CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. - Louisville junior righthander Jeff Thompson was honored as BIG EAST Conference Pitcher of the Year while a school record-tying 10 Cardinals earned All-BIG EAST accolades during Tuesday night’s BIG EAST baseball awards ceremony at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort.
A First Team All-BIG EAST honoree, Thompson (Greenville, Ind./Floyd Central HS) was 10-1 with a 2.09 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 14 starts and 90.1 innings pitched this season. The conference leader in wins and strikeouts, Thompson has won each of his last four starts and ranks third in the league in ERA while opposing batters are hitting just .174 against him. The 10 wins rank second on the Cardinals’ single season leaderboard, while his 97 strikeouts are the fifth most by a Louisville pitcher in a season. Thompson is the fifth Louisville player to be named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year in the last seven seasons joining Justin Amlung (2012), Thomas Royse (2010), Justin Marks (2009) and Zack Pitts (2007).
Joining Thompson as First Team All-BIG EAST selections were junior designated hitter Jeff Gardner and sophomore righty closer Nick Burdi. The Cardinals, who equaled last year’s record-setting 10 All-BIG EAST selections, had four players named Second Team All-BIG EAST on Tuesday -- junior righthanded pitcher Chad Green, junior outfielder Coco Johnson, sophomore shortstop Sutton Whiting and junior third baseman Ty Young. Earning Third Team All-BIG EAST honors from Louisville were senior second baseman Nick Ratajczak and junior outfielders Adam Engel and Cole Sturgeon.
Gardner (Louisville, Ky./Whitefield Academy), a Second Team All-BIG EAST selection last season, led the Cardinals with nine home runs while hitting .341 with 40 RBI, 11 doubles and a .659 slugging percentage. Burdi (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South HS) led the BIG EAST with 14 saves to go with a 3-2 record and had 55 strikeouts while allowing just two earned runs in 28.1 innings for a miniscule 0.64 ERA.
Green (Effingham, Ill./Effingham HS, who teamed with Thompson to give Louisville the league’s best starting duo, was 9-2 with a 1.63 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 14 starts and 88.1 innings pitched. Johnson (Benton Harbor, Mich./Central Arizona) hit .331 with six home runs, 43 RBI, 10 doubles and 20 stolen bases as the Cardinals’ everyday leftfielder. In his first season as the Cardinals’ starting shortstop, Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa./Louisville Ballard HS) hit .320 with one home run, 28 RBI and 21 stolen bases. Young (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep) a two-time All-BIG EAST selection, was Louisville’s top overall hitter with a .372 average to go with four home runs, 55 RBI, 13 doubles, seven triples, 49 runs scored and 26 stolen bases.
Ratajczak (Joliet, Ill./Gulf Coast CC), a two-time All-BIG EAST honoree who has started 119 straight games at second base, hit .281 with two home runs, 28 RBI, 26 walks and 18 HBPs while ranking as the nation’s toughest player to strikeout with only eight in 217 at-bats. Engel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Loveland HS), another two-time conference player, led the BIG EAST and ranked third in the nation in stolen bases with 39 while hitting .242 with 28 walks, 17 HBPs, 23 RBI and 47 runs scored while starting every game in centerfield. Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky./Owensboro Catholic HS), also a two-time All-BIG EAST selection, hit .339 with a home run, 32 RBI, 18 walks and 12 stolen bases as Louisville’s everyday rightfielder.
The eighth-ranked and top-seeded Louisville baseball team opens the 2013 BIG EAST Championship on Wednesday at 5 p.m., ET against No. 8 seed Connecticut. Live play-by-play for all of Louisville's games in Clearwater can be heard on News/Talk 1570 AM (WNDA) with live audio also available to subscribers of CardsTV online at www.GoCards.com.
The double-elimination round games of the 2013 BIG EAST Championship will be carried live on ESPN3 and BigEastBaseball.com, while Sunday's final will be televised at noon ET on ESPNU.
