May 17, 2007

Thomas and Dietz Named Ivy League Player and Pitcher of the Year as Six Bears Named All-Ivy

May 17, 2007

Providence, RI - Brown senior catcher Devin Thomas (Gainesville, FL) and junior pitcher/first baseman Jeff Dietz (Altamonte Springs, FL), were named the Ivy League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, on Thursday, leading the way for the Bears as the Ivy League announced its 2007 All-Ivy baseball teams. The Bears, fresh off their first-ever Ivy League Championship, earned a League-high seven All-Ivy selections.

Thomas, whose selection as Player of the Year by the League's eight head coaches was unanimous, and Dietz both earned First Team All-Ivy honors at catcher and pitcher, respectively. Joining them were senior second baseman Bryan Tews (Park Ridge, IL), junior outfielder Ryan Murphy (Mantoloking, NJ), and sophomore shortstop Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA). Dietz also earned Second Team honors as a first baseman, as did junior relief pitcher Rob Hallberg (River Edge, NJ).

Thomas, one of the team's tri-captains, had one of the best seasons at the plate in Ivy League history. Brown's second Ivy Player of the Year (Matt Kutler - 2005), Thomas broke Brown's single-season records with 15 home runs and 61 runs batted in. With the Bears playing at least two more games at the NCAA Regionals and adding as many as four tune-up games, he also has a great chance to break Brown's single-season records for runs, needing three more, and hits, needing 10 more. He also has made his mark on many of Brown's all-time top 10 lists, appearing in the top 10 for games, at-bats, hits, runs, doubles, triples, home runs, RBIs, extra-base hits, total bases and slugging percentage.

Thomas currently ranks first in the country with an average of 1.45 RBI-per-game, 12th in home runs-per-game (0.39), 13th in slugging percentage (.764), and 22nd in total home runs (15). In League play, Thomas led the Ivies with seven home runs, 24 runs scored, 28 RBIs, 67 total bases, and a .859 slugging percentage. He was also second in hits (33) and triples (3), and sixth in doubles (7), batting average (.423), and on base percentage (.483). Because of his reputation defensively, Ivy teams attempted a League-low 17 steals against the Bears. Thomas was an All-Ivy honoree all four years at Brown, earning First Team and Honorable Mention at catcher in 2006 and 2005, and earning Second Team as a utility player in 2004.

Dietz is Brown's second Ivy League Pitcher of the Year, joining Jonathan Stern '02, who won the award his senior season. He led the Ivy League in wins both in Ivy play (5-1) and overall (7-3), and threw complete-game shutouts in Brown's Red Rolfe Division-clinching win against Yale and in the first game of the Ivy League Championship Series against Penn. He also drove in the lone run in the latter game on a sacrifice fly. Dietz tied for first in Ivy play with five complete games, was second with 42 strikeouts, and was fourth with 41.0 innings pitched and a .222 opponent batting average. As a junior, he is already tied for fifth all-time at Brown with 15 career wins, and he appears on top 10 lists for career shutouts, 10-plus-strikeout games, strikeouts-per-nine-innings and fewest walks-per-nine-innings. He will also likely break into the top 10 for strikeouts in his next start.

At the plate, Dietz was a doubles-machine, finishing tied for first during Ivy play with nine. He also was third in the League with 22 runs batted in, and his 49 RBIs on the season would have broken Brown's single-season record if Thomas had not beaten him to the punch. Nationally, he ranks 29th in the country with 1.2 RBIs-per-game. Dietz's abilities as a double-threat on the mound and at the plate were well-known throughout the league, as he had earned First Team honors as a utility player last season and Second Team honors as a pitcher in 2005.

Tews, a team tri-captains, was named First Team All-Ivy at second base for the second consecutive year after being named Second Team as a utility player as a sophomore in 2005. Last year's Ivy League leader in overall batting average, Tews hit .311 with six home runs, 28 RBIs, and 33 runs scored. In Ivy play, he tied for third in the League with two triples, tied for fourth with six stolen bases, and was 10th with a .549 slugging percentage.

Murphy led the Bears with a .393 batting average during a career year, setting personal bests in every offensive category. His overall average was fifth in the League, while his .423 average in Ivy play was good for seventh. Also in Ivy play, Murphy finished fourth in on base percentage (.494), fifth in runs scored (20), and eighth in hits (27).

