Pentecost first from KSU to be given top A-Sun prize
by MDJ staff reports
May 21, 2014 04:06 AM | 1482 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For the first time, Kennesaw State’s baseball team earned the Atlantic Sun Conference’s highest individual honor, with catcher Max Pentecost named the conference’s player of the year Tuesday.

Pentecost wasn’t the only award-winner with Cobb County ties. Mercer shortstop Michael Massi, a Hillgrove High graduate, was named the conference’s defensive player of the year.

Pentecost earned his award amid a year in which he currently leads the nation in total hits with 97 and has shattered KSU’s single-season batting average record with a .422 mark going into the A-Sun tournament.

“It’s an overall blessing,” Pentecost said in a release. “All the hard work we put in and the time and effort paid off. I’m glad I could receive this award and it means a lot to me and the team.”

The Winder native holds the nation’s longest active hit streak at 35 games and is in the top five in the conference in hits, batting average, RBIs (54) and doubles (21). He’s been named on every major award watch list in the nation.

“Max has done a great job for us all the way around,” Kennesaw State coach Mike Sansing said in the release. “He’s gotten the job done defensively, offensively and with his baserunning. Things the regular fan may not always see, he’s done it all. It’s been a great year for him and a great year for us all around as a team.”

Pentecost, a junior, highlighted a slew of awards for the Owls, who landed two players on the all-conference first team in Pentecost and closer Justin McCalvin, who broke the Owls’ Division I single-season saves record with his 12.

Also honored were second-team selections Kal Simmons, Bo Way, Alex Liquori and Jordan Hillyer, as well as all-freshman honorees Gabe Friese and Chris Erwin.

Friese, a Marietta native and former Marietta High School star, earned a spot in the weekend rotation, making six starts and 15 appearances. He has thrown 57 2/3 innings, picking up 35 strikeouts.

The all-conference honorees helped lead Kennesaw State to a 33-21 record through the regular season, with a 19-11 mark in the A-Sun and the nation’s longest win streak at 16 games.

It leads into the conference tournament in Fort Myers, Fla., which begins with the third-seeded Owls facing off against No. 6 East Tennessee State today at 10 a.m.

Massi, a senior, has a .981 fielding percentage from the shortstop position and ranks second in the A-Sun with 186 assists, just one off the all-time Mercer record.

Massi, also named to the all-conference first team, has stood out with the bat as well. He enters the A-Sun tournament batting a team-best .350 with five home runs, 12 doubles and 35 RBIs.

Second-seeded Mercer (38-15) will play seventh-seeded Stetson immediately following the Kennesaw State-East Tennessee State game.
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