Matheny Named MVC Freshman of the Year as Seven Bears Tabbed for All-Conference Honors
May 20, 2013
NORMAL, Ill. - Headlined by Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year Tate Matheny and First-Team All-MVC selections Eric Cheray and Nick Petree, a total of six Missouri State baseball players were selected for all-conference honors Monday by the league's head coaches. Matheny and fellow MSU outfielder Keenen Maddox were chosen for the Valley's second team, while senior shortstop Travis McComack, senior reliever Erik Shannahan and senior catcher Luke Voit picked up honorable mention recognition.
Matheny becomes the third Missouri State rookie to garner MVC Freshman of the Year laurels in as many years, joining Petree (2011) and Tyler Burgess (2012) on the Bears' list of distinguished freshmen. MSU has now claimed four of the last five Valley rookie of the year awards and seven total honors over the last 15 seasons dating back to Ryan Howard's selection in 1999.
Additionally, Missouri State's two selections for the Valley's top postseason squad brings the Bears' total number of First-Team All-MVC honorees to 75 since joining the league in 1991. Cheray picks up all-conference honors for the first time in his MSU career after ranking among the league leaders in hitting, walks and on-base percentage during the conference season. The Topeka, Kan., native has reached base safely in each of his last 23 games and leads the Bears with an overall .458 on-base mark, which is good for second in the Valley this season. The Bears' second baseman has the second-highest batting average (.306) for MSU this year after hitting .379 in MVC play to rank fifth in the conference. Additionally, Cheray's season total of 40 walks rates as the 10th highest in school history.
A two-time MVC Pitcher of the Week honoree in 2013 and a USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award candidate, Petree earned his second straight First-Team All-MVC nod after compiling an 8-1 mound record and a 1.63 earned run average during the regular season. Petree leads the Valley in strikeouts (107) and innings pitched (94.0), while ranking second in the circuit in wins and ERA. The junior from Clinton, Mo., became the first MSU pitcher to log back-to-back 100-strikeout campaigns and climbed to No. 2 on the Bears' career lists for both victories and strikeouts. Additionally, Petree was the Bears' lone representative on the MVC's All-Defensive Team for the second year in a row.
Matheny leads Missouri State with a .342 batting averge for the year, while ranking among the Valley's top 10 in hits (75), runs scored (39), doubles (14), home runs (4), total bases (103), multi-hit efforts (24), while starting all 51 games for the Bears in centerfield. The St. Louis native has recorded at least one hit in 43 of his 51 games as a Bear, failing to notch a safety in just six games since opening weekend.posted hits in 12-straight games, April 6-26, marking his third separate hit streak of at least 10 games this season.
Maddox is also a first-time all-conference honoree after turning in a strong MVC season at the plate for the second year in a row. The Ballwin, Mo., product was one of the Bears' hottest hitters during the conference season, ranking third in the league in doubles (9) and fourth in RBIs (17) in MVC play. Furthermore, the senior turned in a pair of three-RBI games in conference play, as well as a streak of six consecutive multi-hit games (April 7-16) -- the longest such streak for a Bear since the 2010. For the season, MSU's regular left fielder is hitting .298 with 26 RBIs to rank third on the squad in both categories, while his total of 16 doubles leads the team.
Shannahan has been a key cog in the Bears' bullpen this season, posting a 3-1 record to go along with a 2.83 ERA and two saves. The Collinsville, Ill., native turned in a 2.61 ERA in nine Vally appearances, and has 22 scoreless outings in 31 games as a Bear.
A three-time All-MVC honoree, Voit has backstopped all but one of the Bears' 51 games this season, recording a .296 batting average, two homers and team highs of 29 RBIs and eight stolen bases. The Wildwood, Mo., native has been nearly flawless behind the plate with a .995 fielding percentage this season, while also cracking the 200-hit plateau for his MSU career.
Like his fellow senior honorable mention selection, McComack ranks among the school's all-time leaders in a number of defensive statistical categories, including assists and double-plays turned. A De Soto, Mo., product, McComack also recorded his 200th hit as a Bear this season while ranking among the league's leaders in sacrifice bunts (10) and serving as an anchor for a MSU defense that is on pace to set a program record for team fielding percentage (.973).
This week, the fourth-seeded Bears (30-21, 12-9 MVC) will be looking for their second consecutive trip to NCAA Regional when they take part in the MVC Championship, beginning with Tuesday's (May 21) opening-round meeting with No. 5 seed Evansville at 4:07 p.m. The tournament originates from Duffy Bass Field in Normal, Ill., and continues through Saturday's championship game, which will determine the winner of the Valley's automatic NCAA Tournament bid.