SPARTANBURG, S.C. – UNCG baseball coach Mike Gaski has been honored as the Southern Conference Coach of the Year, while Warren Slack, Trevor Edwards and Brandon Browne all earned individuals nods, as the league announced its annual postseason teams as voted on by the 11 head coaches in the league.
It is the fourth time in Gaski's UNCG career that he has been named Coach of the Year, but just the second time in the Southern Conference. The last time he was named SoCon Coach of the Year was in 1998 when his team won the regular-season title.
Behind the leadership of Gaski this season, UNCG has gone 34-18 overall with a 22-8 mark in the SoCon to finish the regular season in second place. Prior to the season, the Spartans' weren't picked to finish better than ninth in the two preseason polls.
The 22 SoCon wins matches the school record for the most league wins that was set in 1998, UNCG's first year in the conference. The 34 overall wins are also the most by a UNCG team since 2003 and the team has won 15 of its last 16 games heading into this week's conference tournament.
Slack and Edwards earned first-team All-SoCon nods as a starting pitcher and catcher, respectively, while Browne was named to the SoCon All-Freshman Team.
This season, Slack holds a 7-1 overall record with a 3.70 ERA. He has pitched a total of 80 1/3 innings this season and has struck out 71 batters this season compared to giving up just 20 walks. In his final home start this season, Slack struck out a career-high 12 batters and followed that up with six shutout innings this past weekend against Wofford to pick up the win.
"I think it is an incredible honor for Warren, particularly because the league has so many quality starting pitchers," said Gaski. "For him to be voted to the first-team is a huge accomplishment."
Edwards has been the leading hitter for UNCG all season as he also plays first base when not catching. His .320 average this season ranks second on the team and he also had a team-leading eight home runs. He also leads the Spartans with 48 RBI and ranks second in the SoCon with 17 doubles. His .581 slugging percentage this season also ranks him in the top-10 in the league.
"I'm very proud of Trevor because he has worked so hard over the past year to become a good catcher and a very solid college hitter," Gaski said. "The amount of work and energy he has put into it has paid off."
Browne, a true freshman from Hope Mills, N.C., has stepped into UNCG's weekend rotation this season as the Saturday starter. He had a 2-2 record this season to go along with his 3.80 ERA. Batters hit just .227 off of him in 66 1/3 innings of work.
"He (Brandon) is very deserving," said Gaski. "He has a great arm and is on the cusp of being an all-conference pitcher before his time is up."
The Spartans, the No. 2 seed, will face seventh-seeded Furman in the first round of the Southern Conference Tournament at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
2011 SoCon Baseball All-Conference Team
Player of the Year – Victor Roache, So., OF, Georgia Southern
Pitcher of the Year – Matt Murray, Jr., RHP, Georgia Southern
Freshman of the Year – Daniel Aldrich, OF, College of Charleston
Coach of the Year – Mike Gaski, UNCG
SP Josh Renfro, College of Charleston
SP Andy Moye, Georgia Southern
SP Warren Slack, UNCG
RP Matt Murray, Georgia Southern
C Trevor Edwards, UNCG
1B Saxon Butler, Samford
2B Ross Heffley, Western Carolina
SS Eric Phillips, Georgia Southern
3B Matt Leeds, College of Charleston
OF Daniel Aldrich, College of Charleston
OF Nick Orvin, The Citadel
OF Victor Roache, Georgia Southern
DH Stephen Notaro, Western Carolina
SP Christian Powell, College of Charleston
SP Kyle Putkonen, Samford
RP Andrew Jones, Samford
C Rob Kral, College of Charleston
1B Aaron Thompkins, Furman
2B Sebastian Gomez, Elon
SS Neal Pritchard, Elon
3B Austin Schultz, Western Carolina
OF Shawn Payne, Georgia Southern
OF Phillip Ervin, Samford
OF Brandon Miller, Samford
DH Mac Doyle, Wofford
Preston Troutman, Appalachian State
Daniel Aldrich, College of Charleston
Drew DeKerlegand, The Citadel
Joe Jackson, The Citadel
Forrest Brandt, Davidson
Sebastian Gomez, Elon
David Whitehead, Elon
Brandon Browne, UNCG
Phillip Ervin, Samford
C.K. Irby, Samford
Aaron Attaway, Western Carolina
Adam Martin, Western Carolina
- UNCG -