May 22, 2012
AVON, Ohio -- Miami outfielder Matt Honchel was rewarded for his outstanding first season of college baseball, earning Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year honors in a vote of league coaches. The Harrodsburg, Ky., native was also a first team selection, the conference announced Tuesday night on the eve of the 2012 Mid-American Conference Championship.
Junior first baseman Kevin Bower was a second-team all-conference selection.
Honchel led the Mid-American Conference in batting in both overall and league-only rankings, hitting .401 with 87 hits in 217 at-bats. He hit safely in 44 of MIami's 55 games, registering multiple hits on 30 occasions. He ranks 10th, and is the top freshman, in the latest NCAA national statistical rankings.
Honchel, who hit .442 in conference action, is currently on a season-long 12-game hitting streak and is hitting .433 over his last 15 games.
Bower, from Indianapolis, Ind., hit .354 overall with three home runs and a team-best 49 runs batted in. He had 18 multiple-hit games and drove in more than on run 11 times. Bower batted .386 in league play.
With the regular season complete, Miami heads to Avon this week to participate in the 2012 Mid-American Conference Baseball Championship Wednesday to Saturday. The RedHawks (28-27, 12-15) are the No. 7 seed and will face No. 2 Toledo at 4 p.m. on day one of the tournament.
No. 3 Central Michigan and No. 6 Eastern Michigan are also on Miami's side during bracket play.
The RedHawks concluded the regular season on a high note, taking two of three from rival Ohio over the weekend. Needing at least one victory, they used timely hitting, strong pitching and solid defense to earn a tournament berth.
Toledo (30-25, 19-8) has won six of its last seven games, including sweeps of Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan the last two weekends. The Eagles are 24-29 overall (14-13 MAC), while the Chippewas stand 30-27, 17-10).
Senior lefty Shawn Marquardt (6-5, 3.76) will take the mound for Wednesday's opener. He began the season as the Sunday starter, but worked his way up to the No. 1 spot. Junior Mac Thoreson (6-3, 5.31), sophomore Charles Zubrod (4-4, 3.65) and junior Brooks Fiala (2-7, 6.82) could receive starting nods during the tournament.
Top relievers include Joe Neff (3-0, 4.08 ERA in 24 appearances), Brandon Adkins (3-1, 4.78 ERA in 25 appearances and Matt Rosinski (1-2, 2.52 ERA in 22 appearances). Rosinski is the team leader in saves with nine, ranking tied for third on Miami's single-season chart.