our University of Evansville baseball players have earned All-Missouri Valley Conference honors, as announced by the Valley office Monday evening. Junior Eric Stamets highlights the group, being named the league’s first-ever Defensive Player of the Year, as well as a member of the first team all-conference team. In addition, freshman Kevin Kaczmarski was named second team, while junior Kyle Lloyd and freshman Kyle Freeland picked up honorable mention recognition.
Stamets, a native of Dublin, Ohio, is an all-around standout player for the Aces with incredible range at the shortstop position. Stamets owns a .969 fielding percentage with 91 putouts and a league-high 189 assists, entering the MVC Tournament four shy of the 600 career-assist milestone. He also ranks tied for third in the league in fielding double plays (35) this season. Stamets has started every game of his career and pilots the Aces’ offense with a .311 batting average, 39 runs, 24 RBI and a team-high 18 doubles, while also leading the MVC with 30 steals. Stamets is no stranger to Valley honors, as he was named the MVC Freshman of the Year in 2010.
Kaczmarski leads the team with a .328 batting average, 17 runs, and a .493 slugging percentage in MVC games this spring. The rookie also ranks second on the team with a .307 season average and squad-best .419 on-base percentage. The Cary, Ill. native co-ranks third in the Valley and co-leads the Aces with five triples, while also belting 13 doubles.
Lloyd and Freeland, two of UE’s starting pitchers in the weekend rotation, have been steady hurlers for the Aces this spring. Lloyd leads Evansville with a 2-0 record and 2.09 ERA against Valley competition, while limiting conference foes to a .193 batting average. On the season, the right-hander has thrown 80.2 innings, striking out 51 with a 3.01 ERA and 5-3 record.
Freeland is a two-time MVC Pitcher of the Week honoree, hurling two complete-game shutouts with a team-high 39 strikeouts in league play. Against Valley competition Freeland owns a 3-2 record and 3.64 ERA. On the season, Freeland has struck out 63 in 82.2 innings with a 4-5 mark and 4.57 ERA.
The Aces open the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m. CT at Hammons Field. Evansville, the five seed, will face No. 4 Illinois State in game one. No. 1 Indiana State and No. 8 Creighton are also in the Aces’ bracket.