JMU’s Lowery, Herbek earn All-American honors
James Madison junior catcher Jake Lowery (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) and senior shortstop David Herbek (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) have formed a formidable combination during the season and were rewarded Thursday being named to the 2011 Louisville Slugger All-America squads as chosen by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.
Lowery was selected as the top catcher in the country with his First Team honor while Herbek was named to the Second Team. Together they are the 16th and 17th players in program history to be honored as a First Team, Second Team or Third Team All-American. They are the fourth set of teammates honored in the same season at JMU, the first to have both players listed as high as either First or Second Team.
JMU has now had four First Team All-America selections with Lowery’s honor from Collegiate Baseball. Kellen Kulbacki was chosen in consecutive seasons in 2006 and 2007. Billy Sample was a First Team All-America pick when JMU competed at the NCAA Division II level in 1976.
Lowery was the Player of the Year in the Colonial Athletic Association and First Team All-CAA. Currently, Lowery is one of 30 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award as the nation’s top amateur player, one of 36 on the watch list for the Dick Howser Trophy for the nation’s top college player and one of 13 semifinalists for the Johnny Bench Award for college baseball’s best catcher.
Entering this weekend’s NCAA Tournament, Lowery leads the nation in runs scored (76), runs driven in (83) and total bases (187). He is also fourth in triples (8), second in home runs (22) and second in slugging percentage (.796). His 83 RBIs, 187 total bases, 51 extra-base hits and eight triples (tied) have already established JMU season records. During the CAA Championship, he became the second player in JMU history to reach 20 doubles (21) and 20 home runs (22) in the same season. Last weekend, he collected All-Tournament honors after hitting .500 (7-for-14) with a pair of doubles to help lead JMU to a CAA Championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
Like Lowery, Herbek is also on the 36-player watch list for the Dick Howser Trophy. He is also one of 25 players on the watch list for the Brooks Wallace Award designated for the nation’s top shortstop.
Herbek enters the NCAA Regionals with a team-best .374 batting average to go with a .701 slugging percentage and .456 on-base percentage. He has scored 55 runs and driven in 74 while smacking 18 doubles, three triples and 15 home runs. He has also stolen 13 bases, been hit by pitches 17 times and broke his own school record with 10 sacrifice flies.
Nationally, Herbek currently stands 16th in home runs, sixth in RBIs, 13th in slugging percentage, 16th in total bases and third in sacrifice flies. Two more RBIs would push Herbek into second in JMU season history and put the teammates in the top two spots all-time.
For his four-year career, Herbek holds the CAA record for hit by pitches with 55. He ranks eighth at JMU for at bats (727), seventh for games (206), 10th for hits (250), sixth for runs (188), fourth for RBIs (193), third for doubles (60), sixth for home runs (35), sixth for total bases (433), first for sacrifice flies (25) and sixth for assists (498).
JMU (40-17), which is ranked 28th by Collegiate Baseball and holds the nation’s longest winning streak at nine games, will be the No. 3 seed in the Chapel Hill Regional on Friday. The Dukes open against No. 2 Florida International at 1 p.m.