May 18, 2009
PALM HARBOR, Fla. - Junior A.J. Pollock was named all-BIG EAST first team for the second consecutive year, while senior Jeremy Barnes and sophomore Cole Johnson took home second team honors at the 2009 BIG EAST Tournament opening ceremonies from Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club Monday night.
Pollock (Hebron, Conn.) finished the regular season with a .356 batting average, 15 doubles, three triples, 10 home runs, 48 RBI and 19 stolen bases. Pollock leads the Irish in hitting, on base percentage (.441), runs (65), hits (77), doubles (tied) and stolen bases. He was one of three outfielders on the squad.
Pollock is the first Irish player to receive first team all-BIG EAST accolades in consecutive seasons since Steve Stanley in 2001 and 2002. He also has a rare combination of speed and power rarely seen at Notre Dame. Pollock ranks second on the team with 10 home runs and leads the Irish in stolen bases with 19. He is one of two players in the BIG EAST that has at least 10 home runs and 15 stolen bases.
Pollock is the 11th player in Notre Dame baseball history to ever eclipse 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases in a single season. He would become the first Irish player to ever go 10-20 in a season with his next stolen base.
Barnes (Garland, Texas) simply had one of the most productive seasons in Notre Dame history. The shortstop batted .355 with 12 home runs and 63 RBI over the regular season. Barnes led the Irish in doubles (15, tied), triples (five), home runs, RBI, slugging percentage (.645) and walks (31). He was the only player in the BIG EAST this season with 15 or more doubles, five or more triples and 12 or more home runs. Barnes was one of six to accomplish the feat across the country. He ranked fifth in the league in RBI and tied for third in triples. In conference games only, Barnes was sixth in home runs (eight), second in total bases (78), sixth in slugging (.675) and second in RBI (33).
Johnson (Hudson, Ohio) established himself as the one of the top starters in the BIG EAST. He finished the regular season with a 6-2 record and a 4.27 earned run average. Johnson struck out 57, walked 33 and allowed only 79 hits in 86.1 innings of work (opponents hit just .249 against him). He tossed at least 6.0 innings in 10 of his last 11 starts, including 6.0 scoreless innings of one-hit baseball against Oral Roberts on March 6 and back-to-back complete game victories over Pittsburgh on March 27 and Villanova on April 3. He could have become the first Irish pitcher to toss three straight CGs since Dan Kapala in 2005, but Notre Dame's game with Cincinnati on April 9 was tied 2-2 after nine innings.
Junior Brayden Ashdown (Tucson, Ariz.), Barnes, sophomore Mick Doyle (LaGrange Park, Ill.), Johnson, Todd Miller (Franklin, Tenn.), Pollock, sophomore Greg Sherry (Mendham, N.J.) and junior Eric Maust (Alpharetta, Ga.) were all named BIG EAST academic all-stars.
Notre Dame led all eight teams that reached the tournament with eight selections.
The fifth-seeded Irish open the 2009 BIG EAST Tournament tomorrow morning against fourth-seeded St. John's. First pitch is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. at Bright House Networks Field.