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Indiana State University

May 22, 2012

MVP of the MVC: Lucas first Sycamore to earn Player of Year honors

ISU coach Rick Heller named MVC coach of the year

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State’s baseball team got the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season hardware last week and it’s hoping to grab more gold this week in its quest to win the Missouri Valley Conference baseball tournament.

In the meantime, some of the Sycamores’ brightest lights collected some bling on Monday.

ISU catcher Jeremy Lucas was named the MVC Joe Carter Player of the Year, the first a Sycamore has ever been named Player of the Year.

ISU coach Rick Heller was named the Dan Callahan Coach of the Year. ISU pitcher Dakota Bacus was named the MVC Newcomer of the Year.

At the time the awards were announced to the public, ISU was at practice at Missouri State’s Hammons Field. The award winners could not be reached for comment by the Tribune-Star’s press time.

Bacus was the fourth Sycamore to get the newcomer award. He joined Tim Brewer (2005), Clint Barmes (2000) and Rick Angell (1998).

Heller is the third different ISU coach to be Coach of the Year. Bob Warn won it three times (1979, 1983, 1984) and Lindsay Meggs (2009) also won it.

ISU had other honorees as well.  Along with Lucas and Bacus, right fielder Rob Ort was named first-team all-MVC. Shortstop Tyler Wamper, left fielder Kyle Burnam and starting pitcher Sean Manaea were named second-team all-MVC. Honorable-mention selections went to outfielder Landon Curry and first baseman Jon Hedges.

Lucas, a West Terre Haute native, started all 21 of ISU’s games in the conference behind the plate. In MVC play, Lucas hit .361 with two home runs and 15 RBIs. He had a .505 on-base percentage.

Overall, Lucas hit .363 with nine home runs and 52 RBIs. He has a slugging percentage of .571 and committed just three errors during the season.

Bacus, a Moline, Ill. native, went 4-1 with a 2.00 earned run average in league play. He threw two complete games, the second of them Thursday when Bacus got the victory in ISU’s 6-3 league-clinching triumph over Missouri State.

Overall, Bacus was 7-3 with a 2.08 ERA and 86 strikeouts against just 28 walks. Opponents batted just .222 against Bacus this season.

Heller led ISU to its first outright MVC championship. The Sycamores’ overall record of 41-15 is it’s best ever at this stage of the season. Heller took over ISU’s program in 2009 when Meggs left for the University of Washington. Heller came from Northern Iowa, which had eliminated its program after the 2009 season.

ISU begins the MVC Tournament at 1:30 p.m. today against Creighton.

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