May 21, 2013
HOUSTON - On the eve of the 2013 Conference USA Baseball Championship to be held at Rice's Reckling Park, Michael Ratterree and Zech Lemond headline a list of Owl baseball award winners announced by the conference office on Tuesday (May 21).
A total of six Owl players were recognized for their success on the diamond the day before taking the field in C-USA's annual week-long championship tournament. All the award winners were selected on a vote of the conference's head coaches, sports information directors and a media representative who cover each program.
Houston natives Lemond (P) and Ratterree (OF) were named to the C-USA first team. Michael Aquino (DH), Keenan Cook (OF), Geoff Perrott (C) and Ford Stainback (INF) earned second team all-conference. Rice rookie Blake Fox (P/INF) was named to the league's all-freshman team squad.
Ratterree may have moved to his third different playing position (RF) in as many years, but the senior remained the same respected power hitter he has been during his four-year collegiate career. The standout led the Owls and ranked among the best in C-USA in home runs (9), runs scored (45), walks (38), OB% (.412), stolen bases (12) and sacrifice flies (5) for the full season. He was tied for third on the team with 18 multi-hit games, and also second on the squad in multi-RBI games (10). Ratterree had a sensational second half of the season and reached base in 20-straight games during one stretch.
Lemond took over as the stopper to begin his second year with the program and went on to set a new school record for saves in a single season with 13. He finished as the C-USA co-leader with eight saves in league-only games. In conference action the sophomore right-hander maintained an 0.67 league ERA, held opponents to a .179 batting average, and posted 32 strikeouts in 30.0 league innings. He eclipsed Rice's single season saves record that was held by eventual major leaguers David Aardsma and Tony Cingrani.
Aquino is a junior designated hitter who leads the Owls in slugging percentage (.522), shares the team lead in hits (68) and doubles (12), and is second in batting average (.332), home runs (7) and RBI (38). The Woodlands, Tex., native owns a team-high 22 games with two or more hits to go along with a team-best 11 games with two or more RBI. In his usual spot as the Owls' clean-up hitter, Aquino bats a steady .330 with runners on base. He reached base in 21-straight games during one stretch.
Cook was named a second team honoree after starting 50 of Rice's 53 games, all in the outfield. He was the team batting leader in C-USA league games (.352), but also had a team-best seven sacrifice bunts against the conference foes. The Woodlands, Tex., native is tied for third on the team with 18 multi-hit games and he collected three hits in a game four times. Cook currently ranks among the NCAA leaders with seven defensive assists from his spot in left field.
Perrott is the Owls' regular starting catcher who, in addition to steady offensive production all season, has the responsibility of calling the pitches during games. In 46 starts behind the plate, the Kingwood, Tex., native ranks among the best in the conference in throwing out runners attempting to steal a base (25 times CS). On the offensive side Perrott owns 13 games with two or more hits and he has driven-in two or more runs in a game five times. He reached base in 10-straight games during one stretch.
Stainback is the only player to start all 54 games for the nationally-ranked Owls, making all his starts at shortstop. The Dallas native has collected two or more hits in a game 19 times, including a career-best five hits in a road game at future C-USA foe FIU. He enters the C-USA Tournament with an active streak of reaching base 37 consecutive times, but he is also a steady fielder who has turned or started 39 of the Rice's 60 double plays.
Fox made a key contribution to the C-USA regular season champions as both a left-handed pitcher and first baseman in his debut season at the collegiate level. On the mound he is a perfect 6-0 with a 2.91 ERA in 17 appearances, including two occasions where he worked his way into starting assignments. As a left-handed hitting first baseman, the versatile freshman had eight hits with four RBI in nine starts.
Regular season co-champion Rice (37-17 overall) had the most first & second all-conference selections with six, while East Carolina was next with five. Fellow 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.
Rice is No. 1 seed at the upcoming C-USA Championship Tournament, scheduled to get underway on Wednesday (May 22) at Reckling Park. The tourney features four days of pod play followed by a single Championship Final on Sunday (May 26). Rice's opening game in the tournament will be Wednesday against UAB beginning at 7 pm.
2013 CONFERENCE USA BASEBALL AWARDS
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Chris Taladay, Sr., 3B, UCF
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Erik Schoenrock, Jr., LHP, Memphis
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Justin Montemayor, Fr., 1B, Houston
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Frankie Ratcliff, Jr., SS, Houston
KEITH LECLAIR COACH OF THE YEAR
Daron Schoenrock, Memphis
FIRST TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE
IF John Frost, Sr. UAB
IF Chase McDonald, Jr., East Carolina
IF Issac Rodriguez, Sr., Southern Miss
IF Chris Taladay, Sr., UCF
OF Isaac Ballou, Sr., Marshall
OF Erik Hempe, Sr., UCF
OF>Michael Ratterree, Sr., Rice
C Chase Fowler., Sr., Southern Miss
DH/UT Drew Reynolds, Jr., East Carolina
P Aaron Blair., Jr., Marshall
P Sam Moll, Jr., Memphis
P Andrew Pierce, Sr., Southern Miss
P Erik Schoenrock, Jr., Memphis
RP>Zech Lemond, So., Rice
SECOND TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE
IF Zach Houchins, Jr., East Carolina
IF Justin Montemayor, Fr., Houston
IF Frankie Ratcliff, Jr., Houston
IF>Ford Stainback, So., Rice
OF>Keenan Cook., Jr., Rice
OF Mason Robbins, So., Southern Miss
OF Kyle Survance, Fr., Houston
C>Geoff Perrott, Sr., Rice
DH/UT>Michael Aquino, Jr., Rice
P Jeff Hoffman, So., East Carolina
P Ben Lively, Jr., UCF
P David Lucroy, Fr., East Carolina
P Austin Pruitt, Sr., Houston
RP Jonathan Van Eaton, Jr., Memphis
C Travis Watkins, East Carolina
OF Richard Carthon, Tulane
OF Jake Little, Memphis
OF Kyle Survance, Houston
IF Justin Montemayor, Houston
IF Josh Vidales, Houston
IF/P>Blake Fox, Rice
P Zac Favre, UCF
P Ian Gibaut, Tulane
P Jake Lemoine, Houston
P David Lucroy, East Carolina