By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Multiple members of the historic 2018 Tennessee Tech baseball team took home All-American honors from D1Baseball.com, Perfect Game and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Wednesday afternoon.
Junior designated hitter / outfielder Kevin Strohschein claimed first-team accolades from NCBWA and earned Perfect Game/Rawlings All-American second-team honors. Senior first baseman Chase Chambers earned second-team honors from both the NCBWA and Perfect Game/Rawlings, as well as a third-team nod by D1Baseball. Junior closer Ethan Roberts was selected as a second-team All-American by both D1Baseball and Perfect Game/Rawlings while senior starter Travis Moths was a second-team selection by the NCBWA. Senior shortstop David Garza was named a third-team All-American by the NCBWA as well.
Strohschein was named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year for the second time this season, finishing the year with a .375 average, 69 runs, 106 hits, 18 doubles, 18 home runs, 67 RBI and a .650 slugging percentage. He became the first player in OVC history to record three seasons with at least 60 RBI, three seasons with at least 75 hits and three seasons with at least 55 runs scored. He is also just the fourth player in league history (and second in school history) to record three seasons with at least 14 home runs.
The junior was named a semifinalist for two National Player of the Year awards, including the Golden Spikes Award presented by USA Baseball (1 of 25 players) and the Dick Howser Trophy by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (1 of 35 players). He is one of four players in Tech history to be named OVC Player of the Year and just the fourth player in league history to win the honor multiple times. He was also named a first-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball newspaper and a third-team All-American by Baseball America at the beginning of June.
Chambers, who earned a place on the All-OVC First Team, shattered the program's RBI record with 84 runs driven in as a senior. The veteran slugger finished the year batting .395 with 80 runs, 101 hits, 13 doubles, 17 home runs, a .652 slugging percentage, a .500 on base percentage and a 49-24 walk/strikeout ratio. Named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, he was twice named OVC Player of the Week and finished the regular season as the Tech program's all-time leader in runs scored. Chambers also took home third-team All-America honors from Baseball America and was drafted in the 18th round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the New York Mets.
Roberts became arguably the greatest relief pitcher in program history in just three years, shattering the school marks for career saves and single-season saves while also becoming the first Tech reliever (and just the fifth different pitcher) to record over 100 strikeouts. He finished his junior campaign with a 2.30 ERA, 6-1 record, and 15 saves in 28 appearances, including one start. He tossed 78 and one third innings, allowing just 65 hits and 20 earned runs while striking out 103 to just 22 walks. The Sparta native became the highest drafted Golden Eagle in program history, relative to round, as a fourth-round selection of the Chicago Cubs.
Moths set the program record for career wins and victories in a single season, amassing 13 this season while sporting a 3.96 ERA in 20 appearances and 17 starts. He fanned 109 batters (third most in school history) while tossing 102 and one third innings while allowing just 97 hits, 45 earned runs and 40 walks. Also named a second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball newspaper, the four-year Golden Eagle held opponents to a .252 batting average. Moths became just the third Golden Eagle ever to take home OVC Pitcher of the Year honors as well and was drafted in the seventh round of the MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Garza was named a semifinalist for the Brooks Wallace Award for the second straight year, finishing the season with a .311 average, 69 runs, 82 hits, 17 doubles, 17 home runs, 72 RBI and a .568 slugging percentage. The veteran set program records for home runs and RBI by a shortstop while taking home a place on the All-OVC Second Team. A native of Othello, Wash., Garza smashed the final home run of the season for the Golden Eagles, No. 135 during the NCAA Super Regional in Austin, Texas. He was drafted in the 38th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Photos by Thomas Corhern / Tony Marable