BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – After winning its first Eastern Division title since 1994, Alabama State earned three individual Southwestern Athletic Conference awards, as shortstop Emmanuel Marrero was named Player of the Year, Joseph Camacho earned Pitcher of the Year, and Mervyl Melendez was voted Coach of the Year.

Alabama A&M outfielder Andrew Utterback received the conference’s Hitter of the Year, first baseman Tilur Smith becomes the league’s consecutive Newcomer of the Year from Jackson State, and Prairie View A&M outfielder Cody Den Beste was picked Freshman of the Year.

The awards and All-SWAC team selections were voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information contacts.

Marrero helped guide ASU to on of its best seasons in program history. While hitting .327, he leads the nation in triples (10) and ranks 1oth in RBI (55). Among leading the conference in triples and RBI, he ranks first in the SWAC in hits (67), total bases (108), two-out RBI (23), and runners advanced (38). He finished the regular season second in assists (151) while leading the Hornets in all seven categories.

For a consecutive season, ASU is spotlighted by its ace earning top pitching honors. Camacho capped the regular season with a 9-1 record on the mound earning the most wins among pitchers in the SWAC. He currently sits second in the league with a 2.36 ERA with 58 strikeouts. He enters the 2014 SWAC Baseball Tournament holding opponents to a .248 batting average, which ranks among the conference’s elite. He has not surrendered a home run on the year receiving the award after current teammate T.J. Renda captured the honor in 2013.

Utterback powered AAMU to its first 20-win season since 2009. He sits atop the conference with a .406 batting average which ranks ninth in NCAA Division I. In addition to his batting average, he leads the SWAC in slugging percentage (.600) and on-base percentage (.517). With 160 at-bats on the year, he has recorded 12 doubles, two triples, five home runs, 40 RBI and 27 runs scored.

Smith ranks in the top three or leads JSU in all of the major hitting statistics. He racked up 48 hits and 32 runs scored to lead all SWAC newcomers. He ranks ninth in the conference in hitting and leads JSU with a .340 batting average, a .532 slugging percentage and a .448 on-base percentage. Smith registers a team best in triples (2) and doubles (14), while posting three home runs and 26 RBI. He follows teammate Charles Tillery; who earned the newcomer award last year.

Den Beste finished the SWAC season as PVAMU’s leader in triples (3) batting average with two outs (.385) percentage reached as a leadoff hitter (.462), percentage advancing runners (.577) and is tied atop its list in stolen bases (7).

In his third year at the helm, Melendez spearheaded Alabama State to program milestones including: overall record (34-19), conference mark (21-3) mark and back-to-back 30-win seasons. The Hornets won their entire conference series for the first time en route to its first Eastern Division championship since 1994. The Hornets historic season included wins over Auburn and No. 4 Miami.

Marrero, Camacho and Utterback land on the All-SWAC first team with Alabama State’s Einar Muniz (2B), Richard Amion (OF), Richard Gonzalez (C), and Waldyvan Estrada (DH). Also among the first team selections are Alabama A&M’s Austin Hulsey (1B), Southern’s D.J. Wallace (OF), Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s Kevin Walsh (RP), and Jackson State’s Melvin Rodriguez (3B) and Desmond Russell (SP).

Alabama State led all selections with seven overall including six on the first team. Alabama A&M posted four picks followed by Texas Southern with three. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Jackson State, Southern, and Prairie View A&M finished with two overall. Alcorn State had one player make the all-conference teams among the 24 players selected.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
EMMANUEL MARRERO – ALABAMA STATE
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
JOSEPH CAMACHO – ALABAMA STATE
HITTER OF THE YEAR
ANDREW UTTERBACK – ALABAMA A&M
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
TILUR SMITH – JACKSON STATE
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
CODY DEN BESTE – PRAIRIE VIEW A&M
COACH OF THE YEAR
MERVYL MELENDEZ – ALABAMA STATE
ALL SWAC BASEBALL – FIRST TEAM
1B AUSTIN HULSEY – ALABAMA A&M
2B EINAR MUNIZ – ALABAMA STATE
3B MELVIN RODRIGUEZ – JACKSON STATE
SS EMMANUEL MARRERO – ALABAMA STATE
OF ANDREW UTTERBACK – ALABAMA A&M
OF RICHARD AMION – ALABAMA STATE
OF D.J. WALLACE – SOUTHERN
C RICHARD GONZALEZ – ALABAMA STATE
P JOSEPH CAMACHO – ALABAMA STATE
P DESMOND RUSSELL – JACKSON STATE
RP KEVIN WALSH – ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF
DH WALDYVAN ESTRADA – ALABAMA STATE
ALL SWAC BASEBALL – SECOND TEAM
1B DOMINIQ HARRIS – PRAIRIE VIEW A&M
2B JULIO NUNEZ – ALABAMA A&M
3B GREG SALCIDO – PRAIRIE VIEWW A&M
SS ISIAS ALCANTAR – ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF
OF BRANDON CRUTCHER – ALABAMA A&M
OF ZACH WELZ – TEXAS SOUTHERN
OF SCOTTIE PEAVEY – ALCORN STATE
C JOSE DELA TORRE – SOUTHERN
P T.J. RENDA – ALABAMA STATE
P SANTOS SALDIVAR – SOUTHERN
RP FELIX GOMEZ – TEXAS SOUTHERN
DH JERRY FORD II – TEXAS SOUTHERN

Courtesy: SWAC.org



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