Cheray Heads List of Four Bears Named MVC Scholar-Athletes
June 3, 2013
ST. LOUIS - Missouri State sophomore infielder Eric Cheray has been named to the Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Scholar-Athlete First Team, released Monday by the conference office. Cheray was the lone MSU representative on the first team, while sophomores Dylan Becker and Tyler Burgess, as well as junior Conor Smith were named MVC Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention as part of a group of 19 Valley players honored by the league's sports information directors for their work on the field and in the classroom.
Cheray earned First-Team All-MVC honors for the first time in his MSU career this spring after ranking among the league leaders in hitting, walks and on-base percentage during the conference season. The Topeka, Kan., native reached base safely in 23 consecutive games from April 12 through May 18, and led the Bears with an overall .436 on-base mark for the season. The Bears' second baseman batted .285 with 41 walks on the season -- good for the eighth-highest total in school history -- after hitting .379 in MVC play to rank fifth in the conference. Additionally, Cheray started 38 games at second base, including each of the final 32 contests of the season, committing just two errors in 147 chances for a .986 fielding percentage at second. A psychology major, Cheray has posted a 3.42 grade-point average in through his first two years at MSU.
Becker picked up his first MVC Scholar-Athlete nod this season after making 36 combined starts in right field and second base for the Bears, logging career highs for hits, RBIs, walks and stolen bases this spring. He came off the bench to post career-bests for hits (3) and RBIs (4) in a game April 20 vs. Bradley, capping off his day with the first grand slam of his MSU career to clinch the 12-2 win. A finance major, Becker maintains a 3.80 grade-point average and was a 2012 MVC Commissioner's Academic Excellence Award recipient.
Burgess was named a scholar-athlete for the first time after turning in a strong season out of the MSU bullpen for the second year in a row. The 2012 MVC Freshman of the Year, Burgess was a Preseason All-MVC choice this spring and did not disappoint, going 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA over 21 relief appearances. The Webb City, Mo., product converted three saves to rank 10th in the Valley and held the opposition to a .228 batting average in 2013. He ranks third on MSU's career saves list with 14 and combined on seven of the Bears' 13 shutouts in 2012-13. Burgess, a business major, was named to the MVC Commissioner's Honor Roll last spring and has logged a 3.56 cumulative GPA.
Smith, a two-time MVC Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll selection, batted a career-best .277 in 42 games this season for the Bears. The Ballwin, Mo., native hit .417 over career-best eight-game hit streak (May 4-18) after clubbing his first homer as a Bear March 1 to help MSU beat Northwestern State. Smith's two home runs matched the second-highest total on the team and his .393 slugging percentage ranked third on the club. A cell and molecular biology major with a minor in French, Smith has recorded a 3.66 GPA over his three years at Missouri State.
To qualify for consideration for the MVC Scholar-Athlete Team, players must have a minimum 3.20 grade-point average and be a starter or key reserve. The team is voted on each year by the league's eight sports information directors.