May 26, 2004
Bridgewater, N.J. – Pittsburgh senior designated hitter/pitcher P.J Hiser has been named BIG EAST Player of the Year, it was announced. Boston College righthander Chris Lambert and Pittsburgh righty Nick Evangelista share Pitcher of the Year accolades, while UP’s Jim Negrych was named Rookie of the Year. Panthers head coach Joe Jordano was selected as the 2004 BIG EAST Coach of the Year.
The All-BIG EAST First, Second and Third Teams were also announced, with Notre Dame claiming eight spots. Pittsburgh and Boston College each placed six players on the three squads, followed by Virginia Tech and West Virginia with four selections apiece. All choices are made by the league’s head coaches, who are not permitted to vote for their own players.
Hiser becomes Pittsburgh’s first Player of the Year since 1994. An All-BIG EAST First Team selection, the senior ranked first in conference games in home runs (7), second in total bases (64) and third in RBI (29) and slugging percentage (.696). The Hagerstown, Md. native was also among the national leaders in home runs (21), RBI (64) and slugging percentage (.775). In all games, Hiser batted .361, while setting the Panther single-season home run record. He also owns a 5-1 mark on the mound.
Lambert joins UConn’s Charles Nagy and Notre Dame’s Aaron Heilman as only the third player in BIG EAST history to earn Pitcher of the Year honors twice. The junior posted a 6-4 record, 3.31 earned run average and a .207 opponent batting average, while setting BC’s record for career strikeouts (274). He struck out 99 batters in 2004, throwing two shutouts. In conference games, the righty leads all BIG EAST hurlers with 58 strikeouts (11.03 per game). With 23 career victories, the Manchester, N.H. native is tied for second on BC’s all-time wins list.
Evangelista shares honors with Lambert and is Pittsburgh’s first Pitcher of the Year winner. The senior posted an 8-2 record in 14 appearances, including 6-1 in league play. He fanned 66 batters overall, while walking 25 and throwing two shutouts in 78 innings pitched. In league play, the Shoemakersville, Pa. native led all BIG EAST pitchers with six victories, including four complete games, while ranking third in strikeouts with 44.
Negrych is the first Pittsburgh player since 1988 to earn Rookie of the Year honors. He broke UP’s single season doubles record with 20. In all games, the freshman led the BIG EAST with a .387 batting average, while ranking second in doubles. The Buffalo, N.Y. native also ranked first in the Panther lineup with 75 hits and 32 walks. Negrych finished the season with seven home runs, 44 RBI and a .608 slugging percentage.
Picked sixth in the preseason poll, Pittsburgh was one of the surprises of the conference after finishing in a tie for second place. Jordano earns his first BIG EAST Coach of the Year award after guiding his squad to a 38-16 record and a 17-9 BIG EAST mark, establishing a team record for BIG EAST victories in the process. The Panthers led the BIG EAST in batting (.320) and fielding (.972) in all games and have been ranked in the top 20 nationally in both categories much of the season.
The All-BIG EAST selections were led by Lambert and Jeff Frazier of Rutgers the only repeat selections on the first team. Georgetown’s Michael Lombardi pushed up from the third to first squad, becoming the first Hoya player since 1996 to earn first team honors.
2004 BIG EAST BASEBALL POSTSEASON AWARD WINNERS
BIG EAST PLAYER OF THE YEAR
PJ Hiser, Pittsburgh, DH/P, Senior, 6-0, 195, Hagerstown, Md./Hagerstown
BIG EAST CO-PITCHERS OF THE YEAR
Chris Lambert, Boston College, RHP, Junior, 6-1, 205, Manchester, N.H./Manchester Memorial
Nick Evangelista, Pittsburgh, RHP, Senior, 6-4, 215, Shoemakersville, Pa./Louisburg College
BIG EAST ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Jim Negrych, Pittsburgh, 2B, Freshman, 5-9, 175, Buffalo, N.Y./St. Francis
BIG EAST COACH OF THE YEAR
Joe Jordano, Pittsburgh, Seventh Season (Pittsburgh Record: 198-157-2)
All-BIG EAST First Team
P – Chris Lambert, Boston College, Jr.
P – Grant Johnson, Notre Dame, Jr.
P – Nick Evangelista, Pittsburgh, Sr.
P – Zac Cline, West Virginia, Jr.
C – Michael Lombardi, Georgetown, Sr.
1B – Sean O’Brien, Virginia Tech, Fr.
2B – Steve Sollmann, Notre Dame, Sr.
SS – Bryan Spamer, Pittsburgh, Sr.
3B – Matt Macri, Notre Dame, Jr.
OF – Jason Delaney, Boston College, Jr.
OF – Jeff Frazier, Rutgers, Jr.
OF – Lee Fritz, West Virginia, Jr.
DH – PJ Hiser, Pittsburgh, Sr.
All-BIG EAST Second Team
P – Ryan Doherty, Notre Dame, So.
P – Chris Niesel, Notre Dame, Jr.
P – Anthony Varvaro, St. John’s, So.
P – Joey Scott, Seton Hall, Sr.
P – Josh Biber, Virginia Tech, Sr.
C – Joe Burke, St. John’s, Jr.
1B – Tim Pahuta, Seton Hall, Jr.
2B – Jim Negrych, Pittsburgh, Fr.
SS – Ryan Leahy, Boston College, Sr.
3B – Chris Stanton, Virginia Tech, Jr.
OF – Drew Locke, Boston College, Jr.
OF – Craig Cooper, Notre Dame, So.
OF – Ben Copeland, Pittsburgh, So.
DH – Billy Quinn, Georgetown, Jr.