BUFFALO, NY - Following one of the best seasons in program history, sophomore catcher Tom Murphy was named the Mid-American Conference's Player of the Year, the first Bull to ever earn the award. Murphy won the league's batting title and etched his name into the Buffalo record books in numerous categories.
"He's the hardest worker in practice, the weight room, and he's always looking for extra help and working on his game," said head coach Ron Torgalski. "It's great to see all that hard work pay off. He was consistent from game one and had an absolutely tremendous year. It's a well deserved award."
One of the team's captains and leaders, Murphy was a two-time MAC East Player of the Week. He ranked among the top five of the conference in home runs (10), on-base percentage (.446) and slugging percentage (.626), along with claiming the batting title with a .384 batting average over 52 games.
For the season, he has assaulted the Buffalo record books, putting his name in the top ten of six different single-season records. His .626 slugging percentage was the fourth highest of any player in Buffalo history with more than 125 at bats. He has been the go-to force as a run producer, driving in 44 runs this season, fifth most in a single season in Bulls history thanks to 11 different games with two or more runs batted in.
He was a constant on the base paths, leading the team with 22 multi-hit games, highlighted by six games with three or more hits and also a team-best 13 game hit streak. He also added seven steals. The most impressive number for Murphy has been four - the number of games all season where he did not reach base safely at least one time. Earlier in the season against North Carolina Central, Murphy also set a program record with three home runs in a game (3/19).
Murphy will join nine other Bulls who have started in 35 games or more and will return to the team in 2012. The 2011 MAC Player of Year announcement highlighted the 30-player all-conference squad that was announced by the league office Tuesday evening. Kent State's Kyle Hallock was named MAC Pitcher of the Year alongside coach Scott Stricklin who was chosen as Coach of the Year. Northern Illinois DH Jeff Zimmerman was named the MAC's Freshman of the Year. The league's 12 head coaches conducted the voting for the 15-member first and 15-member second All-MAC teams.
2011 MAC Baseball First Team
C- Tom Murphy, Buffalo
1B- Kyle Weldon, Miami
2B- Zack Leonard, Eastern Michigan
SS-Alex Jones, Northern Illinois
3B- Travis Shaw, Kent State
OF-Andrew Turocy, Akron
OF- Ben Klafczynski, Kent State
OF- Ken Battiston, Eastern Michigan
SP- Andrew Chafin, Kent State
SP- Kyle Hallock, Kent State
SP- David Starn, Kent State
SP - Mac Thoreson, Miami
RP- Kyle McMillen, Kent State
DH- Jeff Zimmerman, Northern Illinois
UTIL - Jon Berti, Bowling Green