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Brentz Named SBC Freshman of the Year

Barrett and Bishop receive First Team honors

May 20, 2008 · MT Media Relations
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Freshman Bryce Brentz was named Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year while senior Zach Barrett and junior Rawley Bishop received First Team honors as announced by the conference office on Tuesday.

Brentz was also named Second Team designated hitter for his performance during the 2008 season. The Knoxville, Tenn. native received Freshman of the Year honors after helping lead the Blue Raiders at the plate through out the season.

"What a great year for Bryce. As the year started we were asking so much of him as a freshman. He evolved into at one time our best pitcher on the staff and then had some arm problems so we had to shut him down but he could continue swinging," head coach Steve Peterson said. "It is not always best to have a freshman in the role of DH but I thought he handled it well. To lead the club in home runs and RBI shows great concentration skills as a freshman."

Currently, Brentz is first in home runs (18) and tied for first in RBI (67). Brentz is batting .333 with 14 doubles and 48 runs scored. Brentz has also stolen 13 bases this season. In the Sun Belt, Brentz is second in home runs and tied for fourth in RBI with Bishop.

Joining Brentz in the conference honors were Barrett and Bishop who were named First Team in their respective positions third and first base.

Barrett has been a steady leader at the plate with his 16 doubles, eight home runs, 44 RBI and 54 runs scored. The Evansville, Ind., native leads the team as in batting average (.377) and hits (90) and is tied for third in doubles. Barrett is third in the Sun Belt in hits.

"Zach Barrett is in just his second year playing third base. I credit a lot to his summer between his junior and senior year. He went out, applied himself in summer league and improved both defensively and offensively," Peterson said. "He is a very good athlete who has shown he can play third base. He has hit very well for us hitting in the top of the order and is very deserving of this award."

Bishop started the season slow at the plate as he did not hit his first home run until the 16th game of the season but picked it up and has now hit 17 long balls.

The Germantown, Tenn., native is second on the team in batting average (.377), first in doubles (18) and tied for first in RBI (67). Bishop is also third in home runs fifth in total bases in the Sun Belt.

Rawley Bishop is just a perfect example of hard work on and off the field. He has overcome injuries to get to this and what baseball is all about, consistency," Peterson said. "To have a year like he had this year showing that last year is no fluke. He just keeps getting better each year and is an outstanding defensive first baseman and big RBI guy. Obviously his power numbers speak for themselves."

The Blue Raiders will begin the 2008 Sun Belt Conference Tournament at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 21 against top-seeded ULM.

First Team All-Sun Belt
SP Bryan Cryer (New Orleans, Sr., SP)
SP Hunter Moody (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., SP)
RP Josh Storm (Troy, Jr., RP)
C Robert Taylor (UALR, Sr., C)
1B Rawley Bishop (Middle Tennessee, Jr., 1B)
2B Ryan Mollica (Florida International, Jr., 2B)
SS Ben Soignier (ULM, Jr., SS)
3B Zach Barrett (Middle Tennessee, Sr., 3B)
OF Mike McKenna (Florida Atlantic, Sr. Outfield)
OF Dexter Fontenot (ULM, Sr., Outfield)
OF Bryan Miller (Troy, Sr., Outfield)
DH Chad Cregar (WKU, Jr., DH)
Utility Jeff Lanning (New Orleans, Jr., Utility)

Second Team All-Sun Belt
SP Matt Ridings (WKU, So., SP)
SP Chase Ware (Arkansas State, Jr., SP)
RP Ryan O'Shea (New Orleans, Jr., RP)
C Beau Brooks (Troy, Jr., C)
1B Nick Schwaner (New Orleans, So.,1B)
2B Kyle Suire (ULM, Sr., 2B)
Johnny Giavotella (New Orleans, Jr., 2B)
SS Nick Arata (Florida Atlantic, Jr., SS)
3B Wade Gaynor (WKU, So., 3B)
OF Matt Apfel (UALR, Jr., Outfield)
OF Joey Butler (New Orleans, Sr., Outfield)
OF Ray Kruml (South Alabama, Sr., Outfield)
DH Bryce Brentz (Middle Tennessee, Fr., DH)
Utility Ryan McMillan (ULM, Jr., Utility)
Michael Precise (Troy, Jr., Utility)

Player of the Year: Mike McKenna (Florida Atlantic, Sr. Outfield)
Pitcher of the Year: Bryan Cryer (New Orleans, Sr., SP)
Newcomer of the Year: Chad Cregar (WKU, Jr., DH)
Freshman of the Year: Bryce Brentz (Middle Tennessee, Fr., DH)
Ron Maestri Coach of the Year: Jeff Schexnaider (Louisiana-Monroe)

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