UCI duo gets top accolades

UC Irvine junior ace Matt Summers has been named Big West Conference Pitcher of the Year and senior Brian Hernandez is the Defensive Player of the Year, highlighting six Anteaters named all-conference in baseball Tuesday.

Senior Drew Hillman and junior Ronnie Shaeffer joined Summers and Hernandez on the first team, while senior Sean Madigan and junior D.J. Crumlich represent the Anteaters on the second team.

Summers went 8-0 in eight Big West starts, posting a 1.46 earned-run average against conference foes. Big West opponents hit just .175 against him. He threw shutouts in his last two conference starts, including a no-hitter Friday against visiting Long Beach State. He takes a 10-2 regular-season record and a 1.74 ERA into the postseason, which begins Friday at 2 p.m. against Fresno State in the Los Angeles Regional at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Summers is the fourth straight Anteater to be named conference pitcher of the year, following Danny Bibona (2010 and 2009) and Scott Gorgen (2008).

Hernandez earned first-team recognition as a third baseman and utility player, the latter a nod to his role as the team's closer. A first-team all-conference performer as a junior, he hit .354 in the regular season and led all conference players with 81 hits. He drove in 29 runs and scored 44.

Hernandez, who had not pitched since high school, had 12 saves, a 3-2 record and a 3.33 ERA in 27 innings.

Hillman, a former two-time All-American at Orange Coast College, led all conference players with 47 RBIs. The left fielder hit .347 with a team-best four home runs and 19 extra-base hits. He scored 42 runs and amassed 75 hits in the regular season, helping UCI finish 39-16, 16-8 in conference to wind up second behind Cal State Fullerton.

Shaeffer, a catcher, earned his first-team status as much for his arm as his bat. Having thrown out 33 of 53 attempting to steal, he leads the nation with a 62.3% success rate. He has caught all 55 games and is hitting .254 with 48 hits and 25 RBIs.

Madigan, a fifth-year senior, received honorable mention in all-conference voting as a freshman. The right fielder reached base in 34 straight games during the regular season, when he hit .296 with 35 RBIs and a team-best nine stolen bases.

Junior first baseman Jordan Fox, who missed 11 games with a shoulder injury, nine of those coming in conference play, received honorable mention. He led the 'Eaters with a .356 batting average and ranked fourth in the nation in the toughest-to-strike-out category with just five Ks in 163 at-bats. He has 25 RBIs and eight stolen bases.

Cal State Fullerton junior first baseman and closer Nick Ramirez was named Player of the Year and Titans' head man Dave Serrano, a former UCI coach, was named Coach of the Year.

Cal State Fullerton's Michael Lorenzen is the Freshman Player of the Year and UC Riverside's Dylan Stuart is the Freshman Pitcher of the Year.

— From staff reports

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