Rice & ECU Lead The Way With Four Players Each
Conference USA announced its 2010 preseason baseball awards, as chosen by the league’s nine head coaches. Rice sophomore third baseman Anthony Rendon was chosen as the preseason Player of the Year, while Southern Miss junior righthander Todd McInnis was named the preseason Pitcher of the Year. Both players won those awards last season.
Rendon was a second team All-American last season, a national semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and earned National Freshman of the Year honors from Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. He became the first player in Conference USA history to be named both the Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year in the same season. Rendon led C-USA in batting average (.388), slugging percentage (.702)
and home runs with a Rice freshman record of 20 round-trippers. Rendon was also tops on the team and among the league’s best in RBI (72). In addition to scoring 60 runs and knocking 14 doubles, he drew 31 walks for a .406 on-base average. He was named C-USA Tournament Most Valuable Player after leading the Owls to the championship title.
McInnis became the first Southern Miss player to be named Conference USA Pitcher of the Year. He finished 9-4 with a 3.73 ERA (sixth in C-USA) and 90 strikeouts to just 34 walks. McInnis ranked among the league leaders in several categories in conference play, including wins (tied for third with four), innings pitched (fifth with 46.2) and strikeouts (fifth with 43).
Rendon is joined by three Owls teammates on the preseason All-Conference USA team. Junior SS Rick Hague is on the squad for the second straight season as he comes off a successful summer with team USA, tying for the team lead in batting. During the 2009 collegiate season he started all 61 games, leading the team in doubles with 17, hitting nine home runs and driving in 57 runs. Junior OF Chad Mozingo and junior LHP Taylor Wall are the other Rice players on the preseason team. Mozingo batted .319 with 16 doubles, eight homers and 50 RBI,
while Wall was 7-6 with a 3.72 ERA and a team-high 77 strikeouts.
McInnis is joined on the preseason All-C-USA squad by Golden Eagles relief pitcher Collin Cargill. A preseason All-American, made 28 appearances in 2009, posting a 4-3 record with a 3.55 ERA and a league-leading 13 saves. Five of Cargill’s saves came in postseason play, including both wins at Georgia Tech in regional play and both victories at Florida in the Super Regionals.
East Carolina matched Rice for the most selections with four. Headlining the Pirates selections are a pair of preseason All-Americans in senior DH Kyle Roller and junior OF Trent Whitehead. Roller, a 2009 first-team All-America selection by the America Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) and Ping!Baseball, batted .366 (86-for-256) with 16 home runs and 75 RBI. He ranked among the national leaders in hit by pitches (fourth), RBI (23rd), total bases (79th), home runs (80th) and hits (98th) after earning first-team All-Conference USA and NCAA Greenville Regional All-Tournament honors. A second-team All C-USA and C-USA All-Tournament Team selection, Trent Whitehead set the school’s single-season hit record with 105 base knocks which ranked fourth nationally. The left-handed lead-off hitter started 63 games in the outfield where he batted .376 (105-for-279) with seven home runs, 47 RBI, 24 doubles and scored 78 runs. Whitehead also took home NCAA Greenville Regional Most Outstanding Player honors. Junior righthander Seth Maness and Junior OF Devin Harris round out ECU’s selections. Maness, who has not lost a regular season game the past two years, was 9-3 with a 4.71 ERA last season, while striking out 83 and walking just 18. Harris hit .344 in 2009, hitting 14 home runs and driving in 48 runs, while stealing 13 bases.
Four schools had one player named to the team, as Houston junior SS Blake Kelso, Marshall junior 1B Victor Gomez, Tulane sophomore C Jeremy Schaffer and UAB senior SS Jonathan Merritt each earned spots. Kelso led UH in batting at .336, while hitting a team-best 16 doubles. Gomez batted .332 with 13 doubles, along with team-bests of 18 home runs and 62 RBI. Schaffer, who starred for Team USA this past summer, hit .311 with 14 homers and 56 RBI in earning All-Freshman honors. Merritt is a four-year starter who batted .317 with 18 doubles and 20 stolen bases last season.
Conference USA’s 15th baseball season gets underway on February 19. The conference tournament is scheduled for May 26-30 in Houston, with UH serving as the host for the new six-team, pool-play format.. C-USA’s nine baseball schools have produced 62 NCAA appearances and nine College World Series teams over the past 14 seasons.
2010 PRESEASON BASEBALL AWARDS
(as selected by C-USA’s head coaches)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Anthony Rendon, Rice (Sophomore, Third Baseman)
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Todd McInnis, Southern Miss (Junior, Righthander)
P Seth Maness Jr. East Carolina
P Todd McInnis Jr. Southern Miss
P Taylor Wall So. Rice
RP Collin Cargill Jr.. Southern Miss
C Jeremy Schaffer So. Tulane
IF Victor Gomez Jr. Marshall
IF Rick Hague Jr. Rice
IF Blake Kelso Jr. Houston
IF Jonathan Merritt Sr. UAB
IF Anthony Rendon So. Rice
OF Devin Harris Jr. East Carolina
OF Chad Mozingo Jr. Rice
OF Trent Whitehead Jr. East Carolina
DH/UT Kyle Roller Sr. East Carolina