May 20, 2014
Right-hander Alec Crawford was selected to the All-Big Ten Third Team, and catcher Austin Athmann was a unanimous All-Big Ten Freshman Team choice. The conference announced the teams, voted on by the coaches, on Tuesday morning.
A senior from Wilton, Iowa, Crawford has been the first pitcher in the Gophers’ rotation all season. He brings a 3.76 ERA and 4-1 record into the Big Ten Tournament. Crawford’s team-high 65 strikeouts rank fourth in the Big Ten, and his 42 within conference play rank second. He is tied for fourth in overall innings pitched with 91, and is second with 58 in conference play.
Crawford was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week Monday after an eight-inning start at Indiana in which he scattered three hits and limited the Hoosiers to one run. He also went eight innings against Penn State and struck out a career-high nine batters, surpassing the high of eight he set in Minnesota’s season opener against Northern Illinois. Crawford is also Minnesota’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree.
Athmann, a freshman from Cold Spring, Minn., has made 23 starts behind the plate or as the Gophers’ designated hitter. He is hitting .275 and slugging .338 with a .337 on base percentage. Athmann has scored seven runs and driven in seven. He hit his first career home run against Penn State in April.
Athmann was Minnesota’s regular catcher in the early part of the season, making his first start in the Gophers’ second game of the year. An injury limited his playing time for parts of March and April, but he hit 3-for-3 with a double, a run and an RBI against North Dakota State in his return to catching on April 15. Since then, Athmann has caught one game in each of Minnesota’s past five series and made additional appearances as a pinch hitter or designated hitter.
The Big Ten Tournament starts Wednesday, May 21 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. Fourth-seeded Minnesota will play against fifth-seeded Michigan at 9 p.m. CDT.
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