HARRISONBURG, Va., July 14, 2011 – With Jake Lowery already recognized as the best catcher in the nation by virtue of the Johnny Bench Award, CollegeBaseballInsider.com took things a step further on Thursday by naming him as the National Hitter of the Year.
With the honor, Lowery picked up his seventh All-America honor with teammate David Herbek selected as a Second Team All-American.
Lowery was one of four major award winners announced by the organization. South Carolina junior left-hander Michael Roth was selected 2011 National Player of the Year. UCLA junior right-hander Trevor Bauer was named Pitcher of the Year while Virginia junior Danny Hultzen was picked as Utility Player of the Year.
In addition to the First Team All-American honor by CBI, Lowery, who won the Johnny Bench Award in late June as the nation’s best catcher, has also been named a First Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America, Second Team by the ABCA, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Perfect Game along with a national all-star selection by College Baseball Lineup.
Herbek has been chosen as a First Team All-American by the NCBWA, Second Team by CBI and Collegiate Baseball in addition to an ABCA Third Team selection.Lowery and Herbek are the first teammates in JMU history to each be First Team All-Americans.
Both players have already moved on to professional careers. Lowery was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Cleveland Indians. He is currently playing for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in the New York-Penn League. Herbek was picked in the 15th round by the Chicago White Sox and is playing for the Great Falls Voyagers in the Pioneer League.
Lowery finished one of the most dominant offensive seasons in JMU history batting .359 with 22 doubles, eight triples, 24 home runs, 91 RBIs, 80 runs scored, 200 total bases and a .797 slugging percentage. He set or matched JMU and CAA records for RBIs, home runs, extra-base hits (54) and total bases in a season. He also finished fourth in CAA history with 80 runs and seventh for slugging percentage.
Lowery led the nation in runs (80), RBIs (91) and total bases (200). In fact, his 91 RBIs were the most by a college player since Florida State’s Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants catcher) had 93 in 2008. Lowery ranked second in slugging percentage (.797), fourth in on-base plus slugging (1.239), second in home runs (24) and fourth in triples (8). Not to be overlooked defensively, Lowery ranked second in the nation prior to regionals for runners caught stealing and threw out 43% of runners for the season while posting a .994 fielding percentage.
In addition to the Johnny Bench Award, Lowery was one of 30 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award and one of 36 on the watch list for the Dick Howser Trophy, both given to the nation's top player. Collegiate Baseball newspaper bestowed upon Lowery the fourth First Team All-America honor in JMU history. He was the CAA Player of the Year, First Team All-CAA, state Player of the Year by the Virginia Sports Information Directors and selected to the CAA All-Tournament and NCAA All-Regional Teams.
Herbek was named with Lowery to the 36-player watch list for the Dick Howser Trophy awarded to the nation's best player. He was also among 10 semifinalists for the Brooks Wallace Award for the nation's best shortstop. He became the fifth player in JMU history to collect First Team All-America accolades, combining with Lowery to form the first set of teammates to reach First Team.
In his senior season, Herbek led JMU with a .362 batting average. He posted 83 hits, including 20 doubles and 15 home runs. He scored 56 runs and drove in 76 while posting a .672 slugging percentage and .443 on-base percentage. His RBI total is second in JMU history behind only the 91 posted by Lowery this season and ranked sixth in the nation. He also ranks eighth on the JMU charts for season doubles, seventh for season total bases (154), fourth for hit by pitches (17), first for season sacrifice flies (10) and 10th for assists (158).
For his four-year career, Herbek started 191 games and hit .341 with a .589 slugging percentage and a .952 fielding percentage, all at shortstop. He holds the JMU career records for hit by pitches (55, also CAA record) and sacrifice flies (25). He also ranks seventh in career at bats (745), sixth in games played (210), 10th in hits (254), sixth in runs (189), fourth in RBIs (195), second in doubles (62), sixth in home runs (35), fourth in total bases (439) and sixth in assists (506).