Alabama Dominates All-SEC Baseball

The Alabama baseball team placed five players on the 2009 First-Team All-SEC squad, the league office announced today. The 2009 SEC Player of the Year Kent Matthes highlighted the list of Crimson Tide players on this year's team.

Joining Matthes, were sophomore second baseman Ross Wilson, sophomore shortstop Josh Rutledge, junior third baseman Jake Smith and senior right-hander Austin Hyatt, who is just the third Alabama pitcher since 1986 to earn First-Team All-SEC honors. Pete Roberts (1986) and Wade LeBlanc (2006) were the other two first team pitchers.

Freshman left fielder Taylor Dugas was named Freshman All-SEC on Tuesday, while Wilson and Smith were named to the SEC All-Defensive squad.

"We had a great offensive team and all of these guys are very deserving," Alabama Coach Jim Wells said. "Matthes had a great year with all the home runs and was named SEC Player of the Year. Hyatt was solid too. I don't think we have ever had a guy that pitched the way he did every Friday night and set the tone for the weekend. "

LSU was the only other team with multiple First-Team All-SEC picks. The Tigers placed three players on the team, including SEC Pitcher of the Year Louis Coleman and SEC Relief Pitcher of the Year Matty Ott. Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Vanderbilt had one first team selection each.

Alabama's five First-Team All-SEC selections ties the school record for the most in one season. The Crimson Tide also had five First-Team All-SEC picks in 1955, including left-hander Jon Paul Anderson, right-hander Gene Lary, outfielders Bobby Barnes and Bobby Hunt and third baseman Herb Kosten.

Matthes was the unanimous SEC Player of the Year, after hitting .362 with a 27 home runs and 79 RBI for the Crimson Tide this season. He led the SEC in home runs, total bases (166) and slugging percentage (.883) and was second in the league with 79 RBI. He was also third in runs scored (63) and sixth in hitting this season.

Wilson hit .350 with nine home runs and 46 RBI in 51 games this season. He is 12th in the league with his .350 batting average. In SEC play, Wilson was 12th with a .343 batting average. The Hoover native was also named to the SEC All-Defensive Team after a solid season at second base. Wilson led the Tide with 25 double plays this season and finished the campaign with 116 assists. He finished with 12 errors (.946) in 221 chances this year.

Rutledge hit .306 with a career-high five home runs and 42 RBI in 53 games this year. He is fourth in the league in at-bats (222), fifth in plate appearances (262) and eighth in the league in runs scored (60).

Smith is having his best season with the Crimson Tide this year. The junior is hitting .358 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI, all career bests in 48 games. He is fifth in the SEC in total bases (140), seventh in slugging (.737), eighth in home runs (18) and ninth in hitting (.358). In SEC play, he is fourth in slugging (.687), sixth in home runs (9) and eighth in doubles (9). Smith was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team for the second year in a row after making only five errors (.955) in 112 chances at third base.

Hyatt posted an 8-1 record and 2.96 ERA in 13 starts this season. Alabama was 9-4 in his 13 starts this season and he left with the lead in all 13 games. Hyatt led the SEC in ERA (2.96), opponents batting average (.208), innings pitched (97 1/3) and fewest walks (10). He also ranked third in wins (8) and starts (13) and seventh in strikeouts. In SEC play, Hyatt led the league in innings pitched (78 1/3) and starts (10) and ranked third in ERA (3.22), opponents average (.210) and fewest walks (9). He was also fourth in wins (5) and eighth in strikeouts (69).

Dugas was named to the Freshman All-SEC squad after leading the Tide with a .364 batting average, with two home runs and 27 RBI in 52 games. Dugas was second in the SEC in doubles (19), third in hits (80), fourth in hitting (.364) and seventh in runs scored (61). His 24-game hitting streak is the longest in the SEC this season.

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