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Big East Baseball Awards roundup

On Tuesday, the Big East handed out some hardware as the league gets set to hold its conference tournament this weekend in Omaha.

Nick Collins (33) was named Big East Player of the Year
Nick Collins (33) was named Big East Player of the Year
GUHoyas.com

Fans have been waiting all season for this. Or, if this is the first time you've stumbled across any type of medium pertaining to Big East baseball, you've been waiting the several seconds it took to read this meaningless introduction.

Without further ado, let's break open those envelopes and see who is going to have a shiny trophy to bring home to mom and dad*.

(*In this case, mom and dad means the school's athletic department, but you get the point).

Player of the Year - Nick Collins

As the saying goes, "Chicks dig the long ball." The powers that be in the Big East certainly dig them as well, as they handed the conference's highest honor for a position player to Georgetown's catcher/designated hitter. Collins blasted a league-high seven home runs, which may not jump off the page, but in a league devoid of many power threats, it was akin to a Ken Griffey Jr. season in the late 90s.

Of course, demoting Collins to just a power hitter would be a criminal offense. Collins was one of the best overall hitters in the conference, smashing line drives all over the yard, and sometimes out of it. The junior from Carthage, North Carolina led the league in total hits (75), total bases (111) and slugging percentage, while swatting 15 doubles and adding six stolen bases. He also showed patience at the plate, walking 22 times compared to 20 strikeouts. He is the first Hoya to ever be named Player of the Year and the first since Brian O'Hare, who won Pitcher of the Year in 1996, to claim a major award.

Pitcher of the Year - Ryan McCormick

It would be patently absurd if St. John's didn't get one player on the podium for the major awards. After all, the Red Storm finished at the top of the conference (36-14, 14-3 Big East) and will be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, which begins on Thursday.

McCormick, a junior right-hander, was the certified ace of the Red Storm staff, which posted a 3.89 ERA overall. He wrapped up the regular season with a 3.07 ERA and WHIP of 1.15 across 76 1/3 innings of work. He also struck out 60 batters, 26 looking, and walked only 20. Oh, and if you are still stuck in the past and find wins enticing, he finished with a league-best 9-1 record.

While his season as a whole was stellar, McCormick really brought it once Big East foes started to come up on the schedule. He had a 1.52 ERA in league starts, while picking up 33 strikeouts. He didn't just keep bats quiet, he kept them nearly silent, holding opponents to a .168 batting average. And, no, I didn't forget about his record. How does 6-0 in six Big East starts strike you?

Rookie of the Year - Nate Soria

"Rookie of the Year" is an exceptional film, starring Thomas Ian Nicholas as a kid from the Chicago suburbs, who breaks his arm and then becomes a lights out pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. Only "The Sandlot" is a better baseball movie. If you haven't seen it, stop reading this article and go watch it. Then come back and read about Nate Soria, the lone bright spot in an otherwise dismal season for Xavier baseball.

The freshman catcher is the first major award winner for the program. He was an excellent all-around offensive threat, hitting a blistering .335, while putting up impressive numbers in on-base percentage (.420) and slugging (.471). He stroked 11 doubles, three triples and two home runs and drove in 27 runs. He also snagged 12 bases in 17 tries and threw out a league-high 16 would-be base stealers. Although, to be fair, he also allowed 36 successful thefts and was run on more times than any other catcher in the league besides Butler's Will Amador.

Coach of the Year - Ed Blankmeyer

While Georgetown's Pete Wilk deserves a great deal of credit for pushing a team with so-so pitching to Omaha, it is Blankmeyer who adds yet another honor to his resume. Blankmeyer has now won the Coach of the Year award five times in the last 11 seasons and six total times since he took over in Queens in 1996. Blankmeyer coached the Red Storm to the Big East regular season title and helped get eight players onto the all-league first-team.

Speaking of the all-conference teams, here's the full list of honorees.

All-Big East First Team

Rollie Lacy - Creighton, - SP - 6-0, 2.37 ERA
Matt Smith - Georgetown - SP - 4-4, 2.97 ERA
Ryan McCormick - St. John's - SP - 9-1, 3.07 ERA
Cody Stashak - St. John's - SP - 7-4, 3.45 ERA
Thomas Hackimer - St. John's, Jr - RP 15 saves, 1.38 ERA
Reagan Fowler - Creighton - 1B - .341/.420/.412, 34 RBI
Todd Czinege - Villanova - 2B - .327/.372/.425, 29 RBI
Jarred Mederos - St. John's - SS - .247/.325/.392, 5 HR, 34 RBI
Robbie Knightes - St. John's - 3B - .323/.400/.346, 18 RBI
Nick Collins - Georgetown - C/DH - .369/.437/.547, 7 home runs, 36 RBI, 33 runs, 6 stolen bases
Michael Donadio - St. John's - OF - .314/.420/.399, 27 RBI, 44 runs, 8 stolen bases
Alex Caruso - St. John's - OF - .375/.457/.418, 21 RBI, 35 runs
Zach Lauricella - St. John's - OF - .325/.401/.456, 3 home runs, 38 RBI, 30 runs
Adam Goss - Villanova - OF - .326/.436/.451, 4 triples, 24 RBI, 13 stolen bases

All-Big East Second Team

Jeff Schank - Butler - SP - 5-6, 3.12 ERA
Peter Nyznyk - Butler - SP - 4-3, 4.65 ERA
Anthony Elia - Seton Hall, Sr - SP 3-2, 3.86 ERA
Trent Astle - Xavier, So - SP - 3-8, 3.42 ERA
David Ellingson -  Georgetown -  RP - 9 saves, 0.75 ERA
Matt Harris - St. John's - 1B - .321/.422/.479, 31 RBI
Ryan Fitzgerald - Creighton - 2B .274/.356/.435, 4 home runs, 30 RBI
Robert Wayman - St. John's - 2B - .280/.393/.333, 12 RBI
Ryan Busch - Georgetown - SS - .277/.359/.410, 5 home runs, 26 RBI, 40 runs, 7 stolen bases
Kyle Grimm - Seton Hall - 3B - .324/.410/.397, 28 RBI
Nate Soria - Xavier, Fr - .335/.420/.471, 27 RBI, 12 stolen bases
Tyler Houston - Butler - OF - .324/.405/.447, 3 HR, 26 RBI
Zach Weigel - Seton Hall - OF - .284/.398/.381, 25 RBI, 15 stolen bases
Joe Forney - Xavier - OF - .279/.384/.400, 4 home runs, 21 RBI
Troy Dixon - St. John's - DH - .276/.353/.381, 17 RBI

If you're looking for snubs, there is perhaps none bigger than Shane McCarthy. The freshman pitcher for Creighton posted a league-best 196 ERA, but was obviously left off. It is also a bit surprising that Derek Jenkins, also from Seton Hall, was ignored after he led the Big East in stolen bases (25).