Fans can follow Louisville baseball on Twitter at http://twitter.com/uoflbaseball and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ulbaseball.
2013 BIG EAST CONFERENCE BASEBALL AWARDS
BIG EAST PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Eric Jagielo, 3B, Notre Dame (Jr., Downers Grove North, Ill.)
BIG EAST PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Jeff Thompson, RHP, Louisville (Jr., Greenville, Ind.)
BIG EAST ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Jimmy Herget, RHP, USF (Fr., Tampa, Fla.) *
BIG EAST COACH OF THE YEAR
Joe Jordano, Pittsburgh
ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM
Pos. Player School Cl Hometown
P Jeff Thompson Louisville Jr. Greenville, Ind.
P Adam Norton Notre Dame Sr. Highland, Ind.
P Ethan Mildren Pittsburgh Jr. Hopwood, Pa.
P Jon Prosinski Seton Hall Sr. Skillman, N.J.
RP Nick Burdi Louisville So. Downers Grove, Ill.
C Elvin Soto Pittsburgh So. New York, N.Y.
1B Trey Mancini Notre Dame Jr. Winter Haven, Fla.
2B LJ Mazzilli Connecticut Sr. Greenwich, Conn.
3B Eric Jagielo Notre Dame Jr. Downers Grove, Ill.
SS Giuseppe Papaccio * Seton Hall Sr. Nutley, N.J.
OF Casey Roche Pittsburgh Jr. Downingtown, Pa.
OF Zack Granite Seton Hall Jr. Staten Island, N.Y.
OF James Ramsay USF Jr. Brandon, Fla.
DH Jeff Gardner Louisville Jr. Louisville, Ky.
* unanimous selection
ALL-BIG EAST SECOND TEAM
Pos. Player School Cl Hometown
P Carson Cross Connecticut So. Brentwood, N.H.
P Chad Green Louisville Jr. Effingham, Ill.
P Rhys Aldenhoven Pittsburgh Jr. Victoria, Australia
P Matt Wotherspoon Pittsburgh Jr. Mountain Top, Pa.
P Jimmy Herget USF Fr. Tampa, Fla.
RP Dan Slania Notre Dame Jr. Tucson, Ariz.
C Jeff Melillo Rutgers Sr. Annandale, N.J.
1B Frank Schwindel St. John’s Jr. Livingtson, N.J.
2B Nick Favatella Rutgers Jr. Washington Township, N.J.
3B Ty Young Louisville Jr. Coatesville, Pa.
SS Sutton Whiting Louisville So. New Wilmington, Pa.
OF Coco Johnson Louisville Jr. Benton Harbor, Mich.
OF Steven Shelinsky, Jr. Pittsburgh Jr. Yardley, Pa.
OF Stephen Vranka Pittsburgh Jr. Monroeville, Pa.
DH Boo Vazquez Pittsburgh So. Youngstown, Ohio
ALL-BIG EAST THIRD TEAM
Pos. Player School Cl Hometown
P Ryan Horstman St. John’s Fr. South Hadley, Mass.
RP Brian Gilbert Seton Hall Jr. Toms River, N.J.
RP Lawrence Pardo USF Jr. Miami, Fla.
1B Sal Annunziata Seton Hall So. Bronx, N.Y.
1B Jimmy Falla USF Sr. Tampa, Fla.
2B Nick Ratajczak Louisville Sr. Joliet, Ill.
2B Mike Genovese Seton Hall Sr. Livingston, N.J.
SS Kyle Teaf USF So. Tallahassee, Fla.
OF Justin Leeson Georgetown Sr. Exton, Pa.
OF Adam Engel Louisville Jr. Cincinnati, Ohio
OF Cole Sturgeon Louisville Jr. Owensboro, Ky.
OF Ryan Bull Notre Dame So. Eden Prairie, Minn.
OF Steve Zavala Rutgers Sr. Randolph, N.J.
OF Zach Lauricella St. John’s So. Buffalo, N.Y.