AVON LAKE, Ohio – In 2014, Miami senior starting pitcher Seth Varner (Batavia, Ohio/Clermont Northeastern) emerged as the unquestioned ace for the RedHawks. On Tuesday evening, he was recognized as the unquestioned ace of the Mid-American Conference.
Varner was named the MAC Pitcher of the Year at the league’s awards ceremony at All Pro Freight Stadium. He is the first Miami pitcher to win the annual award.
A native of Batavia, Ohio, Varner went 7-2 with a 2.59 ERA in 14 starts for the Red and White. He finished the regular season with a league-leading 111 strikeouts (third most in school history) while only walking 23 batters in 97.1 innings of work. Ever the model of durability and consistency, Varner pitched at least five innings in all 14 of his starts and lasted six or more innings 13 times. He posted 10 quality starts and struck out at least seven batters 11 times. Varner was even stingier in MAC play, going 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA (second in the MAC) and a league-high 78 strikeouts in 65.2 innings.
Varner was one of four RedHawks to earn postseason honors from the MAC. Joining Varner on the All-MAC First Team was senior third baseman Dan Walsh (Downers Grove, Ill./South). Walsh led the RedHawks with a .322 average and 69 hits (t-sixth in the MAC). He walked 20 times for a .383 on-base percentage in 214 at-bats, fanning only nine times all season. Walsh recorded a team-best multi-hit games and finished with a .349 average in MAC play.
Earning Second-Team All-MAC recognition were junior pitcher Ryan Powers (LaGrange, Ill./Nazareth) and freshman second baseman Steve Sada (Saegertown, Pa./Saegertown). Powers led the RedHawks with eight victories, posting an overall 8-3 record while also earning a save and notching a 4.37 ERA in 78.1 innings. He also posted a 7-1 record and a 2.85 ERA in MAC play, with his seven MAC victories tied for the conference lead. Sada posted a .299 average while his .387 on-base percentage was the second highest total on the RedHawks. In league play, the freshman batted .348 and got on base at a team-high .423 clip. His 16 extra-base hits and nine steals were each the second most on the RedHawks.
Miami also received its trophy for winning the MAC East Division, its first division crown since the 2005 season.
The Red and White begin the MAC Tournament on Wednesday morning when they face sixth-seeded Buffalo at 9:30 a.m.