Coastal Carolina redshirt-junior Tommy La Stella (Closter, N.J.) and Charleston Southern head coach Stuart Lake have been voted Big South baseball Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively, by the League’s head coaches, it was announced this evening at the 2011 Royal Purple Big South Baseball Championship.
Coastal Carolina senior Matt Rein (Houston, Texas) was voted the Big South’s Pitcher of the Year, while Presbyterian College catcher/DH Brad Zebedis (Rock Hill, S.C.) earned Freshman of the Year honors. Gardner-Webb’s Dusty Quattlebaum (Boiling Springs, N.C.) was voted Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the Big South’s sports information directors.
La Stella finished the regular-season as the Big South’s second-leading hitter with a .407 batting average, as well as the League leader with 60 runs batted in and 53 runs scored. He is also second with 83 hits and a .676 slugging percentage. A national semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, La Stella hit a blistering .452 in Conference games with eight home runs, 31 RBI, a .779 slugging percentage and .533 on-base percentage. He has had four hitting streaks of at least seven games in 2011, including a streak of 15 games to end the regular-season. La Stella batted .400 or better in seven of the nine Big South weekends, and struck out just 16 times this season – including just one whiff in 99 at-bats during a 27-game span in the middle of the season. In addition, he committed just five errors in the field and made only one error in his last 182 chances to close out the regular-season. La Stella received eight of the 10 first-place votes and 26 total points, finishing ahead of VMI shortstop Sam Roberts, who totaled 10 points in the voting.
Rein went 8-2 with a League-leading 1.38 ERA for the Chanticleers. He ranks eighth in the NCAA in ERA, and in his last three starts, he led Coastal to shutouts, pitching 5.0, 5.2 and a complete game shutout and carries a 21.1 scoreless inning streak in the postseason. Rein allowed just 45 hits in 65.0 innings and held opponents to a League-low .194 batting average. A two-time Big South Pitcher of the Week selection this season, he is 24th in the nation with 6.23 hits allowed per nine innings. In Conference games, Rein was 6-1 with a miniscule 0.82 earned run average (four earned runs in 44.0 innings). He tied for second in League wins and his .210 opponent batting average was second-lowest in Conference. He struck out nine vs. Gardner-Webb and tossed a complete game shutout at Winthrop. Rein received five of the 10 first-place votes and 22 total points, finishing just ahead of Liberty’s Keegan Linza, who garnered three first-place votes and 20 points.
Lake, in his third season as Charleston Southern’s head coach, led the Buccaneers to a third-place finish with a 15-12 Big South record – the program’s best League finish since 2002. After not qualifying for the tournament in 2010, Lake directed Charleston Southern to an 11-win improvement in Conference and the No. 3 seed in the Royal Purple Big South Baseball Championship. The Buccaneers won 28 games during the 2011 season, the school’s most victories since 2000, while its 15 Big South wins were their most since 1996. In addition, the Buccaneers snapped Coastal Carolina’s 46-game home Conference win streak last weekend with a 4-3 win at Watson Stadium. Charleston Southern is third in the Big South with a .299 batting average and leads the Big South in hits (584).
Zebedis is Presbyterian College’s first-ever Big South Freshman of the Year recipient. He leads the Big South with a .425 batting average – breaking the record for highest batting average for a freshman, and tied the Conference-freshman record with a League-high 13 home runs. He also is first with 90 hits, a .717 slugging percentage and is second with 57 RBI and 23 doubles. Zebedis, who was named a national semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy last week, ended the season with a 15-game hitting streak. He failed to get a hit in just five games all year, he recorded seven multiple-RBI games against Conference foes and in 16 games overall, and had a nine-game RBI streak during the season. In Big South games, Zebedis batted .406 with seven home runs, 27 RBI and slugged .703 in 27 contests. Zebedis received eight of the 10 first-place votes for 27 total points, finishing ahead of Charleston Southern shortshop Alex Tomasovich (one first-place vote, 17 total points).
Quattlebaum, the second Gardner-Webb player to be voted Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year in three seasons, was named a First-Team ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-American on Tuesday – the Big South’s third-ever First-Team honoree in baseball. Quattlebaum is batting .330 with six home runs and 47 RBI this season.
SP Anthony Meo, Jr., RHP, Coastal Carolina
SP Matt Rein, Sr., LHP, Coastal Carolina
SP Keegan Linza, Sr., RHP, Liberty
RP Charlie McCready, Jr., LHP, Charleston Southern (tie)
RP Abram Williams, Jr., RHP, Radford (tie)
C Alex Haitsuka, Sr., VMI
1B Matt Mack, Jr., Radford
2B Tommy La Stella, R-Jr., Coastal Carolina
3B Scott Woodward, Sr., Coastal Carolina
SS Sam Roberts, Sr., VMI
DH Brad Zebedis, Fr., Presbyterian College
OF Steve Antolik, Sr., High Point
OF Matt Hillsinger, Jr., Radford
OF Matt Still, R-Sr., Charleston Southern
SP Steven Evans, Sr., LHP, Liberty
SP Eddie Butler, Soph., RHP, Radford
SP Tyler Mizenko, Jr., RHP, Winthrop (tie)
SP Cody Allen, R-Jr., RHP, High Point (tie)
RP Garrett Baker, Jr., LHP, Liberty
C Eddie Rohan, Sr., Winthrop
1B Nick Chinners, R-Sr., Charleston Southern
2B Walt Quattlebaum, R-Jr., Charleston Southern (tie)
2B Jordan Lurie, Jr., UNC Asheville (tie)
3B Jaren Sustar, Soph., Charleston Southern
SS Matt Williams, Jr., Liberty
DH Ryan Burgess, Soph., Radford
OF Doug Bream, Sr., Liberty
OF Graham Sullivan, Sr., VMI
OF Tony Micklon, Jr., Presbyterian College
Charlie McCready, Jr., Charleston Southern
Tucker Frawley, Jr., Coastal Carolina
Dusty Quattlebaum, R-Jr., Gardner-Webb
Spencer Andrews, Sr., High Point
Keegan Linza, Sr., Liberty
Andrew Williams, Soph., Presbyterian College
Jason Patten, Jr., Radford
Cody Buch, Jr., UNC Asheville
Alex Haitsuka, Sr., VMI
Matteo D’Angelo, Sr., Winthrop
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Tommy La Stella, R-Jr., 2B, Coastal Carolina
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Matt Rein, Sr., LHP, Coastal Carolina
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Brad Zebedis, C/DH, Presbyterian College
COACH OF THE YEAR
Stuart Lake, Charleston Southern
SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Dusty Quattlebaum, R-Jr., Gardner-Webb