Jan. 28, 2005
HOUSTON - Former outfielder Goefrey Tomlinson highlighted the 16-man squad as the Rayner Noble All-Decade Team was unveiled Saturday night at the University of Houston Baseball preseason banquet.
As UH head coach Rayner Noble begins his 11th season at the helm of Cougar Baseball in 2005, the program wanted to look back and celebrate some of the greatest players during his first decade.
More than 2,700 ballots were received from Cougar fans who voted for the All-Decade Team since the contest began in mid-November.
Tomlinson lettered at UH from 1995-97 and was a member of the Cougars' first C-USA championship squad. His .427 batting average as a senior in 1997 ranks as the second-highest in UH single-season history and was the last .400 average by any Cougar hitter. With an average like that, it was little wonder that Tomlinson was named a National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association First-Team All-American.
The 2000 Cougar Baseball team was recognized as the Most Outstanding Team in the last 10 years. That group set a school record with 48 wins, topping the previous mark by four victories.
After winning both the Conference USA regular-season and tournament championships, the 2000 Cougar team rolled into the NCAA postseason and advanced to the championship game of the 2000 NCAA Super Regional at Cougar Field before eventually falling.
As impressive as the athletic accomplishments of the members of the All-Decade Team were, the academic achievements were equally honorable. The Team features six players who were named to the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll 10 times. Designated hitter Jarrod Bitter was a three-time member of the Honor Roll, while starting pitcher Brad Sullivan and utility player Kevin Roberts earned their place on the Honor Roll twice.
Chris Snyder (2000-02) was named the All-Decade Team's catcher after a stellar collegiate career. During his career, Snyder helped lead the Cougars to a pair of NCAA Super Regionals. As a junior, he set a UH single-season record with 71 RBIs on the way to being named a Baseball America Second-Team All-American.
In addition to his outstanding collegiate resume, Snyder compiled an impressive record on the international level as a member of Team USA in 2001.
J.P. Woodward (1999-00) was named to the All-Decade Team after appearing on more than 72 percent of the ballots, the third-highest total in the overall voting. Woodward was a two-year letterwinner at UH and member of two NCAA Regional teams. As a junior, he blasted 18 home runs - the second most in UH single-season history - and was named a Third-Team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
In only two years at UH, he blasted 30 home runs to rank second in Cougar career history.
Ryan Ware was named to the All-Decade Team as the second baseman. As a letterman from 1996-97, Ware was a member of the Cougars' first-ever Conference USA Tournament championship team.
Dustin Carr was named as the third baseman on the All-Decade team. A four-year letterwinner, he capped his collegiate career with a senior season that remains impressive today. With 80 runs scored, 108 hits, 32 doubles and four hitting streaks of at least 10 games in 1997 alone, Carr set school single-season records that remain standing as we enter the 2005 season.
Following the 1997 season, Carr was named a Collegiate Baseball Third-Team All-American and to the All-Conference USA First Team.
Melebeck rounded out the infield with his selection at shortstop. A two-year letterwinner, he was a slick fielder for the Cougars and set a school record with 215 assists in 2000. That season, he helped lead the Cougars to the championship game of the NCAA Regional at Cougar Field and was named to the All-Tournament Team at that event.
Always known for his steady play with the glove, Melebeck ranks as the Cougars' all-time leader in batting average during NCAA Regional play with a .459 mark.
Tomlinson, Michael Bourn and Brandon Caraway earned their way into the All-Decade Team's outfield. Bourn lettered at UH from 2001-03 and was a member of two NCAA Super Regional teams. One of the fastest players in school history, Bourn swiped 35 stolen bases in 2001 as a true freshman and finished his career with 90 stolen bases, both of which are second most in UH history.
Always a clutch player, Bourn was named to two NCAA Regional All-Tournament Teams at Mesa in 2002 and at College Station in 2003.
Caraway lettered at UH from 1997-00 and ended his career as the UH record holder in multiple offensive categories, including hits, doubles, total bases and stolen bases. In 1999, he was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association All-America Third Team as well as the 1999 All-Conference USA First Team and 1999 NCAA Regional at Cougar Field All-Tournament Team.
While the Cougars have enjoyed tremendous success in C-USA Tournament history, Caraway set himself apart from all UH players by being the only Cougar named to three C-USA All-Tournament Teams.
Jarrod Bitter was named to the All-Decade Team as the designated hitter. A three-year letterwinner, Bitter was a member of two NCAA Regional teams and capped his career as a 2000 NCBWA Second-Team All-American.
By the time that his career was finished, Bitter ranked as the Cougars' fifth-leading hitter with a .368 batting average and 150 RBIs.
Righthanders Brad Sullivan and Kyle Crowell teamed with southpaw Shane Nance on the starting rotation for the All-Decade Team.
