The University of Evansville’s baseball program added some hardware to its trophy case this week after posting the best fielding percentage in Division I during the 2012 season.
It marked the Aces’ first statistical championship, and the NCAA sent a plaque to the school recognizing the achievement.
“It’s a great honor…it’s one of the best I’ve seen here as well as the ’06 (Missouri Valley Conference) championship plaque we have here,” said coach Wes Carroll. “Since I’ve taken over, I’ve beaten the drum on picking it and pitching it. And for us to win a national championship in fielding percentage says a lot about our program, what we take pride in, what we focus on and work on. It was just great to share it with our guys.”
Evansville posted a .981 fielding percentage, which factors putouts, assists and errors with a team’s overall number of chances.
The Aces finished a point better than the .980 tallied by LSU, Oklahoma State and South Carolina.
“If you’re able to eliminate errors with these bats the way they are, you’re going to be in a lot of competitive games,” Carroll said. “You look at our team – how young we were and green we were in a lot of areas – but because of our fielding percentage we were able to be in a lot of games to get 32 wins. Thirty wins is a great bar, so to speak, for a college baseball team to reach every year.”
Coming off a 32-27 year, UE’s third winning season in a row, the Aces’ fall practices are under way.
Highlights this month include a day for professional scouts to visit and scrimmages from Oct. 29-31, which will be a Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday series.
Carroll said the awarded added some credibility to his coaching staff’s defensive focus. The award comes about four months after the Los Angeles Angels organization drafted Eric Stamets and sent him straight to Class A Ball as the Cedar Rapids Kernels’ everyday shortstop.
“Getting that plaque meant a lot to me personally and to this coaching staff and program,” Carroll said.
Players knew earlier this summer that they’d won the statistical national championship.
The award plaque made it official on Monday.
“They were all fired up,” Carroll said. “Now the bar’s been set. I want another one of those another year from now.”