NASHVILLE – Former Eastern Kentucky University left-hander Christian Friedrich was named to the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings All-South Region first team, Vanderbilt head coach and NCAA Division I chairman Tim Corbin announced on Thursday. Friedrich and Jacksonville State outfielder Clay Whittemore were the only two OVC players selected to the team.
Friedrich became the first EKU baseball player ever to be drafted in the first round of the MLB Draft when he was taken as the 25th overall pick earlier this month. The southpaw from Evanston, Ill. was recently named a second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and the 2008 OVC Pitcher of the Year after a dominating junior campaign in which he ranked second in the nation in ERA (1.43) and hits allowed per nine innings (4.41). He was also eighth in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings (11.9).
Friedrich was named the preseason OVC Pitcher of the Year in January, and did not disappoint. En route to being named first team All-OVC for the third straight year, he finished a thoroughly dominant junior season ranked seventh in nation in ERA, eighth in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings (12.09), and second in the nation in hits allowed per nine innings (4.03). Through 81.2 innings of work and 12 starts this season, Friedrich allowed only 40 hits. Only one of those hits was a home run.
Against Morehead State on March 29, Friedrich became EKU’s all-time career strikeout leader in only his third season in Richmond. He has now recorded 305 strikeouts as a Colonel.
He is also EKU’s career ERA leader, with a career ERA of 2.04
Friedrich was named the OVC Pitcher of the Week three times this season, and five times in his career. His first weekly honor came in early March after he held Bradley University scoreless while striking out nine batters. His second came a few weeks later when he took a no-hitter into the seventh against the University of Illinois, striking out 12 in that contest. His final Pitcher of the Week honor came on May 5, a few days after he nearly tossed a perfect game against Samford, allowing just one baserunner in his eight innings of work and at one point retiring 20 consecutive batters.
In his last three outings of the season, Friedrich pitched 24 innings without allowing an earned run, while striking out 31 batters and only giving up nine hits.
Eight Southeastern Conference schools were represented, with 19 of the 29 players on the All-South Region teams from the league. The Big East and Conference USA had three players from their conferences, while the Atlantic Sun and Ohio Valley had two.