Big Ten Champion Illinois Claims Player and Coach of the Year Honors
May 24, 2005
Park Ridge, IL -- The Big Ten office announced the 2005 All-Big Ten Baseball Teams and individual honors today on the eve of Conference Tournament play, as three schools split the individual postseason awards. Newly-crowned Big Ten Champion Illinois picked up both Player and Coach of the Year honors, with outfielder Drew Davidson and Richard "Itch" Jones earning the awards, respectively. Michigan's Jim Brauer was selected the Pitcher of the Year by the League coaches, while Michigan State outfielder Ryan Sontag was named Freshman of the Year. Illinois' Davidson and Purdue pitcher Scott Byrnes were the Conference's only unanimous selections to the 2005 All-Big Ten First Team.
Davidson becomes the fifth Illinois player and first since D.J. Svihlik in 1998 to ever be voted best amongst his peers, while Jones captures his second Big Ten Coach of the award, after being tabbed by the League coaches in the same season. Not since 1998 have the Fighting Illini swept both Player and Coach of the Year honors.
Davidson, who led the League with a .653 slugging percentage this season, was also second with 14 home runs, fourth with 55 runs, and ranked just outside the top five in runs batted in (51) and doubles (15). In his 15th year at the helm, Jones led Illinois to a 33-21-1 record, a 20-12 Conference mark, and its 28th overall and first Big Ten regular season championship since 1998.
Brauer is the first Wolverine to earn Pitcher of the Year since the award's inception in 1994. En route to a 7-2 record this season, Brauer was second in the Conference in earned run average (2.59), innings pitched (93.2) and strikeouts (76), while holding his opponents to a .241 batting average, which ranked third among League pitchers.
The 2005 campaign also marked the first time a Michigan State player has ever been named the Conference's Freshman of the Year. While starting in 41 of 48 games for the Spartans this year, Sontag hit .349 at the plate with 10 doubles, two triples, one home run and 17 RBIs, all while slugging at a .463 clip.
The complete 2005 All-Big Ten Baseball Teams are listed below.
Player of the Year: Drew Davidson, ILL
Pitcher of the Year: Jim Brauer, MICH
Freshman of the Year: Ryan Sontag, MSU
Coach of the Year: Richard "Itch" Jones, ILL
# Unanimous selection
* Additional honorees due to ties
Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Honorees: Chris Robinson, ILL; Ryan Parker, IND; Andy Lytle, IOWA; Matt Butler, MICH; Tim Day, MSU; David Hrncirik, MINN; Pat McMahon, NU; Cody Caughenbaugh, OSU; Clint Eury, PSU; Mitch Hilligoss, PUR.