Nance led all players on the All-Decade Team by being named on more than 87 percent of the ballots. A four-year letterwinner, Nance started his career as a 1997 Collegiate Baseball Freshmen First-Team All-American and finished as the 2000 NCAA Regional at Houston Most Outstanding Player.
In between that time, he set UH career records with 32 wins and 411.1 innings pitched and ranked second in school history with 388 strikeouts.
While other Cougars enjoyed success on the international level, Nance set himself apart by being a two-time member of Team USA.
Sullivan enjoyed one of the finest seasons in college baseball history as a sophomore in 2002. The Nederland, Texas, native was a consensus First-Team All-American and Conference USA Pitcher of the Year winner after tying a UH single-season record with 13 wins and setting another mark with 157 strikeouts.
Sullivan's list of accomplishments go on and on. He began as a 2001 Baseball Weekly Freshmen First-Team All-American and ended his career as a two-time member of the American Baseball Coaches Association All-South Central Region Team, five-time C-USA Pitcher of the Week and three-time Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week.
His 30.2 consecutive scoreless innings - with most of those coming in the 2002 postseason - ranked third in UH history and he finished as both the C-USA and UH career leader with 410 strikeouts.
He ranked second on the All-Decade Team, being named on nearly 79 percent of the ballots.
Crowell is the final member of the Cougar starting pitching staff on the All-Decade Team. Lettering at UH from 1998-00, Crowell capped his junior season by being named an NCBWA Second-Team All-American. That same season, he was named the C-USA Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive season, making him the only Cougar hurler to accomplish that feat.
Crowell was a five-time C-USA Pitcher of the Week honoree and tied a UH single-season record with 13 wins in 2000. His 36.2 consecutive scoreless innings in 1999 set a new school record that continues to stand today.
Wagner was a letterwinner at UH from 2002-03 and was a member of two NCAA Regional Teams. As a sophomore in 2003, he set a school record with 15 saves and broke a 39-year-old NCAA Division I record with 16.8 strikeouts per nine innings.
As a result, it was little wonder that Wagner was named a First-Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, Sports Weekly, the American Baseball Coaches Association and Baseball America in 2003.
Crain was at UH for only one season in 2002, but he made an immediate and lasting impact on the Cougars that season. He was a member of the Cougars' NCAA Super Regional Team that season and became the first player in UH and Conference USA history to be named to the All-Conference USA First Team at two different positions and only the second player to be named Hitter and Pitcher of the Week in the same season.
On the mound, he set a then-UH single-season record with 10 saves and tossed 35.2 consecutive scoreless innings, the second longest by any Cougar hurler.
Dieudonne was a last-minute addition to the All-Decade Team after a surge in fan voting lifted him over the top on the last day. A three-year letterwinner from 1997-00, Dieudonne was a member of three NCAA Regional teams and threw in 30 games in 1997, tying for the fifth most in UH single-season history.
By the time that his career had finished, he had thrown in 78 games, the fifth most in UH history.
Current Cougar Baseball player Kevin Roberts was named to the All-Decade Team as a utility player. In 2004, Roberts broke into the Cougar starting lineup early in the season and made it impossible for coaches to take him out. By the time that the season ended, the Pearland, Texas, native led all Cougar hitters with a .374 batting average and ranked among the team leaders with six home runs and 31 RBIs.
Originally slated as the team's closer, Roberts moved into the starting rotation when injuries decimated the Cougar pitching staff in 2004. His five wins and 67 strikeouts ranked second among all UH hurlers a year ago. He was one of only two Cougars named to a postseason team in 2004 after being placed on the C-USA All-Tournament Team.
Each of the players on the team received a certificate honoring his place on the team.
After a committee of coaches, staff members and media members chose nominees at each position, the final placing for the All-Decade Team was put into the hands of the fans. Voting for the team began in mid-November and continued through Jan. 21.
Rayner Noble ALL-DECADE TEAM
as voted on by fans
Catcher: Chris Snyder
First Baseman: J.P. Woodward
Second Baseman: Ryan Ware
Third Baseman: Dustin Carr
Shortstop: Aaron Melebeck
Outfield: Michael Bourn
Outfield: Goefrey Tomlinson
Outfield: Brandon Caraway
Designated Hitter: Jarrod Bitter
Starting Pitcher: Shane Nance
Starting Pitcher: Brad Sullivan
Starting Pitcher: Kyle Crowell
Relief Pitcher: Ryan Wagner
Relief Pitcher: Jesse Crain
Relief Pitcher: Robert Dieudonne
Utility: Kevin Roberts
Most Outstanding Player: Goefrey Tomlinson
Most Outstanding Team: 2000