Oberacker and Kirby-Jones named Ping!Baseball All-America
Jun 15, 2010
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Accolades continue to flood in for
Tennessee Tech juniors and new MLB draftees Chad Oberacker and A.J.
Kirby-Jones, who have both recently been named second team
All-America by Ping!Baseball.
The selection of the two Golden Eagle sluggers by Ping!Baseball
marks the first time that any Tennessee Tech player has been
selected to two All-America teams, as both were recently also
honored as first and second team all-Americans by TPX Louisville
Slugger Collegiate Baseball News.
Additionally, the significance of these two players being
honored is heightened by the fact that Tennessee Tech has not had
more than one All-American named to one team in a single decade,
let alone in a single season. Four other Golden Eagles have
received past accolades - Cole Helms in 2002, Mark Maberry in 1997,
Scott Baerns in 1988 and Mike Winchester in 1975.
Add to that the respect of being recently drafted to two
different Major League Baseball franchises, and Oberacker and
Kirby-Jones are certainly continuing to build upon their baseball
resumes. Kirby-Jones went to the Oakland A’s with the
275th pick of the draft, while Oberacker earned the
589th pick to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Named second team All-America by Ping!Baseball AJ Kirby-Jones,
the 6’0” utility player out of Knoxville, Tennessee
slugged a monumental .859 this season as Tech’s designated
hitter - a statistic that ranks second in the NCAA, led the Ohio
Valley Conference and shattered the single season record at Tech.
His career slugging percentage of .686 ties Jeremy Bonczyski for
first place in the Tech record books. He finished second in the
nation, first in the OVC in home runs with 26, and with 51 career
home runs takes the number one spot in Tech history.
He also ranks first at Tech in career total bases with 409, runs
scored with 143, hits with 207, doubles with 49, runs batted in
with 190 and walks with 128.
Kirby-Jones led the OVC and the Golden Eagles with 58 walks this
season, which puts him fifth in the nation for base-on-balls, and
holds the single season record for intentional walks with nine in
Starting the past 114 games consecutively, including all 56
competitions in the 2010 season as the designated hitter or first
baseman, he batted in 70 runs this year, breaking his own school
record for RBIs in the 2009 season to earn the two spot in the Tech
single season record books. His 2010 on-base percentage of .531
ranks second in the OVC, as do his RBI and total base (177) stats.
He holds the three spot in the conference for total plate
appearances with 275.
“AJ is a great person, first and foremost, and very
consistent in his approach to the game every day,” said
Bragga. “No matter how he played in the last game he has a
tendency to stay very level and understands the game very
Kirby-Jones was named National Player of the Week in March, was
named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Week for week five
of the 2010 season and 2010 first team All-OVC. Kirby-Jones is also
a finalist for TTU’s Male Athlete of the Year Award and is on
the 2010 Dick Howser Trophy watch list.
An Erie, Pennsylvania native, Oberacker finished his season
ranked no. 3 in the nation, leading the Golden Eagles and the Ohio
Valley Conference with a batting average of .452. Batting in the
clean-up position, Oberacker consistently hit over .400 for the
entire season, and finished fourth in the nation in total hits with
108 – a statistic that ranks first in the OVC - 40 of which
were for extra bases. His career batting average of .395 takes top
honors in Tech history.
Throughout the season he maintained an on-base percentage of
.527 and slugged .690, batting in 70 runs and becoming just the
fourth athlete in Tech history to bring in over 60 runs in one
season, earning him the three spot in Tech record books. He set
single season records in 2010 for hits and doubles with 29, which
ranks first in the OVC, and he ranks second in Tech’s single
season history in total bases with 165. Oberacker is also tied for
the top spot in Tech record books with nine career triples.
Being the only Golden Eagle to play and start all 56 games in a
field position this year, Oberacker recorded a conference-high 281
total plate appearances, rounding the bases 67 times and logging
five triples, six homers and 34 walks for 2010. He also recorded an
outstanding 36 multi-hit games and fielded .992 on the season.
“Chad is a tremendous athlete, we’ve always known he
was a special baseball player,” said Tech Head Coach Matt
Bragga. “He was a huge part of our championship team last
year and had another great year this year.”
Additionally, Oberacker received Ohio Valley Conference Player
of the Week accolades for week 13 of the season, was named first
team All-OVC and second team Academic All-District. He becomes the
first baseball player in history to be named to an All-America team
as well as to an Academic All-District team. He was named to the
2010 OVC all-tournament team, is also one of 10 finalists for
Tennessee Tech University’s Male Athlete of the Year award,
and is on the 2010 John Olerud Two-Way Player watch list.
“The bottom line is that those guys are not only
tremendous baseball players but great guys, they’re leaders
and ambassadors to our team,” Bragga said.
“This is a huge accomplishment for these young men and the
program,” said Tennessee Tech Director of Athletics Mark
Wilson. “It serves as an excellent indicator for the future
of Tech baseball under Coach Bragga.”