TENNESSEE BASEBALL ADDS GAME AT LOUISVILLE
Tennessee head baseball coach Todd Raleigh announced Friday that the Volunteers have added a game at Louisville to the 2008 schedule. The Vols will play the Cardinals on Wednesday, March 19 at 3 p.m. at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Louisville posted a 47-24 overall record last year and made the school’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA College World Series. The Cardinals under first-year head coach Dan McDonnell defeated Oklahoma State in the NCAA Louisville Super Regional at Jim Patterson Stadium en route to Omaha and earned a year-end RPI of No. 29.
The addition of the Louisville game brings Tennessee’s 2008 schedule to the NCAA-maximum of 56 regular-season games.
LOCKWOOD, CRNKOVICH NAMED TO BROOKS WALLACE AWARD WATCH LIST
Tennessee baseball players Jeff Lockwood and Steve Crnkovich were among the 224 collegiate standouts named to the 2008 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Award Watch List, which was released Friday by the College Baseball Foundation. Lockwood and Crnkovich are both sophomores who figure to be key contributors to the Volunteers fortunes under first-year head coach Todd Raleigh this spring.
Lockwood earned Freshman All-America honors last season while starring in a dual role for the Vols. On the mound, the Knoxville, Tenn., native posted an SEC-best eight saves to go along with a 2-2 record and a 4.44 ERA. He also totaled 42 strikeouts against 16 walks in 46 2/3 innings of action.
At the plate, Lockwood hit .315 last season (second among returning Vols) with 34 RBI and four home runs in 54 games. He had 17 multi-hit games and also authored a 13-game hitting streak that was the longest by any player on the team last year.
Crnkovich (pronounced: sirn-KO-vich) is entering his first season as a Vol after earning national recognition as a freshman at the University of Illinois-Chicago last year. The right-handed pitcher from Downers Grove, Ill., was named to the 2007 All-Horizon League Newcomer Team after leading that conference with a 2.39 ERA. In 18 appearances for the Flames, he posted a 4-4 record and threw a pair of complete games while recording 54 strikeouts and walking 21 batters in 94 innings.
He proved his mettle against elite competition, working a complete-game three-hitter at Vanderbilt, during which he limited the Commodores to just one run. Crnkovich also enjoyed outstanding road outings at nationally-ranked Tennessee and Georgia Tech as a true freshman last spring.
Tennessee was one of eight Southeastern Conference teams to place multiple players on the Wallace Award Watch List. A total of 24 SEC players earned inclusion.
The Wallace Award is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate baseball player in conjunction with the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s annual induction festivities. The 2008 award banquet will be held Thursday, July 3, in the United Spirit Arena on the campus of Texas Tech University.
“After a great fall baseball season, we can see that the talent level in college baseball will once again be great,” Chair of the Brooks Wallace National Player of the Year Award Committee Raymond Richardson said. “We have several players from last year’s Wallace Watch that we will continue to follow, and we look forward to tracking the new additions as well.”
Last year’s Brooks Wallace award went to Vanderbilt pitcher, David Price. Price was the first overall pick in the 2007 MLB draft and is currently pitching in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. The 2006 winner was standout pitcher/designated hitter Brad Lincoln of Houston. Nebraska’s Alex Gordon, now with the Kansas City Royals, took home the 2005 trophy. The inaugural award was given in 2004 to Kurt Suzuki of Cal State Fullerton; Suzuki is now catching for the Oakland Athletics.
The Wallace Award is a dedication to the memory of the former Texas Tech player and assistant coach Brooks Wallace. He was a slick-fielding shortstop at Tech from 1977-80. A four-year starter, Wallace was named All-Southwest Conference and All-District his senior year. He led the Red Raiders to their first-ever appearance in the Southwest Conference Tournament in 1980.
After playing two years in the Texas Rangers organization, Wallace returned to Texas Tech and served as a graduate assistant and later as an assistant coach. In the summer of 1984, he was diagnosed with cancer and fought the disease courageously until his death on March 24, 1985, at age 27.