Immediate Release: May 25, 2005
BURLINGTON, Vt. - After playing its way into the America East tournament for the first time in its four-year affiliation, Binghamton baseball was rewarded with five all-stars and three major award winners at the pre-tournament banquet, held Wednesday evening on a Lake Champlain cruise.
Junior third baseman Mathieu Bergeron (St. Celestin, Quebec) was named Player of the Year, freshman pitcher Scott Diamond (Guelph, Ontario) was voted Rookie of the Year, and head coach Tim Sinicki was chosen as Coach of the Year by his peers.
In addition, sophomore first baseman Brendon Hitchcock (Laceyville, Pa.) was a first team selection along with Bergeron, and senior left fielder Keith Ford (Broken Arrow, Okla.) and sophomore second baseman Matt Simek (Vestal, N.Y.) were each named to the second team. Diamond also was on the All-Rookie Team.
Bergeron engaged in a year-long assault on opposing pitchers, and leads the conference in home runs (15), RBI (54) and slugging percentage (.659). He delivered game-winning hits to beat Stony Brook and Hartford and broke school records in all three categories. He currently ranks 10th in the entire nation in home runs, 23rd in RBI and 26th in slugging.
"Mathieu has been, without question, the most dangerous offensive player in the conference," Sinicki said. "The production he has given our team out of the cleanup spot is what every coach dreams of when you fill out a lineup card. He has changed games for us all season long with one swing of the bat in crucial situations."
Diamond stepped into the No. 2 starter role and enjoyed an outstanding freshman season, particularly in conference play. Against America East opponents, he was 4-2 with a league-best two shutouts and a 2.85 ERA. In one stretch, he pitched 15.1 consecutive scoreless innings, and also ranks among the league leaders in complete games (4th with 4) and strikeouts (10th, 8.01/game). He was twice named Rookie of the Week and also was Pitcher of the Week once.
"This is a tremendous and well-deserved honor for Scott," Sinicki said. "He has been a consistent performer for us all season long, but to put up the numbers Scott did as a freshman in a highly competitive conference is remarkable. I am looking forward to watching Scott develop into one of the premier pitchers in the America East Conference during his time here at Binghamton."
While Bergeron had the power numbers, BU's team MVP was Hitchcock, who owns a .406 batting average. That mark is a whopping 38 points higher than any other America East player and ranks 29th in the country. A second team all-star as a freshman, Hitchcock has a school-record 71 hits, leads the league in on-base percentage (.490) and ranks in the top-10 in walks (5th, 26), runs (6th, 43) and RBI (7th, 35). He has produced 23 multi-hit games and has only been held without a hit in consecutive games once this spring.
Ford batted .319 in league play and leads the team with 12 stolen bases (in 14 attempts) - with one of those thefts being a dramatic steal of home. His 46 runs scored have equaled the school record and he ranks second in the conference in runs and eighth in stolen bases.
Simek is hitting .333, which ranks second only to Hitchcock on the team. An All-Rookie choice last season, he has nearly doubled his hit total from his freshman campaign and ranks first on the team in sacrifice flies (5) and second in stolen bases (11).
Sinicki, meanwhile, was honored by his coaching peers after lifting his team into the upper echelon in the league despite being picked to finish sixth. Heading into the season, the 13th-year skipper had to replace his 3-4-5 hitters from a year ago and then was dealt a series of blows as injuries wiped out his top two starters and top reliever before the 2005 campaign began. His Bearcats team has produced the most wins in its Division I tenure (23).
Binghamton opens tournament play against top-seeded Northeastern Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
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