IRVING, Texas - Houston Baseball garnered two of the most prized All-Conference honors as junior Frankie Ratcliff was tabbed C-USA Newcomer of the Year and freshman Justin Montemayor was honored as Freshman of the Year. The Cougars had four named to Second Team All-Conference and four on the All-Freshman team, announced Tuesday by the league office.
Under third-year head coach Todd Whitting, Houston Baseball holds the second largest turnaround in college baseball with a 17-game win difference from 2012 as the Cougars enter the C-USA Championship this week with a regular season record of 35-20.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR Ratcliff's C-USA Newcomer of the Year accolade was just the second in program history and first since outfielder Jimmy Cesario was honored back in 2007. Ratcliff started all 55 games at shortstop for the Cougars after transferring in from Pensacola JC this season.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR Montemayor was just the second Houston freshman named C-USA Freshman of the Year in program history, the only other one coming in 1998 as LHP Shane Nance was honored. Montemayor was one of just three players to start all 55 games as the true freshman at first base for Houston this season.
2013 marked the first time in school history that the Cougars swept both the Freshman of the Year and Newcomer of the Year awards.
ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM Justin Montemayor (1B), Josh Vidales (2B), Kyle Survance (OF), Jake Lemoine (RHP) Playing integral roles in their freshman seasons, Survance, Montemayor, second baseman Josh Vidales and right-handed pitcher Jake Lemoine were recognized on the 11-man All-Freshman team. 2013 marks the eighth straight year Houston has a representative on this squad, but the four are the most since 2001 where five were named.
#7 Frankie Ratcliff - Newcomer of the Year / Second Team Junior | SS | Key West, Fla. (Pensacola JC) Has started all 55 games at shortstop... Leads the nation and C-USA with eight triples, while tying the Houston single-season record... His triples total is the most in C-USA history since Charlotte's Corey Lane had 11 back in 2005... Is hitting .353 in C-USA play and slugging .588 with seven doubles, five triples and one homerun... Ranks second in the league with 43 RBI and fourth in walks with 37... Is 11-for-12 in stolen bases... Leads Houston with 13 doubles to rank 10th in the league... Enters postseason play having reached base in 11 straight games, while riding a seven-game hit streak... Has tallied 15 multi-hit games and 10 multi-RBI games this season... Named to the All-Silver Glove Series vs. Rice... Honored on the Commissioner's Honor Roll
#20 Justin Montemayor - Freshman of the Year / Second Team / All-Freshman Team Freshman | 1B | Austin, Texas (Anderson HS) Has started all 55 games as a true freshman at first base... Leads Houston in average (.321) and runs (41)... Sits atop the league in average, runs, and hits... Ranks first in chances (537) and putouts (502)... Tied for team lead with three homeruns... Hit a homerun in his first ever collegiate at-bat vs. Northeastern... Has eight doubles and two triples... Is slugging .421 for second-best on the team... Hitting .337 in C-USA play... Slugging .442 vs. league opponents... Enters postseason play having reached base in 12 straight games... Leads Houston with 21 multi-hit games... Has seven multi-RBI games... Named C-USA Hitter of the Week (March 4)... C-USA Academic Medal Honoree... Named to C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll
#36 Austin Pruitt - Second Team All-Conference Senior | RHP | The Woodlands, Texas (Navarro JC) Leads Houston pitching in wins (9-5), starts (14), ERA (2.84), innings pitched (104.2), strikeouts (88), shutouts (2) and complete games (4)... Holding opposing hitters to a .239 clip... Has lasted at least 6.0 innings in all 14 starts... Recorded a career-high 13 strikeouts in win over East Carolina... Has three 10+ strikeout games this season... Threw just the ninth one-hitter in C-USA history in a complete-game, one-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts in win at Texas State... Named C-USA Pitcher of the Week (Feb. 25) for that effort... Named to the All-Silver Glove Series vs. Rice... Honored as Houston's Team MVP
