Indiana and Ohio State Earn Top Big Ten Individual Honors for 2009 Baseball Season
May 19, 2009
COLUMBUS, Ohio – On the night before the start of the 2009 Big Ten Baseball Tournament, the Big Ten Conference announced the season’s All-Big Ten teams and individual honors, recognizing Ohio State catcher Dan Burkhart as the conference Player of the Year, Indiana’s Eric Arnett and OSU’s Alex Wimmers as Co-Pitchers of the Year, IU’s Alex Dickerson as Freshman of the Year and Buckeye mentor Bob Todd as Coach of the Year.
Burkhart becomes the fifth Buckeye to be named Big Ten Player of the Year and the first since Ronnie Bourquin in 2006. He is the second Ohio State catcher to earn the honor, joining Jonathan Sweet in 1994. The sophomore backstop led his team to its first conference championship since 2001 on the heels of an 18-6 Big Ten slate and a 39-15 mark headed into tournament play. The sophomore batted .362 on the season with a slugging percentage of .611, reaching base at a .435 clip. He also ranked in the conference’s top five with 57 RBI. Burkhart also handled a pitching staff that held opponents to a .282 batting average and struck out an average of 7.67 batters per game. Burkhart is a semifinalist for the Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award, which honors the nation’s top collegiate catcher.
A high school friend of Burkhart’s, Wimmers is the second Buckeye in the last three years to receive top conference pitching honors and is the fourth Ohio State player to earn the distinction. Wimmers finished the regular season on top of several Big Ten statistics, including ERA (2.58), opponents’ average (.197), innings pitched (94.1) and strikeouts (122). The sophomore was named Big Ten Player of the Week four times this year and threw the first nine-inning no-hitter in program history on May 2, recording 14 strikeouts in the process. Wimmers enters the tournament with a 9-1 record, including a 4-1 mark in Big Ten play. The righty is a semifinalist for the College Baseball Foundation’s Pitcher of the Year Award.
Co-Pitcher of the Year Arnett is the first Hoosier to earn the conference’s top pitching award. The junior enters the Big Ten Tournament among the conference’s elite in ERA (2.78), innings of work (94.0), strikeouts (93) and opponents’ batting average (.215), which drops to .203 in Big Ten play. The right-hander tied for the conference lead with 11 wins throughout the 2009 campaign and again tied for the Big Ten’s best with seven victories during the conference slate. Arnett is a semifinalist for the College Baseball Foundation’s Pitcher of the Year award.
Dickerson becomes the first Indiana player to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. The designated hitter earns the laurel after finishing among the conference’s top 10 in average (.367), hits (80), RBI (52) and home runs (14). The newcomer helped Indiana reach its highest seed in the Big Ten Tournament since 1996 and is a unanimous selection to the inaugural Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
Selected unanimously by his peers as Big Ten Coach of the Year, Todd led the Buckeyes to their first conference title since 2001 on the strength of an 18-6 Big Ten slate with a conference-leading 39 victories heading into the tournament. The accolade is the fifth of Todd’s career as he last took home the honor following his squad’s most recent championship season in 2001. Under Todd’s guidance, eight Buckeyes took home All-Big Ten honors, including four first-team members and the conference’s Player and Co-Pitcher of the Year.
The Big Ten also released the All-Big Ten teams and inaugural All-Freshman team. Ohio State led all teams with four first-team selections in Burkhart, Wimmers, designated hitter Ryan Dew and closer Jake Hale. Wimmers was a unanimous selection to the squad, as was Minnesota second baseman Derek McCallum, Purdue outfielder Brandon Haveman and Indiana’s Arnett. Rounding out the first team are Illinois third baseman Dominic Altobelli and shortstop Brandon Wikoff, Indiana outfielder Kipp Schutz and catcher Josh Phegley, Iowa outfielder Ryan Durant and Michigan first baseman Mike Dufek and starter Chris Fetter.
For the first time, the Big Ten coaches also selected an All-Freshman Team, which consisted of seven unanimous selections in Illinois’ Willie Argo, Indiana’s Dickerson and Blake Monar, Iowa’s Dallas Burke, Minnesota’s AJ Pettersen and Justin Gominsky and Penn State’s Jordan Steranka.
The conference office also announced honorees from each of the 10 baseball squads for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Honorees for baseball are Illinois’ Altobelli, Indiana’s Jerrud Sabourin, Iowa’s Justin Toole, Michigan’s Kenny Fellows, Michigan State’s Nolan Moody, Minnesota’s Matt Nohelty, Northwestern’s Jake Wilson, Ohio State’s Cory Kovanda, Penn State’s Ryan Boonie and Purdue’s John Cummins.
The complete All-Big Ten teams and award winners can be found below.
BIG TEN INDIVIDUAL HONORS
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
CO-PITCHERS OF THE YEAR
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
COACH OF THE YEAR
SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD HONOREES
# - Unanimous selection