Wednesday, May 21, 2014
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DeJong Named First-Team All-MVC; 8 Redbirds Earn Honors

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[May 21, 2014]  ST. LOUIS – Redbird redshirt sophomore Paul DeJong has been named to the All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team, as announced by Valley officials Monday. Voting was conducted by the eight Missouri Valley Conference head baseball coaches. Pitchers Dan Savas and David Suarez were named to the Second Team and Dennis Colon, Dylan Craig, Daniel Dwyer, Mike Hollenbeck and Jeremy Rhoades earned All-MVC Honorable Mention accolades.

“Any time you get noticed in a league this strong it is a great honor,” head coach Mark Kingston said. “Our players have worked hard and I am happy to see them rewarded with this recognition.

DeJong led Illinois State in most offensive categories this spring, including batting average (.360), on-base percentage (.443), slugging percentage (.605), hits (72), home runs (8), doubles (19), triples (3), total bases (121) and runs batted in (45). He finished second in the Valley in batting average, hits, total bases and slugging percentage. DeJong appeared in 50 games for Illinois State and spent time defensively at second base, third base, catcher and shortstop.

Savas went 7-4 with a 2.01 ERA as Illinois State’s Friday starter. He struck out 82 batters in 89.1 innings pitched and powered four complete-games. He finished third in the Missouri Valley Conference in innings pitched and earlier this season carried a streak of 17-consecutive decisions without a defeat dating back to last season.

Suarez emerged as Illinois State’s closer and made 19 relief appearances. He finished 3-2 with a 2.05 ERA and tallied three saves. The Peru, Ill., native struck out 34 batters in 30.2 innings of work.

Colon is a first-year member of the Redbird baseball program, but locked down the starting shortstop position. In 50 starts, he batted .254/.349/.316 with five doubles, three triples and 26 RBI.

Craig made 13 starts for Illinois State and went 5-2 with a 2.34 ERA. The southpaw led Illinois State with 87 strikeouts in 84.2 innings and limited opponents to a .225 batting average-against. He finished second in the Valley in total strikeouts, but led the conference in batters struck out looking (40).

Dwyer shined in his true-sophomore season and appeared in all 51 games for Illinois State this spring, making 50 starts. He posted a slash-line of .315/.409/.360 with seven doubles, one triple and 32 RBI. Dwyer finished second on Illinois State in stolen bases, going 8-for-12, and played error-free defense in left field. He drew more walks (29) than strikeouts and finished third on the team with 62 hits.

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Hollenbeck is a four-year Redbird starter who has appeared in 200 career games at Illinois State. The senior catcher batted .352/.428/.462 with one home run, 17 doubles and 39 RBI. Hollenbeck finished fourth overall in the Valley in batting average and was tied for third in doubles.

Rhoades opened the season as Illinois State’s closer, but moved to the pitching rotation in March. He made 16 total appearances, including eight starts, going 6-4 with three saves and a 2.57 ERA. Rhoades struck out 84 batters in 70.0 innings.

#5 Illinois State opens the Missouri Valley Conference Championship Tuesday morning versus #4 Wichita State. First pitch is set for 9:00 am EST from Bob Warn Field.

[Text received; RONAN O'SHEA, ILLINOIS STATE UNIVERSITY] Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.

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