CLEARWATER, Fla. – Cincinnati outfielder Ian Happ, who finished the regular season as the American Athletic Conference’s leading hitter, was chosen as the conference’s player of the year by the league’s eight head coaches.
UConn pitcher Carson Cross, the conference leader in wins and strikeouts, was named the American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year. Houston southpaw Seth Romero, the league leader in earned-run average, was named The American Rookie of the Year. East Carolina coach Cliff Godwin, who led the Pirates to a second-place finish in the regular season, was tabbed by his peers as the American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.
Happ, a preseason first-team All-America selection and the preseason American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, lived up to his billing as he led The American with a .360 batting average, a .672 slugging percentage, a .487 on-base percentage and 47 walks. The junior hit 14 home runs, good for second in the conference, and had 41 runs batted in, providing leadership to a Bearcat roster that includes 21 freshmen.
Happ was chosen to the 2015 D1Baseball.com midseason All-America team and is one of 30 players to be named to the Golden Spikes Award watch list. He brings career totals of 25 home runs, 106 RBIs and a .337 batting average into the American Athletic Conference Championship.
Cross was named Pitcher of the Year by the head coaches after the righthander went 10-2 with a 2.18 earned-run average and a league-leading 106 strikeouts in the regular season. Just one year removed from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the entire 2014 season, Cross bounced back to lead The American in innings pitched (99.0) and opponent batting average (.206) in addition to wins and strikeouts in 2015
Romero was named as The American Rookie of the Year after he went 7-3 with a 1.73 earned run average during the regular season. Romero has struck out 74 batters and walked 18 in 67.2 innings and has held opponents to a .214 batting average to help Houston win the outright American Athletic Conference regular-season title. He becomes the second straight Houston player to earn Rookie of the Year honors in The American, joining teammate Andrew Lantrip, who shared the honor in 2014.
Godwin was named American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after he led East Carolina to a 36-20 overall record and a 15-9 mark in conference play in his first season as head coach at his alma mater. The 36 wins are the most by a first-year coach in school history, while the second-place finish is the Pirates’ best since they won the Conference USA regular-season title in 2009.
Happ and Cross were two of the five players who were unanimous choices to the American Athletic Conference all-conference first team, joining UCF pitcher Zack Rodgers, USF catcher Levi Borders and East Carolina pitcher/oufielder Reid Love. Love becomes the first player to be chosen as a first team all-conference selection at two positions in the same year as he earned the recognition as a pitcher and as a utility player.
Happ, meanwhile earned first-team all-conference honors for the second consecutive year, joining USF pitcher Jimmy Herget, UCF infielder Tommy Williams and UConn outfielder Blake Davey as back-to-back selections.
Houston, which won The American regular-season title with a 16-8 conference record (39-17 overall), had a league-leading seven players chosen to the all-conference first or second team. Outfielder Kyle Survance was a first-team choice, while Romero topped a group of six Cougar players, including three pitchers, who were named to the second team.
2015 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE BASEBALL AWARDS
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Ian Happ, OF, Cincinnati (Jr., Pittsburgh, Pa.)
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Carson Cross, RHP, UConn (Sr., Brentwood, N.H.)
