National Collegiate Baseball Writers June 12, 2004
For Immediate Release
Contact: Russell Anderson
312-327-3151
Nine players honored represent eight different conferences
NCBWA ANNOUNCES 2004
DISTRICT PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
DENVER. (NCBWA) The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) has chosen its nine NCAA Division I District Baseball Players of the Year for the fifth time since 2000.

District I recipient third baseman Ed Lucas of Dartmouth posted outstanding 2004 numbers for the Big Green as one of the Ivy League's top hitters. He was the league leader in batting average through the campaign and ended with a .405 mark, 47 runs scored in 42 games, four homers, and 36 RBI while pacing the Big Green to first place in the Ivy's Red Rolfe Division with a 15-5 conference mark. Dartmouth just missed a spot in the NCAA Regionals just behind Ivy League champion Princeton.

The District II honoree is second baseman Craig Badger of Rutgers. He was one of the speediest youngsters in the Big East Conference with 26 stolen bases in RU's 53 games while he was 72-for-198 at the plate for a .364 average with 31 RBI. The senior All-Big East infielder capped off a solid career at Rutgers with his productive 2004 season in the field and at the plate.

In District III, Southeastern Conference Co-Player of the Year Stephen Head of Ole Miss earned top honors. He paced the Rebels to their first-ever host's role in the NCAA Oxford Regionals and had one of the top statistical seasons for a sophomore in SEC annals. The 1B-P-DH helped the Rebels rise to No. 20 nationally in team earned run average at the 58-game mark with a 6-2 personal mark, 3.08 ERA, 53 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings, and five saves. At the plate he hit .348 with 12 homers and 52 RBI to rank among conference leaders in all three categories.

East Carolina designated hitter/outfielder Ryan Jones is the winner in District IV. The Conference USA Player of the Year paced the Pirates to the NCAA Kinston Regional crown and to within two victories of their initial trip to Omaha as they play South Carolina in the NCAA Super Regionals. He has a current slugging percentage of .828 and has led Division I in that stat for much of the season along with 18 homers, 66 RBI and a .402 average in his first 59 games of '04. Jones paced the Pirates to a 51-11 start as ECU became the second team nationally to reach 50-plus triumphs.

District V had as much collegiate talent as any year in recent memory, and Indiana shortstop Seth Bynum received the postseason nod. Bynum had one of the top five averages nationally for players at his position throughout the year and ended with a .387 average, 79 hits, 10 home runs, and 65 RBI in 55 contests to lead the Hoosiers. The All-Big Ten Conference choice has been on all three ballots in voting for the NCBWA All-America team, which is being made public next week.

From District VI the writers chose Nebraska third baseman and 2004 Big 12 Conference Player of the Year sophomore Alex Gordon. Gordon follows 2003 Nebraska teammate 1B/DH Matt Hopper, also Big 12 Player of the Year, as the District VI selection. The Huskers' sophomore paced the conference with a .754 slugging percentage, hammered 18 home runs, drove in 75 runs (1.27 per game), had five triples, and racked up 159 total bases in 59 games for the 36-23 Huskers.

Standout starting pitcher J.P. Howell of Texas is the NCBWA's District VII choice. He leads the Big 12 Conference in virtually every pitching category through June 10 with a 13-2 overall record (most wins in the circuit), a 2.24 ERA, 140 strikeouts in 116 2/3 innings of work, 44 walks, 29 earned runs, four complete games, one save, and 21 appearances (17 total starts for third in the conference). He already has been chosen as first team All-America by USA Today Sports Weekly and Louisville Slugger.

Outfielder Eric Nielsen of UNLV is the District VIII Player of the Year. The junior blossomed at the plate as the year continued and had most of the top hitting numbers in the Mountain West Conference as a Player of the Year candidate. He batted .410 with team highs of 16 home runs, 86 RBI and 100 hits while helping the Rebels capture the MWC title and advance to the NCAA Stanford Regional.

The District IX selection is Long Beach State pitcher Jered Weaver. He enters the NCAA Super Regionals with two-time All-America and Big West Player of the Year laurels. Weaver also posted a nation-best 15-1 record with a 1.65 ERA, has pitched 136 1/3 frames, allowed only 76 hits, walked 19, and struck out a NCAA-most 201 hitters. His strikeouts-to-walks ratio per nine innings is 13.3 to 1.2, and he is a finalist for the Xanthus Dick Howser Trophy, Golden Spikes Award, Roger Clemens Award, and Baseball America Player of the Year.

Dist. Player School Pos. Ht. Wt Cl. Hometown
I Ed Lucas Dartmouth 3B 6-4 205 Sr. Deltona, Fla.
II Chris Badger Rutgers 2B 5-9 177 Sr. Union, N.J.
III Stephen Head Mississippi 1B/P 6-2 220 So. Raymond, Miss.
IV Ryan Jones East Carolina OF 5-7 177 Sr. Gibsonia, Pa.
V Seth Bynum Indiana SS 6-0 185 Sr. Louisville, Ky.
VI Alex Gordon Nebraska 3B 6-1 215 So. Lincoln, Neb.
VII J.P. Howell Texas P 6-1 180 Jr. Sacramento, Calif.
VIII Eric Nielsen UNLV OF 6-0 220 Jr. Las Vegas, Nev.
IX Jered Weaver Long Beach State P 6-7 205 Jr. Simi Valley, Calif.

The nine geographic areas of each District are broken down as follows:
District I: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania
District II: Connecticut, West Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, D.C.
District III: Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida
District IV: Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland
District V: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin
District VI: Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota
District VII: Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana
District VIII: Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Montana
District IX: California, Oregon, Washington, Hawai'i, Arizona, Alaska

Founded in 1962, the NCBWA is dedicated to the advancement of college baseball. Membership is open to writers, broadcasters and publicists of the sport. Members receive a membership card, directory, newsletter updates and official votes in the Howser Award Player of the Year, Regional Player of the Year and NCBWA All-America voting. The NCBWA also sponsors preseason All-American awards, publication and writing contests.