Machbitz leads baseball award winners
Senior first baseman Aaron Machbitz earned three honors, including Most Valuable Player, to highlight the South Dakota State baseball team’s 2014 award winners.
Machbitz, a first-team all-Summit League selection from Dallas, Texas, paced the Jackrabbits in nearly every major offensive category during his senior season in 2014, leading the squad in all three triple crown categories with a .318 batting average, seven home runs and 34 runs batted in. In addition, Machbitz was the recipient of the team’s Big Stick Award and Captains Award after also leading the team with 69 hits, 13 doubles and a .475 slugging percentage while seeing action in all 57 games.
Junior pitchers Adam Bray and Chad Hodges shared Most Outstanding Pitcher honors. A native of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Bray posted a 5-7 record with a 2.80 earned run average en route to earning first-team all-Summit League recognition. He recorded a league-best 95 strikeouts in 103 innings pitched.
Hodges, a native of Medicine Hat, Alberta, led the team in wins, turning in an 8-5 record with a 3.00 ERA. The right-hander was named Summit League Pitcher of the Week four different times during the 2014 season and was a second-team all-league selection.
Bray, Scott Splett and J.D. Moore also were Captains Award honorees. Splett, a senior outfielder from Apple Valley, Minnesota, received the Mr. Hustle Award after a season in which he hit .305 and ranked second on the team with eight stolen bases.
Moore, a junior from Mississauga, Ontario, earned the Fireman Award for the third consecutive season. He compiled a 4-3 record with a team-high eight saves as he became the Jackrabbits’ all-time saves leader with 26. Moore struck out 27 batters in 29 1/3 innings.
Left-handed pitcher Chris Anderson was named Newcomer of the Year, while Matt Johnson was honored as Freshman of the Year. An Aurora, Illinois, native, Anderson held the second spot in the Jackrabbit rotation for much of the season after transferring from the junior college ranks, finishing with a 1-4 record and 2.48 ERA in 14 starts.
Johnson, the Summit League Newcomer of the Year, batted .284 with one home run and 23 RBI as the Ankeny, Iowa, product saw action primarily as the designated hitter.
Rounding out the team awards were Gold Glove recipient Zach Coppola and Coaches Award honoree Zach Holt. Coppola, a sophomore from Windsor Heights, Iowa, patrolled center field for much of the 2014 season and committed only one error in 145 total chances. He led the Jackrabbits with five outfield assists and also paced the team with 14 stolen bases.
Holt, a sophomore from Bloomington, Illinois, moved into the starting lineup at second base late in the season, and finished the year with a .264 batting average and eight RBI.
South Dakota State, coached by Dave Schrage, finished the 2014 season with a 28-29 overall record. The Jackrabbits earned the top seed in the Summit League Baseball Championship for the second year in a row and will again host the 2015 league tournament.