Five Panthers Earn First-Team All-Conference, Scotty Ward Named SSC Pitcher of the Year
By Florida Tech // May 13, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – There’s a reason the Florida Tech Panthers notched the program’s highest win total since 2010, and are headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the last eight seasons.
That reason became evident, as six members of the club were recognized as All-Sunshine State Conference performers on Tuesday.
A testament to the team’s depth, five Panthers were named first-team selections – the most in the conference, including Florida Tech’s very first SSC Pitcher of the Year in Scotty Ward.
Additionally, Austin Allen, Tyler Doughty, Ashton Fronsoe and Ricky Rodriguez also landed on the selective list, while Reid Neal garnered second-team honors.
The possibility of such an achievement had never crossed Ward’s mind before learning the news just moments before boarding a flight en route to the NCAA South Regional in Alabama.
“I’m pretty speechless right now,” said Scotty Ward.
“I don’t really know what to say. I’d like to thank my teammates, because without them my numbers wouldn’t be where they are. Three years ago, I just wanted to go out and help the team win, and be an everyday guy. This is pretty special.”
A Brett Tomko Award Semifinalist, one of 32 across the nation up for NCAA Division II’s Most Outstanding Pitcher, Ward rounded out the regular season with a 9-2 record to go along with a legit 2.04 earned run average.
His nine victories placed him in a tie for the league lead, and tied for 13th overall in the country.
Averaging 6.97 innings per start, the senior also posted a pair of complete games and topped the conference in walks allowed per nine innings, surrendering only nine over the course of 83.2 innings of work.
One of the most feared batters in the SSC, the left-handed hitting Austin Allen teamed up with Ward to form quite the dynamic battery mate.
In addition to commanding the SSC’s best pitching staff in terms of ERA, Allen finished as the league’s batting champ with an incredible .422 average. His school-record 24 doubles were tops in the conference, and tied him for fifth-most in DII.
Furthermore, Allen ranked among the top-five in the SSC in: hits, on-base percentage, runs batted in, slugging percentage and total bases.
As the shortstop of the league’s No. 1 fielding ball club, Tyler Doughty put it all together as a senior.
The rangy playmaker produced 18 multi-hit games and compiled a career-high .391 batting average, seventh best in the SSC. He added a team-high 13 stolen bases in 16 attempts, and completed the regular season with five more walks than strikeouts.
In his role as the usual Friday night starter, Ashton Fronsoe amassed a record of 8-2 with a 3.30 ERA across 71 innings on the year.
With one of those victories at fifth-ranked Nova Southeastern, the right-hander’s eight total wins ranked him fourth among all league pitchers.
Fronsoe also earned the nod as the SSC Pitcher of the Week back on February 16.
An NAIA All-American a year ago, Ricky Rodriguez was instantly plugged into the lineup, starting all 47 games for the Panthers.
The third baseman recorded 16 multi-hit efforts and ranked among the top-10 in the SSC in batting average (.374) and slugging percentage (.603). His 10-for-17 four-game stretch also landed him the SSC Player of the Week on March 23.
The catalyst for the Panthers, Reid Neal honed his leadoff role throughout 2015.
The Florida Atlantic transfer led the league in on-base percentage (.487) and finished second in batting average (.419), hits (83) and runs scored (55).
Equally as important, the second baseman failed to miss a single game in his sophomore season, notching an astounding 27 multi-hit efforts in 47 contests.
Greg Brown and Justin Garcia of Nova Southeastern were pegged Coach and Player of the Year, while Barry’s Ryan Baldwin collected Freshman of the Year.
Florida Tech opens up NCAA Regional action this Thursday against Tampa at 7 p.m. CT.
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