By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Four members of the record-breaking Tennessee Tech baseball team were honored as members of the 2018 South-ABCA/Rawlings All-Region Teams announced Wednesday afternoon by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
Junior designated hitter / outfielder Kevin Strohschein earned a place on the NCAA Division I South All-Region First Team. Senior first baseman Chase Chambers, senior shortstop David Garza and junior second baseman John Ham were each selected to the South All-Region Second Team. Tech's four selections match Florida for the most in the South Region.
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.
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.
Ham joined the Golden Eagles as junior college transfer and was incredible at second base, earning an All-OVC First Team bid while batting .317 with 70 runs, 77 hits, 18 doubles, 13 home runs, 62 RBI, a .576 slugging percentage and a .424 on base percentage. He was a two-time OVC Player of the Week and set program records for home runs and RBI by a second baseman. He became just the second Golden Eagle player to hit for the cycle in over 25 years and was drafted in the 31st round of the MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles.
Photos by Thomas Corhern / Tony Marable