DES MOINES – Iowa Wesleyan College senior second baseman Frany Cruz (Toa Baja, Puerto Rico) has been named the 2009 Midwest Collegiate Conference Baseball Player of the Year, headlining a group of four Tigers receiving First Team All-MCC recognition Monday.
Cruz (at left) joined Hector Acevedo (Sr.-Guaynabo, Puerto Rico), Edder Morales (Jr.-Barquisimeto, Venezuela) and Jared Zueck (Jr.-Williamsville, Ill.) as Tigers all receiving first team all-conference honors this season. In addition to those four, senior Devin Smith (Lynwood, Ill.) and junior Jorge Martinez (Tucson, Ariz.) also received honorable mention all-conference recognition for the season.
Cruz is the first IWC player ever to receive the MCC’s top honor in the program’s 14 years in the conference. He is the first Wesleyan player to receive conference MVP honors since Todd Huckabone was co-MVP of the American Midwest Conference in 1995.
The senior second baseman finished the year batting .384 after spending much of the season hovering around or above the .400 mark. Cruz also had a league-leading 71 hits as well as 37 runs scored, 12 doubles, seven home runs and 44 RBIs. He led the Tigers in hits, doubles and RBIs, and also added 11 stolen bases while handling second base with a .953 fielding percentage.
Cruz received first team all-conference honors for the second straight year. Perhaps most impressive of all, he received the honor again while playing a different position this year. Cruz played in the outfield for the Tigers last year, but moved to the infield and played at second base for all but three games this season.
Acevedo also received conference postseason honors for the second straight year, this year being named to the first team after receiving honorable mention last year. Acevedo became one of the dominant pitchers in the MCC this season, finishing with a 9-2 record and a 3.48 earned run average. He tied for the conference lead in strikeouts with 84 in 77 2/3 innings pitched and allowed 74 hits and 41 runs (30 earned) while pitching four complete games. He also displayed superb control, walking only 17 batters on the season.
Morales received all-conference honors in his first year after transferring from Cochise College in Douglas, Ariz. The junior stepped right into the shortstop position and started all 51 games for the Tigers at that spot while batting .322 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs as well as 10 doubles and 36 runs scored. He led the team in home runs and finished second in the MCC in that category, and his 98 total bases was fourth in the conference. Morales is the third straight IWC shortstop to receive all-conference recognition, joining Andre Alvarado in 2007 and Jose Nunez in 2008.
Zueck also received first team recognition in his first year after transferring in from Springfield College in Illinois. He batted .328 with a team-leading 41 runs scored as well as seven homers and 24 RBIs. He finished third in the conference in runs scored and also led the MCC in times being hit by pitch with 16 while placing fifth in the league in on base percentage at .484. Zueck took over the leadoff spot in the IWC batting order late in the season and batted .349 in the last 17 games with a .453 on base percentage.
Smith was named honorable mention all-conference for the second straight season after this year leading the league in stolen bases with 29. He also batted. 321 with four home runs and 26 RBIs while scoring 37 runs. His 24 walks also led the team and his .441 on base percentage ranked second on the squad.
Martinez also received honorable mention recognition in his first season at IWC as a transfer from Cochise College in Arizona. The lefty thrower was off to a dominant start to the season before being rested for a month due to shoulder fatigue. Martinez came back late in the year and finished with a 5-0 record and a 2.81 ERA that was best on the Tiger team. He threw 51 1/3 innings, including four complete games, and allowed 21 runs (16 earned) while striking out 48.
The Tigers finished the season with a 29-22 record and were the runners up in the MCC Tournament, losing to William Penn University on the final day of the tourney. The four first team all-conference performers ties the 2007 IWC team for most first team selections since joining the MCC. The Tigers also have now had ten first team All-MCC honorees in Head Coach Brett Monaghan’s three years at Wesleyan.
For more information regarding the IWC baseball program or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; email@example.com e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
MCC All-Conference Team