Eight members of the Nebraska baseball team were honored by the Big Ten Conference on Tuesday morning, including Pat Kelly, Michael Pritchard and Chance Sinclair who were named first-team All-Big Ten players by the league’s coaches. Blake Headley and Christian DeLeon were each second-team selections, while Zach Hirsch earned third-team honors. Ryan Boldt was one of 13 newcomers named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team and Ty Kildow was Nebraska’s Sportsmanship Award Winner.
Kelly earned first-team honors for the second straight season after also collecting second-team accolades as a freshman in 2012. Kelly led the Huskers during the regular season in hits (68), multi-hit games (20), RBIs (51), multi-RBI games (15) and home runs (4), while ranking third on the team with a .319 average.
Pritchard also earned his second first-team All-Big Ten honor on Tuesday and his third overall award. The senior from Omaha was a first-team pick in 2012 and collected second-team honors last season. One of the most prolific hitters in Nebraska history, Pritchard enters the Big Ten Tournament 10th in Nebraska history with 243 career hits. He hit .318 during the regular season and led all Big Ten outfielders with 42 RBIs.
Sinclair become the first Husker pitcher since Johnny Dorn in 2008 to earn first-team all-conference honors. A unanimous first-team choice, Sinclair posted a 1.88 ERA and a 9-1 record on the year, including a 6-0 mark during conference play. His nine wins and 1.88 ERA both ranked second in the league to Big Ten Pitcher-of-the-Year Joey DeNato’s 11 wins and 1.83 ERA.
Headley earned second-team honors at first base on Tuesday. A .331 hitter for the Huskers on the year, the Omaha native was even better during Big Ten play with a .341 average. Headley ranked second on the team with 19 multi-hit games and tied Pritchard for the team lead with six three-hit performances.
DeLeon was on his way to making a case for Big Ten Pitcher-of-the-Year honors, before an injury forced him to miss NU’s final three Big Ten series. DeLeon’s 1.34 ERA during league play was tops in the conference. Earlier this season, he tossed back-to-back complete games becoming the first Husker pitcher since Erik Bird in 2009 to throw consecutive complete games. DeLeon has made 25 starts, including 11 in 2014. He has gone at least 6.0 innings 21 times, at least 7.0 innings 14 times and 8.0 or more innings 10 times.
Hirsch leads the team with a 1.24 ERA and opponents are hitting .183 off of him. Hirsch has 18 appearances this season where he has thrown at least 1.0 inning of relief and hasn’t given up a run. In 10 of those appearances he hasn’t given up a hit.
Kildow was selected as Nebraska’s Sportsmanship Award Winner. The senior started his Husker career on the football field, but has spent the last three seasons on the baseball diamond. Kildow has played in 72 games during his career, including 16 starts this season, and has stolen 13 bases.
Nebraska’s 2014 All-Big Ten Award Winners
Pat Kelly – Second Base
Michael Pritchard – Outfield
Chance Sinclair – Starting Pitcher
Blake Headley – First Base
Christian DeLeon – Starting Pitcher
Zach Hirsch – Relief Pitcher