Outfielder Philip Laurent, second baseman Michael Just and third baseman Chad Miller were all named to the Big South all-conference second team, while pitcher Phillip Thompson was selected to the conference's all-academic team, the league announced last evening before Game 3 of the 2006 Bojangles Big South Championship.
Laurent (Sr., Cantrall, Ill.) this season became Liberty's career hit and doubles leader this season was named to an all-conference team for the second time. Last season, he was named to the 2005 all-conference first team. A starter in all 56 games this season, the outfielder enters this evening's Game 6 of the Big South Championship against High Point among the Big South leaders with a .367 batting average, 81 hits, 67 RBI, 22 doubles and 10 home runs. In addition, his 22 doubles ties Joey Monahan for the most doubles in a season. Monahan set his mark in 2000.
Just (Sr., Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) was named to an all-conference team for the first time. The second baseman is among the Big South leaders in batting average with a .377 average and in hits with 87. His 87 hits are the fourth best total season total in school history. In his final season with the Flames, he has also reached career highs with 50 RBI and 58 runs scored. He is one double away from his career-high in doubles as he currently has 16 on the season. In the field, he has been steady and reliable at second has he has maded only in 176 contests.
Miller (Sr., Wheat Ridge, Colo.) also was named to an all-conference team for the first time this season. While providing strong corner defense for the Flames this season, he also became a catalyst at the top of the Liberty order. Batting .347, a jump of over 115 points from last season, Miller is among the conference leaders with 64 runs scored, an on base percentage of .456, 42 walks, and 24 steals. In addition, he has driven in 44 runs. He has the longest consecutive game hit streak this season for Liberty as he hit safely in 13 straight contests.
Thompson (Sr., Ringgold, Va.) was selected to the Big South all-academic team. The right-hand pitcher has been both a starter and reliever this season and currently sports a 6-6 mark with four saves. In a team-leading 86 1/3 innings, Thompson has posted a 4.69 ERA, while striking out 69 and walking 16. Away from the diamond, he graduated this month from Liberty with a degree in mathematics. He finished his studies with a 3.51 grade point average and was named to the Dean's list five times. This spring, he was also one of two Liberty seniors to receive the Rock Royer/Max Rivera Award. It is the highest honor given by the University's athletic department.
The fifth-seeded Flames, winners of their first game of the 2006 Bojangles Big South Conference Championship yesterday afternoon, 9-6, over second-seed Winthrop, square off tonight against the High Point Panthers tonight in game six of the Championship in Conway, S.C. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.
2006 Big South Baseball Award Winners
P Alex Wilson, Fr., Winthrop
P Heath Rollins, Jr., Winthrop
P Brandon Hynick, Jr., Birmingham-Southern
C Blake Burton, Sr., Birmingham-Southern
1B Heath Rollins, Jr., Winthrop
2B Chris Carrara, Jr., Winthrop
3B Kelly Sweppenhiser, Sr., VMI
SS Matt Repec, Sr., Winthrop
OF Mark Shorey, Sr., High Point
OF Jacob Dempsey, Sr., Winthrop
OF Tommy Lentz, Jr., Winthrop
DH Chris Norwood, Soph., High Point
P Eammon Portice, Soph., High Point
P David Horne, Sr., Birmingham-Southern
P Trey Barham, Soph., VMI
C Billy Aguiar, Fr., High Point
1B Brandon Hynick, Jr., Birmingham-Southern
2B Michael Just, Sr., Liberty
3B Chad Miller, Sr., Liberty
SS Matt Barber, Sr., Birmingham-Southern
OF Phillip Laurent, Sr., Liberty
OF Mark Goforth, Fr., Birmingham-Southern
OF Justin Fyle, Jr., Charleston Southern
DH David Perkins, Jr., Charleston Southern
Ronny Woods, Birmingham-Southern
David Perkins, Charleston Southern
Aaron Verrett, Coastal Carolina
Matt Christie, High Point
Phillip Thompson, Liberty
John Vellines, Radford
Ben Buchanan, UNC Asheville
Kelly Sweppenhiser, VMI
Tommy Lentz, Winthrop
CO-MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Heath Rollins, P/1B, Winthrop
Mark Shorey, OF, High Point
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Alex Wilson, P, Winthrop
COACH OF THE YEAR
Sal Bando Jr., High Point
SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Kelly Sweppenhiser, VMI