June 19, 2007
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina senior Kenny Smith and junior Blake Murphy were among 153 collegiate baseball players named to the 2007 All PING! Baseball team announced today. Smith was named to the second team as a second baseman, while Murphy garnered honorable mention accolades as a catcher.
Smith, the consensus Southern Conference Player of the Year, led Western by earning the team's Triple Crown, leading the team in batting average (.390), runs batted in (84) and home runs (20). His 84 RBI not only led the conference but also tied a school-record now shared with Chris Moore (1999). Smith was a second team All-American selection by Collegiate Baseball, and was among the final 30 players in consideration for the Brooks Wallace Award which goes to the top collegiate player in the nation. He was also named to the NCAA Baseball Championship Chapel Hill Regional All-tournament team.
Murphy received honorable mention accolades on this year's All PING! team. Murphy led the Catamounts this year with 52 walks serving primarily as WCU's catcher. The Waynesville, N.C., native hit .367 with 20 doubles, a triple and 16 home runs with 66 runs driven in and a team-high 73 runs scored. Murphy, who was initially drafted in the 37th round out of high school, was selected to the first team SoCon by both the coaches and media this season.
Four Catamounts Ink MLB Contracts
Cullowhee, N.C. - Four of the six Catamounts selected in the two-day Major League Baseball Amateur Draft back on June 7-8 have signed contracts. Senior Kenny Smith, juniors Greg Holland and Jonathan Greene, and recruit Sean McCauley have each inked deals, with juniors Steven Strausbaugh (37th rd., 1,135 pick) and Blake Murphy (50th rd., 1,435 pick) yet to sign.
No details from any of the contracts were disclosed.
Holland (4-4) was the first to ink a deal, signing with the Kansas City Royals who drafted the Marion, N.C., native with their 306th pick in the 10th round. The right-hander who was an All-SoCon first team selection by both the coaches and media led the conference with 10 saves last season for Western, tossing 45.1 innings in relief with 54 strikeouts in 33 appearances. He ends his WCU career with a 10-11 overall record with 19 saves to rank fourth in the WCU record books. He tallied 154 strikeouts in 149.1 innings pitched.
McCauley signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Catamounts back in late November of 2006. The highly touted catcher attended the same high school as current WCU player, Brent Greer. Both McCauley and Holland will report to the Royals' rookie-league team in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Smith, the only Catamount drafted which had exhausted all collegiate eligibility, signed with the Texas Rangers after being selected in the 20th round with the 620th overall pick. The Asheville, N.C., native reported to Spokane, Wash., where he will play for the Texas Rangers' rookie league club.
Smith will have at least one familiar face on his new roster as Greene signed with the Rangers today, foregoing his senior season in Cullowhee. The highest Catamount - and third player from the SoCon selected overall - Greene was tabbed in the eighth round with the 260th overall pick as a catcher. Greene was a utility player for WCU this season, spending most of the time in left field despite being tabbed preseason All-SoCon at third base. He earned first team all-conference accolades from the voting media in the outfield in `07, also playing first, third, designated hitter and behind the plate. He hit .331 with 14 home runs and 57 RBI for the regular season co-champion Catamounts. The Boone, N.C., native was a .330 career hitter for Western, amassing 208 hits, including 36 doubles and 33 home runs with 145 RBI in his three years.
Inside the Numbers - Update on Catamounts in the Summer Leagues
Cal Ripken, Sr., Collegiate Baseball League
Rockville (Md.) Express - Adam Baker
* Ranks second on his team with a .429 batting average, including three extra base hits
Coastal Plains League
Florence (S.C.) Red Wolves - Nick Liles
* Leads the team with a .389 batting average with a double and a home run
Alexandria (Minn.) Beetles - Drew Saberhagen
* Currently has a 2-0 record in two starts with a 2.25 ERA with three strikeouts
Fauquier (Va.) Gators - Jason Haynes
* Team-leading .355 batting average with 2 doubles and a home run
Fauquier (Va.) Gators - Daniel Ottone
* Has only tossed one inning of work, but struck out the side (3 K's)
New Market (Va.) Rebels - Chris Masters
* In two starts this summer, has a 1-0 record with 22 strikeouts in 12.0 innings of work with just three walks ... opponents are only hitting .222 against the rising sophomore.
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