The Big Ten Conference handed out individual baseball awards Tuesday when the league announced their all-Big Ten teams for the 2011 season.
Four players from the University of Iowa were recognized as junior starting pitcher Jarred Hippen was selected to the second team, while seniors Tyson Blaser and Trevor Willis were both selected to the third team.
Iowa freshman Taylor Zeutenhorst also earned recognition on the all-Big Ten Conference Freshman team, while Blaser was chosen as the Iowa baseball’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree.
Hippen was a second-team all-league selection last year and should be one of the top pitchers in the conference next season as well. Hippen was named preseason Big Ten Pitcher of the Year before the season began but finished just 4-6 in 14 starts in 2011. He got off to a slow start but tallied four complete games late in the season and earned two Big Ten Conference Pitcher of the Week honors in May.
Hippen ranked seventh in the league in earned run average at 3.14 and third in innings pitched at 94.2. In those 94.2 innings pitched, Hippen also struck out 61, which also ranked third in the conference. In Big Ten Conference games only, Hippen led the league with 60 innings pitched, was second in strikeouts with 41 and fifth in ERA at 2.67.
Blaser earns his first Big Ten Conference postseason honor after his superb season in 2011. Blaser started 49 games this year, including 41 at catcher. He led Iowa and ranked second in the league with 18 doubles, which ranks fourth all-time at Iowa for a single season.
Blaser hit .306 in all games this season but had a .322 average in conference games. He also was one of the best catchers in the league as he threw out 20 runners attempting to steal.
Willis earned his all-conference honor as a centerfielder. The senior led the Big Ten Conference and ranked second in the country with a career-high nine triples this season, which sets a new single season record at the University of Iowa.
He batted .271 and recorded 15 multi-hit games, which ranked third on the team. The Homer Glen, Illinois, native ranked second on the team with seven multiple RBI games and 26 total RBIs. Willis also claimed Big Ten Conference Player of the Week honors in early May for his back-to-back four-hit games against Mississippi State.
Iowa’s best freshman this season was definitely Zeutenhorst. The first-year outfielder appeared in 36 games, had 22 starts and hit .261 in 88 at-bats with 15 RBIs. Zeutenhorst, a Sheldon, Iowa, native, ranked second among Big Ten Conference freshman with his .320 batting average in Big Ten games only.
Zeutenhorst contributed 12 of his 15 RBIs in league games, and he ranked third on the team with 10 two-out RBIs.
Thirty-two Hawkeyes have earned all-Big Ten Conference honors under Iowa head coach Jack Dahm, including four each of the last two years.
Five players from co-Big Ten Conference champion Michigan State had five players on the first team to lead the way among Big Ten Conference teams. Those honors included Jeff Holm as the Big Ten Conference Player of the Year, Kurt Wunderlich as the Big Ten Conference Pitcher of the Year and Jake Boss Jr. as the Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year.
Ohio State’s Josh Dezse was voted as the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year.