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Seth Romero, LHP, Houston (Fr., West Columbia, Texas)
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE COACH OF THE YEAR
Cliff Godwin, East Carolina
|P||Zach Rodgers *||UCF||Sr.||Glendale, Ariz.||10-0, 2.18 ERA, 90 K, 36 BB, 91.0 IP|
|P||Carson Cross *||UConn||Sr.||Brentwood, N.H.||10-2, 2.18 ERA, 106 K, 24 BB, 99.0 IP|
|P||Anthony Kay||UConn||So.||Stony Brook, N.Y.||7-6, 2.16 ERA, 89 K, 23 BB, 96.0 IP|
|P||Reid Love||East Carolina||Sr.||Dunnellon, Fla.||7-3, 2.79 ERA, 68 K, 9 BB, 80.2 IP|
|P||Jimmy Herget||USF||Jr.||Tampa, Fla.||8-3, 2.64 ERA, 101 K, 32 BB, 88.2 IP|
|RP||Nolan Blackwood||Memphis||So.||Southaven, Miss.||2-1, 0.56 ERA, 13 SV, 15 K, 6 BB, 32.1 IP|
|C||Levi Borders *||USF||Jr.||Winter Haven, Fla.||.304, 9 HR, 42 RBI, .517 SLG%,|
|1B||Tucker Tubbs||Memphis||Sr.||Collierville, Tenn.||.311, 16 HR, 52 RBI, .617 SLG%|
|2B||Vinny Siena||UConn||Jr.||Woodbridge, Conn.||.358, 7 HR, 50 RBI, .516 SLG%, 11 SB|
|SS||Dylan Moore||UCF||Sr.||Yorba Linda, Calif.||.330, 9 HR, 41 RBI, .528 SLG%, 14 SB|
|3B||Tommy Williams||UCF||Sr.||North Palm Beach, Fla.||.324, 8 HR, 39 RBI, .554 SLG%|
|OF||Ian Happ *||Cincinnati||Jr.||Pittsburgh, Pa.||.366, 14 HR, 43 RBI, .681 SLG%|
|OF||Erik Barber||UCF||Sr.||Lakeland, Fla.||.322, 11 HR, 38 RBI, .538 SLG%|
|OF||Blake Davey||UConn||Sr.||Newport Beach, Calif.||.295, 6 HR, 44 RBI, .473 SLG%, 11 SB|
|OF||Kyle Survance||Houston||Jr.||Jersey Village, Texas||.295, 1 HR, 31 RBI, 28 SB|
|DH||Luke Lowery||East Carolina||Jr.||Midlothian, Va.||.313 12 HR, 45 RBI, .571 SLG%|
|UTY||Reid Love *||East Carolina||Sr.||Dunnellon, Fla.||.301, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 7-3, 2.79 ERA|
|P||Kyle Dowdy||Houston||Jr.||San Diego, Calif.||8-2, 2.77 ERA, 74 K, 18 BB, 67.2 IP|
|P||Andrew Lantrip||Houston||So.||Livingston, Texas||7-3, 2.40 ERA, 97 K, 19 BB, 97.1 IP|
|P||Seth Romero||Houston||Fr.||West Columbia, Texas||7-3, 1.73 ERA, 74 K, 18 BB, 67.2 IP|
|P||Corey Merrill||Tulane||So.||Lutcher, La.||4-5, 2.13 ERA, 74 K, 39 BB, 93.0 IP|
|RP||Tommy Peterson||USF||So.||New Port Richy, Fla.||4-1, 1.77 ERA, 15 SV, 50 K, 14 BB, 40.2 IP|
|C||Max McDowell||UConn||Jr.||North Huntingdon, Pa.||.302, 7 HR, 38 RBI, .441 SLG%|
|1B||Chris Iriart||Houston||Jr.||Chino Hills, Calif.||.307, 14 HR, 39 RBI, .594 SLG%|
|2B||Josh Vidales||Houston||Jr.||La Porte, Texas||.315, 2 HR, 36 RBI, .989 FLD%|
|SS||Stephen Alemais||Tulane||So.||Bronx, N.Y.||.319, 1 HR, 20 RBI, 25 SB|
|3B||Willy Yahn||UConn||Fr.||Sharon, Conn.||.346, 3 HR, 30 RBI, .468 SLG%|
|OF||JoMarcos Woods||UCF||Sr.||Orlando, Fla.||.329, 5 HR, 32 RBI, .515 SLG%|
|OF||Jack Sundberg||UConn||Jr.||Mansfield, Conn.||.284, 1 HR, 35 RBI, 31 SB|
|OF||Kane Barrow||Memphis||Sr.||Paris, Texas||.329, 3 HR, 40 RBI, .443 SLG%|
|OF||Darien Tubbs||Memphis||So.||Cookeville, Tenn.||.316, 7 HR, 35 RBI, .484 SLG%, 20 SB|
|DH||Jacob Campbell||Houston||Jr.||Alvin, Texas||.301 5 HR, 36 RBI, .455 SLG%|
* unanimous selection