Bleday Big Winner

Junior highlights SEC award winners

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt’s JJ Bleday has been named SEC Player of the Year and Tim Corbin is the league’s Coach of the Year highlighting the conference’s end-of-year awards, announced Monday.

Bleday becomes the first outfielder and third Commodore to receive the top honor, joining second baseman Tony Kemp (2013) and third baseman Hunter Bledsoe (1999). The coach of the year honor is the third for Corbin, who received the accolade in 2007 and 2013.

Third baseman Austin Martin, who leads the conference in batting average (.432), runs (71) and on-base percentage (.514), was named first-team all-SEC. The sophomore was joined on the prestigious list by Bleday, catcher Philip Clarke and relief pitcher Tyler Brown.

Bleday paced the conference in slugging percentage (.748), home runs (25) and total bases (160). Clarke ranks fourth in the league in RBIs (59) while batting .316. Brown leads the SEC with 13 saves and has limited opponents to a .185 average in a team-high 23 appearances.

Right-hander Kumar Rocker was named to the league all-freshman team after posting a 7-5 record and 4.32 ERA. In his last six starts, all against league opponents, the Athens, Georgia, native went 5-1 with a 3.11 ERA and held opponents to a .226 average in 37.2 innings.

First baseman Julian Infante and Martin were recognized on the conference’s all-defensive team. Infante has not committed an error in 345 chances and has accounted for 328 putouts. Martin managed his transition to the hot corner, logging 118 putouts. The duo has helped Vanderbilt put together an SEC-best .982 fielding percentage, a mark that would set a school record.

Vanderbilt returns to action as the top seed at the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama, and will open double-elimination play Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. against the winner of No. 8-seed Auburn and No. 9-seed Tennessee. The contest can be seen on the SEC Network.

2019 SEC Baseball Awards

Player of the Year: JJ Bleday, Vanderbilt
Pitcher of the Year: Ethan Small, Mississippi State
Freshman of the Year: JT Ginn, Mississippi State
Coach of the Year: Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Garrett Stallings, Tennessee

First-Team All-SEC
C: Philip Clarke, Vanderbilt
1B: Tanner Allen, Mississippi State
2B: Justin Foscue, Mississippi State
3B: Austin Martin, Vanderbilt
SS: Grae Kessinger, Ole Miss
OF: JJ Bleday, Vanderbilt
OF: Jake Mangum, Mississippi State
OF: Alerick Soularie, Tennessee
DH/UT: Nelson Maldonado, Florida
SP: Ethan Small, Mississippi State
SP: Emerson Hancock, Georgia
RP: Tyler Brown, Vanderbilt

Second-Team All-SEC Team
C: Cooper Johnson, Ole Miss
1B: Trevor Ezell, Arkansas
2B: LJ Talley, Georgia
3B: Aaron Schunk, Georgia
SS: Casey Martin, Arkansas
OF: Dominic Fletcher, Arkansas
OF: Heston Kjerstad, Arkansas
OF: Antoine Duplantis, LSU
DH/UT: Matt Goodheart, Arkansas
SP: TJ Sikkema, Missouri
SP: Zack Thompson, Kentucky
RP: Matt Cronin, Arkansas

Freshman All-SEC Team
JT Ginn, SP, Mississippi State
Kumar Rocker, SP, Vanderbilt
Doug Nikhazy, SP, Ole Miss
Cole Henry, SP, LSU
Cole Wilcox, SP, Georgia
Patrick Wicklander, SP, Arkansas
Connor Noland, SP, Arkansas
Ryan Bliss, 2B, Auburn
Christian Franklin, OF, Arkansas
Joseph Menefee, RP, Texas A&M
Kendrick Calilao, 1B, Florida
Brett Kerry, RP, South Carolina

SEC All-Defensive Team
C: Cooper Johnson, Ole Miss
1B: Trevor Ezell, Arkansas*
1B: Julian Infante, Vanderbilt*
2B: LJ Talley, Georgia
3B: Austin Martin, Vanderbilt
SS: Cam Shepherd, Georgia
OF: Dominic Fletcher, Arkansas
OF: Jake Mangum, Mississippi State
OF: Zach Watson, LSU
P: Garrett Stallings, Tennessee

*Tie (Ties are not broken)