CARBONDALE — Five SIU baseball players earned spots on the All-Missouri Valley Conference teams, the league announced Tuesday.
Outfielder/first baseman Greg Lambert was a first team selection, pitcher Chad Whitmer and outfielder Ryan Smith made the second team, and second baseman Connor Kopach and closer Ryan Netemeyer were honorable mention picks. The league's eight head coaches voted for the all-conference teams and the specialty award winners.
Missouri State third baseman Jake Burger, who has been ranked as high as the 16th-best pro prospect in the country by MLB.com, was named the MVC player of the year. Bears pitcher Jake Fromson (7-3, 2.01 ERA), a reliever who leads the nation in WHIP (0.73), was named the pitcher of the year. The junior righty became the first reliever to win the league's highest pitching honor since Wichita State's Marc Bluma in 1998. Bears starter Doug Still (7-1, 2.66 ERA) was named the Valley newcomer of the year, and Bradley third baseman Brendan Dougherty was the freshman of the year.
Camden Duzenack, a senior shortstop who has just 11 errors in 276 chances for Dallas Baptist, was named the league's defensive player of the year. Missouri State coach Keith Guttin, who led the Bears to their best MVC mark in school history (18-1), was named Dan Callahan Coach of the Year.
Lambert, a junior from Athens, Alabama, set SIU's doubles record with 24 this season. He led the team in batting average (.330), hits (72), doubles, home runs (six), RBIs (51) and slugging percentage (.541). Lambert's 51 RBIs ranked third in the Valley, and his 24 doubles led the league and ranked fourth in the NCAA.
Smith, a senior from Brentwood, California, led the team with a .403 on-base percentage. He batted .320 with a team-high 21 multi-hit games, and takes an 18-game reached-base streak into the MVC tournament Wednesday. Whitmer (6-3, 3.67 ERA), SIU's top starter, struck out a Valley-best 89 batters in 95 2/3 innings. Ten of the South Bend, Indiana, native's 14 starts were quality starts.
Kopach tied SIU's school record with four stolen bases in a game earlier this season, and led the league with 32 swipes. Defensively, he helped the Salukis turn a Valley-best 52 double plays. Netemeyer led the league with 15 saves, is a finalist for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award, and is a semifinalist for the National Pitcher of the Year Award from the College Baseball Foundation.