Illinois' Davis and Ohio State's Luebke Highlight Big Ten Baseball Postseason Awards
May 22, 2007
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - On the afternoon before the first pitch of the conference tournament, the Big Ten Conference office announced the 2007 Baseball All-Big Ten teams and individual awards, recognizing Illinois catcher Lars Davis as Player of the Year and Ohio State's Cory Luebke as Pitcher of the Year. The conference also handed out awards to Purdue's Matt Bischoff as Freshman of the Year and Michigan's Rich Maloney as Coach of the Year. All awards were voted on by the coaches.
Davis, a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes and Johnny Bench awards, is the seventh Illini to receive the award and the second in the last three years as Drew Davidson was honored in 2005. During the regular season, the junior racked up a conference-leading 13 home runs in all games played for a Big Ten-best .673 slugging percentage. Davis also leads his team in virtually every offensive category, including average (.416), runs (53), RBI (56) and on-base percentage (.473). The backstop also gunned down 23 would-be base stealers from behind the plate.
Luebke is the fifth Buckeye to be honored as the conference's top pitcher and the first to win the award since Scott Lewis took home the honors in 2003. In all games this year, the junior owns a 1.94 ERA and his holding opponents to a stingy .215 batting average. The Big Ten's 2007 strikeout king, Luebke fanned 50 batters through 56.1 innings of work in the conference season while walking just 24 batters. Overall this season, the left-hander recorded a WHIP (walks-plus-hits-per-innings pitched) of 1.06 and struck out an average of eight batters per nine innings while putting together a strikeouts-to-walks ratio of 3.45. Luebke finished the regular season with a 7-1 overall record and went 3-1 in conference.
Bischoff, the first Boilermaker in history to receive Freshman of the Year honors, is among Big Ten leaders in nearly every pitching category. The freshman owns a 2.85 ERA in all games played and has held all opponents to a .243 batting average on the season. The right-hander was fourth in the conference with 61 strikeouts during the regular season - 27 of which came looking. Bischoff finished the regular season 3-2 in 14 appearances, including six starts.
Maloney led his 2007 squad to the program's 34th all-time conference title and its second consecutive crown, putting together a 21-7 record in Big Ten play. The Wolverines finished the regular season 39-14 overall and were ranked as high as 16th in the Baseball America Top 25 on back-to-back weeks (April 30 and May 7). Michigan reached 13th in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Poll on April 30, marking the highest rating for a Big Ten team this season. Maloney is in his fifth year as head coach of the Maize and Blue.
The 2007 All-Big Ten first team includes 13 different players from seven schools and one multiple honoree. Michigan's Zach Putnam became the first player in Big Ten history to make the first team in two positions in the same year as he was honored as a designated hitter and a starting pitcher. The sophomore was a second-team pitcher in 2006. Also on the 2007 first team, Purdue's Ryne White was a unanimous selection at first base after earning a spot on the second team last year, and Ohio State's Luebke earned a unanimous first-team bid after making the third team in 2006. Minnesota's Mike Mee was a unanimous selection in the outfield, and was joined by teammates Matt Nohelty (OF) and Nate Hanson (3B) on the first team. Rounding out the first team are Illinois' Davis (C), Iowa's Jason White (SS) and Travis Sweet (OF), Michigan's Kevin Cislo (2B) and Mike Wilson (SP) and Penn State's Craig Clark (SP) and Drew O'Neil (RP).
The conference office also announced honorees from each of the league's 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.
These 10 student-athletes are now candidates for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, as the conference office will honor one male and one female student-athlete from each institution at the end of the school year.
The complete 2007 All-Big Ten Baseball Teams are listed below.
Player of the Year: Lars Davis, ILL
# Unanimous Selection