Bears Win Three Specialty Awards, Land Seven All-Conference Players
Missouri State senior third baseman Brayden Drake is the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, junior lefthanded pitcher Buddy Baumann is the Pitcher of the Year and rookie second baseman Kevin Medrano is the Freshman of the Year, and those three are among six all-MVC first team selections and one honorable mention choice, the league office announced Monday.
Drake is the school’s fourth player of the year and first since Matt Cepicky in 1999. The Webb City native is hitting .418 with 10 homers and 52 RBIs, and has won back-to-back MVC Player of the Week awards in leading MSU to sweeps of Creighton and Indiana State to claim the league title. Drake ranks in the top 10 in 10 career offensive categories, and is the school’s record holder with 67 doubles and a 30-game hit streak completed earlier this year.
Baumann becomes Missouri State’s fourth pitcher of the year and second straight after junior Tim Clubb won the award last season. Baumann is 10-1 with a 3.40 ERA and a league-high 94 strikeouts in 79.1 innings. The Rogersville native is one of six hurlers in school history to win 10 games in a season and ranks eighth at MSU with 208 career strikeouts.
Medrano is MSU’s fourth freshman of the year and first since Brett Sinkbeil in 2004. The Lee’s Summit, Mo., native has 71 hits, fourth among freshmen in school history, for a .327 average with three homers and 38 RBIs. Medrano has put together 22 multi-hit games and made only one error in 102 chances at second base during league play.
Joining those three on the first team are junior outfielder Ben Carlson, junior catcher Dallas Hord and sophomore lefty Aaron Meade.
Carlson is a repeat selection to the first team after hitting .305 with a league-high 15 homers and 48 RBIs this season. The Topeka, Kan., native has started 27 games in right field, 13 at first base and six as the DH this year, and 30 of his 53 hits have gone for extra bases as Carlson ranks fourth in the MVC with a .655 slugging mark. Carlson has been hit by 20 pitches this year to rank second in MSU history, and owns the school record with 38 in his career.
Hord is hitting .347 with eight homers and 37 RBIs in 50 games this season. The Ozark product ranks sixth in The Valley in hitting and has swiped 11 bases in 13 tries. He has shut down opposing running games this season as well, as opponents have only been successful with 16 stolen base tries in Hord’s 49 games behind the plate.
Meade is 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 86 strikeouts. The Kansas City native is second in the league in wins behind Baumann, fourth in strikeouts and fourth in opponent average at .224. During league games, Meade went 6-0 with a 3.04 ERA, and took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of a shutout of Wichita State.
Chris Playter also made all-conference as an honorable mention utility player after earning second team accolades a year ago. The Kansas City native is hitting .295 with two homers and 44 RBIs this season while stealing 14 bases in 17 tries. Playter has provided the game-winning RBI 11 times this year, good for third in MSU history, and 17 times in his career, good for sixth.