With a team-high 19-game hitting streak to end the season, Nuzzo led Brown with a .429 batting average in Ivy play, good for fourth in the League. The sophomore's early-season switch from third base to shortstop helped stabilize the Bears' infield defense, as the team averaged 4.3 errors-per-game before and just 1.2 per-game after the change. At the plate, Nuzzo finished tied for second during Ivy play in hits (33), tied for third in triples (2), was fourth in total bases (47), tied for sixth in doubles (7), was eighth in slugging percentage (.610) and was 10th in on base percentage (.446). Even more impressive was his improvement from his freshman season without the benefit of fall baseball, as he is also a quarterback for Brown's football team.

Hallberg, the team's closer, tied for the Ivy League lead with three saves. His season average of 13.5 strikeouts-per-nine-innings easily led the Bears, while his 19 overall appearances and 10 in Ivy play were both League highs. Hallberg is already third all-time at Brown with 50 appearances and is fourth with seven career saves. If his career average of 11.80 strikeouts-per-nine-innings holds, he will be first all-time at Brown by nearly three strikeouts.

The Bears will play at the NCAA Regionals from June 1-4, and they will likely play four "tune-up" contests before then. A doubleheader at the New York Institute of Technology has been scheduled for Saturday, May 19, at 1 p.m., while a doubleheader with Patriot League Champion Lafayette is being finalized, pending a suitable neutral site being secured.

2007 All-Ivy Teams

*= unanimous selection

Player of the Year: Devin Thomas, Brown*
Pitcher of the Year: Jeff Dietz, Brown
Rookie of the Year: Todd Roth, Penn

First Team
P - Jeff Dietz, Brown, (Jr., Altamonte Springs, Fla.)
P - Todd Roth, Penn, (Fr., Lanoka Harbor, N.J.)
RP - Blake Hamilton, Cornell, (Sr., San Antonio, Texas)
C - *Devin Thomas, Brown, (Sr., Gainesville, Fla.)
1B - Marc Sawyer, Yale, (Sr., Largo, Fla.)
2B - Bryan Tews, Brown, (Sr., Park Ridge, Ill.)
3B - Sal Iacono, Princeton, (Sr., Staten Island, N.Y.)
SS - Matt Nuzzo, Brown, (So., Everett, Mass.)
OF - Ryan Murphy, Brown, (Jr., Mantoloking, N.J.)
OF - Nick Santomauro, Dartmouth, (Fr., North Caldwell, N.J.)
OF - *Matt Vance, Harvard (Jr., Solana Beach, Calif.)
UT - *Ryan Lavarnway, Yale, (So., Woodland Hills, Calif.)
DH - *Justin Milo, Cornell, (Fr., Eden Prairie, Minn.)

Second Team
P - John Baumann, Columbia, (Jr., Westport, Conn.)
P - Max Perlman, Harvard, (Fr., Longwood, Fla.)
RP - Rob Hallberg, Brown, (Jr., River Edge, N.J.)
C - Andrew Casey Harvard, (Sr., Virginia Beach, Va,)
1B - Jeff Dietz, Brown, (Jr., Altamonte Springs, Fla.)
2B - Jimmy Heinz, Cornell, (Jr,, Winnetka, Ill.)
3B - Nathan Ford, Cornell, (So., Palo Alto, Calif.)
SS - Scott Hardinger, Cornell, (So., Lynden, Wash.); Dan DeGeorge, Princeton, (So., Flemington, N.J.)
OF - Damon Wright, Dartmouth, (Jr., Dallas, Texas)
OF - Joey Boaen, Penn, (Sr., Savannah, Ga.)
OF - Jarron Smith, Penn, (Jr., Carrollton, Texas)
DH - Adrian Turnham, Princeton, (So., Houston, Texas)

Honorable Mention
SP - Jim Birmingham, Penn, (Fr,, Pine Hill, N.J.)
RP - Clay Bartlett, Columbia, (Fr., Washington, D.C.); Kyle Zeis, Dartmouth, (Jr., Solana Beach, Calif.)
C - Jack Murphy, Princeton, (Fr., Lakeland, Fla.)
1B - Ron Williams, Columbia, (So., Fairfield, Conn.); Kyle Armeny, Penn, (Jr., Florham Park, N.J.)
2B - Brendan Byrne, Harvard, (Sr., Milton, Mass.); Aaron Prince, Princeton, (Sr., Cincinnati, Ohio)
3B - Steffan Wilson, Harvard, (Jr., State College, Pa.)
SS - Jeff Stoeckel, Harvard, (Jr., Vero Beach, Fla.)
OF -Andrew Ward, Columbia, (Sr., Limington, Maine); Domenic DiRicco, Cornell, (So., Portola Valley, Calif.); Tom Stack-Babich, Harvard, (Jr., Scituate, Mass.); Spencer Lucian, Princeton, (Jr., Portola Valley, Calif.); Josh Cox, Yale, (Jr., Gainesville. Fla.)