For Immediate Release: May 24, 2006
Contact: John Hartrick (
Phone: 607-777-6800

Binghamton baseball leads America East with three first team all-stars
Groh named Conference Pitcher of the Year; Hitchcock, Smucker voted to first team

America East Release

VESTAL, N.Y. - Despite falling one game short of advancing to the conference tournament, Binghamton gained the respect of the America East coaches in the all-star balloting. The Bearcats produced three first team all-stars - more than any other program in the seven-team league. The awards were announced at Wednesday's annual awards banquet, held in conjuction with the championship, which begins Thursday in Burlington, Vt.

Sophomore pitcher Zach Groh (Reading, Pa.) was selected as the Pitcher of the Year, and was joined on the first team by junior first baseman Brendon Hitchcock (Laceyville, Pa.) and junior shortstop Justin Smucker (Bird-in-Hand, Pa.). Junior second baseman Matt Simek (Vestal, N.Y.) was named to the second team and first-year third baseman Kyle Klee (Rochester, N.Y.) earned All-Rookie honors.

After returning from a medical redshirt season, Groh had a dominating season in 2006. He posted an earned run average of 1.85, which currently ranks 14th in the nation. In the midst of a dominating month-long stretch, Groh went 4-0, didn't allow an earned run for 42 consecutive innings and led the nation in ERA. He struck out 71 batters and walked only 15 in 63.1 innings. He was even more stingy in conference play, posting a 1.16 ERA with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of more than 5-to-1 (45-8).

Hitchcock is now a three-year all-star and repeat first team selection after another strong season. After a slow start, he jumped his batting average up to .363 by season's end, and ranked sixth in the conference in average and RBI (46). Over the last 27 games, he hit .441 and had 27 RBI and wound up with 19 multi-hit and 11 multi-RBI games. Hitchcock already is the program's Division I career leader in hits (186) and RBI (111) heading into his senior season.

Smucker entered his junior season as a team leader and slick fielding shortstop but stepped up his offensive production to earn all-conference honors for the first time in his three-year career. He hit .350 with a team-high 44 runs scored and 27 RBI. His on-base percentage of .439 was tops on the team and fifth in the conference, and he closed out the season on a 13-game hitting streak. Smucker also ranked fifth in the America East in runs and sixth in walks.

Simek earned second team honors for the second straight year after hitting .309 with a team-high 16 doubles and 31 RBI. He tied the single-season (Division I) record for doubles and had 14 multi-hit and eight multi-RBI games.

Klee made 32 starts in his freshman season, and batted .270 with seven extra-base hits and 19 RBI.

The Bearcats (27-23-1, 12-11 AE) set a school record for wins in a season and lowered its team ERA for the third straight year (4.78) under head coach Tim Sinicki. Binghamton will return three of its four conference starting pitchers and eight of nine starting position players in 2007.


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