He allowed zero earned runs in 12 of his 22 appearances, posting multiple strikeouts in all but five appearances. He began the season with 9.1 innings without allowing an earned run, and gave up just three earned runs in his first 23.2 innings, and went two weeks in midseason by not allowing an earned run in 13 innings over five appearances. While serving as one of the league’s most dominant set-up men, he did not allow a single home run in 28 innings in conference play. No defining moment was bigger for the Ballwin, Mo. native than in Game 1 of a doubleheader against then-OVC leader Southeast Missouri on April 17. Entering the game with no outs and two men on base in the sixth inning, he got Michael Adamson — who entered the game with a .413 batting average — to ground into a fielder’s choice that led to a force-out at home. With one out and two-time All-American catcher Jim Klocke at the plate, he induced him into a 6-4-3 double play to keep the Skyhawks ahead and set the tone for a doubleheader sweep of the Redhawks.
“Dan was in the top 10 of several categories in the OVC all year long and he was one of the only freshmen listed, including on the offensive side,” Cates said. “He had a real outstanding year in our league and at any class level for that matter.”
“If you look at some of the best players in the OVC like Chad Oberacker at Tennessee Tech and Todd Cunningham at Jacksonville State (both 2010 All-OVC first teamers), they had difference-making freshmen years like our guys had in 2010,” Cates said. “Wes Patterson for us was a freshman All-American and you see how he has set multiple records for our program. We hope our freshmen can continue with that mold and become recognizable names not just in our conference but throughout the South for the next several years.”