Birmingham, Ala. - The Southeastern Conference released the league's annual honors today with seven Commodores being named, including SEC Pitcher of the Year Grayson Garvin and SEC Freshman of the Year Tony Kemp.
Garvin has been the model of consistency for the Dores this season leading the league with 11 wins and going 9-0 in 10 SEC starts. He is the first Vanderbilt pitcher to earn the honor since David Price in 2007. The junior's season started with a dominating start at San Diego when the lefty flirted with a no hitter and fanned a career-best 10 batters. Garvin proved to be the team's stopper winning four of his five starts after Vanderbilt took the loss in the first game of a series. He was named the SEC Pitcher of the Week for his eight-inning performance at Arkansas when he allowed one run on two hits with six strikeouts. The Suwanee, Ga. native's nine-game win streak earlier this season ranks among the leaders this season across the country. He enters the postseason 11-1 with a 2.54 ERA and 79 strikeouts over 89.1 innings.
Tony Kemp has played in 52 of the Dores' 53 games this year and hit leadoff for Tim Corbin in 48 games as a true freshman. He is the first Commodore to earn the honor since Mike Minor in 2007. The speedy outfielder has been a spark plug for the offense since his arrival on campus and enters the post-season with 21 multi-hit games. The Commodores' left fielder was tabbed SEC Freshman of the Week for his work at Auburn when he went 8-for-14 with five runs scored. However, his most memorable play came against Alabama late in the game with the bases loaded he made an all-out diving catch on the warning track in left field for the third out to end the Crimson Tide threat. Kemp enters the postseason riding a 13-game hitting streak after posting four hits at Georgia in the regular season finale. In his first collegiate campaign he hit .342 with 12 extra-base hits and scored 48 runs.
"Although there are many ingredients in having a successful team, I am happy that the conference coaches recognized several of our players for their outstanding seasons," Head Coach Tim Corbin said. "To have two individuals stand out among their peers as the top performing freshman and top pitcher in the SEC is particularly gratifying to our program."
Aaron Westlake joins Garvin and Kemp on the All-SEC first team. The big first baseman has paced the Vanderbilt offense all season leading the team in home runs with 13 and batting average (.360). Jason Esposito, Conrad Gregor and Sonny Gray have all been named All-SEC second team. Esposito led the team in RBI with 48 while moving into third place all-time at Vanderbilt with 58 career doubles. Gregor also earned SEC All-Freshman honors along with Kemp and Kevin Ziomek. Gregor has been a key contributor to the offense since taking over the designated hitter spot in the lineup hitting .341 with 10 extra-base hits. Gray earned SEC accolades for the third time in his career also being named to the All-Defensive team with Esposito. The right-hander from Smyrna, Tenn. finished second in the league with 105 strikeouts and his batting average against led the league at .193. Ziomek was counted on in the VU bullpen all year and the lefty did not disappoint, posting a 1.82 ERA in 22 games with 43 strikeouts in 39.2 innings.
The Commodores begin SEC Tournament play tomorrow night against Georgia in the final game of the day. Freshman T.J. Pecoraro gets the ball for Vanderbilt against Bulldogs' right-hander Michael Palazzone. The game will begin approximately 30 minutes after the South Carolina-Auburn game and be televised on CSS.
SEC PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Mike Zunino, Florida SEC PITCHER OF THE YEAR - Grayson Garvin, Vanderbilt SEC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR - Tony Kemp, Vanderbilt SEC SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - James McCann, Arkansas SEC COACH OF THE YEAR - Ray Tanner, South Carolina
FIRST TEAM 1B - Aaron Westlake, Vanderbilt 2B - Scott Wingo, South Carolina 3B - Thomas McCarthy, Kentucky SS - Casey McElroy, Auburn C - Mike Zunino, Florida OF - Mikie Mahtook, LSU OF - Preston Tucker, Florida OF - Tony Kemp, Vanderbilt DH - Brian Johnson, Florida P - Grayson Garvin, Vanderbilt P - Michael Roth, South Carolina RP - Matt Price, South Carolina
SECOND TEAM 1B - Christian Walker, South Carolina 2B - Josh Adams, Florida 2B - Alex Yarbrough, Ole Miss 3B - Jason Esposito, Vanderbilt SS - Nolan Fontana, Florida C - Tony Caldwell, Auburn OF - Taylor Dugas, Alabama OF - Mason Katz, LSU OF - Chad Wright, Kentucky DH - Conrad Gregor, Vanderbilt P - DJ Baxendale, Arkansas; Hudson Randall, Florida P - Sonny Gray, Vanderbilt; Alex Meyer, Kentucky RP - Caleb Reed, Mississippi State
ALL FRESHMAN TEAM 1B - Dominic Ficociello, Arkansas 2B - JaCoby Jones, LSU 3B - Zack Powers, Florida SS - Adam Frazier, Mississippi State C - Ty Ross, LSU OF - Tony Kemp, Vanderbilt OF - C.T. Bradford, Mississippi State OF - Andrew Toles, Tennessee DH - Conrad Gregor, Vanderbilt P - Karsten Whitson, Florida P - Forrest Koumas, South Carolina RP - Kevin Ziomek, Vanderbilt
ALL DEFENSIVE TEAM P - Sonny Gray, Vanderbilt 1B - Dominic Ficociello, Arkansas 1B - Christian Walker, South Carolina 2B - Scott Wingo, South Carolina SS - Nolan Fontana, Florida 3B - Jason Esposito, Vanderbilt C - Mike Zunino, Florida OF - Taylor Dugas, Alabama OF - Mikie Mahtook, LSU OF - Zach Cone, Georgia OF - Jackie Bradley Jr., South Carolina