Clarksville, Ark.--Seven U of O baseball players earned American Southwest Conference honors and head coach Jimmy Clark was named the ASC East Division Coach of the Year, announced by the league office on Wednesday.
Junior Anthony Brandon, senior Chris Harrell and junior Jedd Kirby were named to the ASC All-East Division Second team while junior Brett Hays, senior Caleb Hilton, sophomore Kyle Hudson and freshman Todd Koch each earned ASC All-East Division honorable mention. Brandon, a designated hitter/third baseman from Rogers, finished second on the team in batting (.404), RBI (37), total bases (85) and tied for second in on-base percentage (.455). Brandon also tied for the team-lead in hits (59) and tied for second in home runs (6). His 59 hits is a new single-season record at Ozarks. Brandon, who earned ASC All-East Division honorable mention honors a year ago, led the team with six three-hit games and 19 multiple-hit games during the season. His best performance of the year came against Brescia College on February 11 when he went 4-for-4 with six RBI and a home run. Harrell, a catcher from Plaquemine, Louisiana, threw out 50% (14-28) of opposing runners this season while batting .331 and stealing eight bases, third-best on the team. Harrell, who had ten multiple-hit games, ends his career with the school record in most games played (141). Harrell’s best performance of the season came against Mid-America College on February 5 when he went 3-for-3 with five RBI. Kirby, a left-handed pitcher from Heavener, Oklahoma, led the conference in innings pitched (83.2), tied for second in wins (8) and finished fourth in ERA (2.90). Kirby, who went 8-3 on the mound with 44 strikeouts, started in 12 games and recorded one shutout. Kirby led the team in all the aforementioned pitching categories and set the new single-season school record in wins and ERA. Kirby’s best pitching performance of the season came against UT-Tyler on April 8 when he shutout the visitors 1-0 and recorded seven strikeouts. Hays, a first baseman from Little Rock, led the team in stolen bases (13), tied for the team-lead in hits (59), finished second in runs (35), third in batting (.383), and started in all 40 games for the Eagles. Hays owns the school single-season hit record along with Brandon. Hays had a team-best three games in which he collected four hits and ended the season with 17 multiple-hit games. Hays, who had a 12-game hit streak during the season, had his best game against Hardin-Simmons on March 5 when he went 4-for-5 with three RBI and a homer. Hilton, an outfielder/catcher from Clarksville, tied for fifth in the conference in home runs (11) while finishing sixth in runs (48) and total bases (104). Hilton led the team and set new single-season school records in home runs, runs, total bases, RBI (39), triples (3) and at-bats (165). Hilton, who was an ASC All-East Division Second team pick a year ago, also now owns the school career home run record (14). He ranked second on the team in stolen bases (12) and hits (57) and had 17 multiple-hit games. He hit for the cycle and had six RBI against Central Baptist College on March 1. Hudson, a right-handed pitcher from Clarksville, finished second on the team in ERA (2.93) while picking up a team-best two saves. Hudson, who went 0-2 on the mound, had 19 strikeouts in 30.2 innings of work. Hudson earned one of his saves against UT-Dallas on April 1 when he pitched two scoreless innings and did not allow a hit. Koch, a utility player from San Antonio, Texas, finished seventh in the conference in batting (.418) and third in on-base percentage (.523). Koch led the team in both batting and on-base percentage as well as ranking second on the team in slugging percentage (.623) and third in hits (51), RBI (35) and total bases (76) and tied for second in home runs (6). Koch led the team with 12 multiple-RBI games and had 17 multiple-hit games during the season. Koch owned a team-best 13-game hit streak during the year. Koch’s best performance of the season came against East Texas Baptist on March 25 when he went 3-for-5 with four RBI and two home runs. Ozarks ranked 25th in NCAA III in team batting average (.338). Clark was tabbed as ASC East Division Coach of the Year after running a 22-18 overall record and a 8-13 conference mark for the season. Under Clark, the Eagles recorded the most wins since 1996 while also leading the team to their first winning season in nine years. Clark’s 2005 club set numerous school hitting and pitching records.