#34 Kyle Survance - Second Team All-Conference / All-Freshman Team Freshman | OF | Jersey Village, Texas (Jersey Village HS) Leads Conference USA with 19 stolen bases... Is second-best on the team in average with a .312 overall clip and a .342 average against league opponents... Is currently riding a team-best 23 game on-base streak heading into postseason play... Has seen action in both right and left field and has appeared in 48 of the 55 games, making 40 starts as a true freshman... Slugging .363 with four doubles and two triples in the No. 2 spot in the lineup... Had a career-high four hits in win over UAB... Has 12 multi-hit games and six multi-RBI games this season... Currently has a seven-game hit streak on the line... Named to the All-Silver Glove Series vs. Rice... Honored on the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll
#8 Josh Vidales - All-Freshman Team Freshman | 2B | La Porte, Texas (La Porte HS) Has started all 55 games as a true freshman at second base... Hit leadoff in every game... Leads C-USA in walks with 46... Is just four walks shy of the Houston all-time freshman record set by Michael Bourn in 2001... Is second in the league with 15 stolen bases... Hitting .267... Ranked fourth in league with 40 runs scored... Holds a .404 on-base percentage... Has nine doubles and three triples... 46 walks to 32 strikeouts... Has committed just one error in league play for a .991 fielding percentage... Has 14 multi-hit games... Reached base safely in 22 straight games during the season... Broke a College Classic record with four walks in a win over Baylor... Became the fifth Cougar in history to record five walks in a single game vs. Texas Southern... Named C-USA Hitter of the Week (Feb. 19) after first collegiate weekend, hitting .500 in series win over Northeastern... Named to the Astros Foundation College Classic All-Tournament Team and All-Silver Glove Series Team vs. Rice... Was CollegeBaseball360 Primetime Performer... Named to C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll
#26 Jake Lemoine - All-Freshman Team Freshman | RHP | Bridge City, Texas (Bridge City HS) Has 7 wins as a true freshman out of the pen and as a starter for Houston pitching with a 7-3 record... Appeared in 17 games, making nine starts... Has struck out 42 in 63.1 innings... Holds a 3.55 ERA... Notched a career-high eight strikeouts in 8.0 innings in a win at McNeese State... Held nation's leading slugging team (Louisiana-Lafayette) to just three hits, while fanning seven in midweek win... Was 4-0 through first eight appearances... Didn't allow an earned run until sixth appearance... Is one win away from tying the all-time win record by a freshman at eight set back in 2008
ALL-CONFERENCE USA FIRST TEAM John Frost, IF, UAB Chase McDonald, IF, East Carolina Issac Rodriguez, IF, Southern Miss Chris Taladay, IF, UCF Issac Ballou, OF, Marshall Erik Hempe, OF, UCF Michale Ratterree, OF, Rice Chase Fowler, C, Southern Miss Drew Reynolds, DH/UT, East Carolina Aaron Blair, P, Marshall Sam Moll, P, Memphis Andrew Pierce, P, Southern Miss Erik Schoenrock, P, Memphis Zech Lemond, RP, Rice
ALL-CONFERENCE USA SECOND TEAM Justin Montemayor, IF, Houston Frankie Ratcliff, IF, Houston Zach Houchins, IF, East Carolina Ford Stainback, IF, Rice Keenan Cook, OF, Rice Mason Robbins, OF, Southern Miss Kyle Survance, OF, Houston Geoff Perrott, C, Rice Michael Aquino, DH/UT, Rice Jeff Hoffman, P, East Carolina Ben Lively, P, UCF David Lucroy, P, East Carolina Austin Pruitt, P, Houston Jonathan Van Eaton, RP, Memphis
CONFERENCE USA ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM Travis Watkins, C, East Carolina Kyle Survance, OF, Houston Richard Carthon, OF, Tulane Jake Little, OF, Memphis Josh Vidales, IF, Houston Justin Montemayor, IF, Houston Blake Fox, IF/P, Rice Jake Lemoine, P, Houston David Lucroy, P, East Carolina Zac Favre, P, UCF Ian Gibaut, P, Tulane
KEITH LeCLAIR COACH OF THE YEAR Daron Schoenrock, Memphis
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UP NEXT Houston will open C-USA Championship play this Thursday at 11 a.m. vs. East Carolina at Rice's Reckling Park. The Cougars will continue tournament play at 3 p.m. Friday vs. Southern Miss and 3 p.m. Saturday vs. Tulane.