Six Illini Earn All-Big Ten Honors
May 20, 2014
ROSEMONT, Ill. - Six Illinois baseball players earned All-Big Ten honors and two were named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team, announced the conference office Tuesday. Five Illini - catcher Jason Goldstein, shortstop Adam Walton, outfielder Will Krug, starting pitcher John Kravetz and relief pitcher Tyler Jay - were selected to the Second Team, while outfielder Casey Fletcher was on the Third Team. Walton also received recognition as an All-Big Ten Freshman honoree along with third baseman Ryne Roper, and Krug was chosen as the team's Sportsmanship Award winner.
Each Illinois player collected an All-Big Ten laurel for the first time in his career. The six selections equals the most recipients honored in a season under ninth-year head coach Dan Hartleb and ties the most since 2005.
Goldstein ranked second on the Illini with a .317 average while hitting four home runs and notching 26 RBI. The sophomore recorded the third-most caught stealing (22) in the Big Ten and managed Illinois' pitching staff that boasted the fourth-best ERA. He also had 16 multi-hit games and seven multi-RBI games. The Highland Park, Illinois, native made 44 starts at catcher and three at designated hitter during the season.
Walton, who was granted a medical redshirt after nearly missing all of last season with a broken finger, stepped up for Illinois in his first full season of action. The redshirt-freshman led the team with a .326 average following a torrid finish to the regular season and ranked second with 12 stolen bases. After beginning the season 0-for-20, he went on a career-high 18-game hitting streak from March 22 to April 22, marking the longest by an Illini this year. The Buffalo Grove, Illinois, native started the final 34 games at shortstop and tallied 20 runs, a home run and 19 RBI.
Krug took over in center field this season for last year's Big Ten Player of the Year Justin Parr. The junior started all 50 games at the position and shined on the diamond with the most steals (20) and hits (66) on the team, which ranked fourth and 11th in the Big Ten, respectively. He also led the Illini with 22 multi-hit games and 38 runs while hitting a career-best .311, good for third on the team. The Park Ridge, Illinois, native also hit his first career home run, totaled 24 RBI and posted a .993 fielding percentage.
Kravetz improved as the season progressed during his junior campaign. The Illini starter finished a team-best 6-1 with a 3.15 ERA, which game him a career record of 19-7 and placed him just outside of Illinois' all-time top-10 list. He was even better in Big Ten play, going 4-0 with a 2.68 ERA while pitching six or more innings in all seven starts. The Lansing, Illinois, native earned his first Big Ten Pitcher of the Week award following a 1-0 shutout at Northwestern. He made 12 starts (71.1 IP) with 36 strikeouts and 15 walks.
Jay proved to be one of the top relief pitchers in the Big Ten in his first year in the closer role. The sophomore ranked fourth in the Big Ten with nine saves, which is tied for the second-most saves in a single season in school history. He touted a 4-1 record with a 2.06 ERA while ranking second on the team in strikeouts (44) in just 39.1 innings pitched. The Lemont, Illinois, native did not allow a run in 16 of 22 appearances and limited opposing hitters to a .200 batting average.
Fletcher heated up over the final month of the season to help lead the Illini offense down the stretch. The Illini right fielder was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week and Big Ten Player of the Week after hitting .471 (8-for-17) with two walk-off winners, five home runs, 10 RBI and a 1.353 slugging percentage to lead Illinois to a perfect 4-0 record from April 30-May 4. For the season, he led the team with a .447 slugging percentage and six home runs, which was tied for fourth in the Big Ten. The Oakwood, Illinois, native hit .302 with 27 RBI overall.
Roper started all 24 Big Ten games at third base and hit .270 in conference play with 13 runs and nine RBI. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week (4/21) after leading the Illini with a .417 average (5-for-12) during the sweep of Penn State. The Harrisburg, Illinois, native had a season-long eight-game hitting streak and hit his first career home run at Nebraska. He made 47 starts and hit .246 on the year.
Up Next: Third-seeded Illinois will square off against No. 6 seed Michigan State in the opening game of the Big Ten Tournament at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska, on Wednesday, May 21 at 9 a.m.
ALL-BIG TEN FIRST TEAM
ALL-BIG TEN SECOND TEAM
ALL-BIG TEN THIRD TEAM
ALL-BIG TEN FRESHMAN TEAM
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
COACH OF THE YEAR
SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD HONOREES
Unanimous honorees in ALL CAPS