2013 Conference USA Baseball Awards
May 21, 2013
The first father and son to win major individual honors in Conference USA history headline the league's baseball awards, as announced on Tuesday in Houston, the site of the 2013 Conference USA Baseball Championship. Memphis head coach Daron Schoenrock was named the Keith LeClair Coach of the Year, while his son, junior lefthander Erik Schoenrock, was named Conference USA Pitcher of the Year.
Schoenrock earned his first career Conference Coach of the Year award after leading the Tigers to within one game of their first C-USA regular season title. The 14-10 league record posted by Memphis matched its best mark in C-USA play and the 33 total wins in the regular season were the most since 2007. This was just the 11th time in 100 years of baseball that the Tigers have reached the 33-win total.
Memphis has been led to those notable victory marks by Schoenrock's oldest son, Erik. He has thrown a league-high five complete games this season and has a 7-3 record with a 2.51 ERA. The left-hander has registered 85 strikeouts (a league-high 37 looking) with just 25 walks and opponents are batting only .214 against him. In early May, Schoenrock became the first Tiger to throw back-to-back complete games since Scott McGregor in 2006.
For the second straight year, a senior third baseman has been named Conference USA Player of the Year, as UCF's Chris Taladay takes home that honor. The 2010 C-USA Freshman of the Year, Taladay becomes the fourth player in league history to win the Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year awards in the same career. He finished the C-USA slate by reaching safely in all 24 league contests and notching a base hit in all but one. Taladay has now reached base safely in 37 straight games and hit safely in 32 of his last 33. He leads C-USA in hits (78) and batting (.361), while tying for second in RBI (43) and ranking ninth in doubles (14).
Newcomer of the Year honors went to Houston junior shortstop Frankie Ratcliff, while Cougars first baseman Justin Montemayor was named Freshman of the Year, the second-straight year that one school has won both of those awards (Southern Miss in 2012). Ratcliff is batting .301 on the season with a .404 on-base percentage thanks in part to 37 walks (fourth in C-USA). He has tied the single-season Houston record for triple with eight, the most by any Conference USA player since 2005. Ratcliff also has a team-best 13 doubles and is tied for the team lead with 43 RBI. Montemayor leads all Cougars with a .321 batting average, placing him 10th among all Conference USA players. His 67 hits are seventh in the league and he has doubled eight times, hit three home runs and driven in 25 runs.
Regular season co-champion Rice had the most total All-Conference selections with six, while East Carolina was next with five. Regular season co-champion Southern Miss was the only school to place three players on the first team. Seven of the league's nine teams had at least one representative on the first unit. Houston led the way with four selections to the All-Freshman team, which included at least one player from six schools. Voting was done by a panel consisting of each head coach, each team's sports information director and a media representative from each city.
2013 CONFERENCE USA BASEBALL AWARDS
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
KEITH LECLAIR COACH OF THE YEAR
FIRST TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE
SECOND TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE