ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – With his stellar performance all season, junior catcher Austin Parent of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford baseball team has been named the 2018 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Player of the Year, and additionally, senior second baseman Jay Clinger and junior pitcher Ryan Boyer were named to the All-AMCC Second Team, conference officials announced Wednesday.
Parent becomes the fourth Panther to earn the AMCC Player of the Year distinction and the program's first since Derek Smith (2012) and Michael Pascarella (2011) picked up the award in back-to-back seasons.
A native of Gilbert, Ariz., Parent put together not only one of the best seasons in the country but in Pitt-Bradford program history. He led the conference and finished third nationally with a .491 overall batting average, which is also tied for third-best all-time in AMCC history. Parent also led the nation with a .614 on-base percentage and posted the second-best slugging percentage in the country.
"A.P., man what a season," Head Coach Zach Foster said. "That has to be one of the best seasons in the history of Pitt-Bradford baseball. It was a joy for me to be able to be part of that with him. A lot of credit goes to his work ethic and his ability to put himself in good situations to succeed. This is well deserved for him and I'm very proud of him."
He never cooled down in AMCC play, hitting .522, posting a .625 on-base percentage and slugging 1.014. In conference play, he led the AMCC in home runs (seven), total bases (70), walks (19), on-base and slugging. Parent also ended the season riding an 18-game hitting streak. Behind the plate, he posted a .963 fielding percentage and threw out nine would-be base stealers.
The catcher picked up national honors on April 18 as he was named the NCBWA National Player of the Week and was also named to the D3baseball.com Team of the Week.
In earning All-AMCC Second Team honors this season, Clinger completes the impressive feat of garnering All-Conference honors all four years of his career as a Pitt-Bradford student-athlete.
"Jay had a great career here at Pitt-Bradford," Foster said. "Anytime you are a four-time All-Conference player, that tells you a little about his ability as a player. What is just as important is his character as a man. He left a great legacy."
The senior started 27 games for the Panthers and recorded 36 hits in 101 at-bats for a .356 batting average, the second-best on the team. He also knocked the second-most doubles on the team with 12, drove in 26 runs and scored as many while hitting two home runs.
The Edinboro, Pa., native erupted for four RBIs highlighted by a three-run home run to help the Panthers clinch a home playoff series against Penn State-Altoona (May 4).
The second baseman posted a .954 fielding percentage while turning eight double plays.
As the ace of the Panthers' pitching staff, Boyer made 10 starts and posted a 5-2 mark.
"Boyer has carried our pitching staff for the last two years," Foster said. "His ability to step up all year in big games kept us in a great position for the playoffs. He has the ability and the talent to pitch at the next level."
The Bradford native led the team with 58.2 innings pitched and struck out the third-most batters in the AMCC with 66 while posting a 4.45 ERA.
The junior was named the AMCC Pitcher of the Week twice (March 5 & 19) and struck out a career-best 11 batters twice (at Chatham, Feb. 27; vs. Medaille, April 21). He also walked just 26 opposing batters, and never more than four in a single start.
His victories came against Hiram, at Wilmington (Ohio), at Hilbert, against Medaille and against Penn State-Altoona in the first game of the AMCC Championship Tournament First Round.
The Pitt-Bradford baseball team put together one of the best seasons in recent program history, going 17-16 overall and 10-6 in AMCC play – the most conference wins since 2010.
As a result, the Panthers earned the No. 4 seed in the AMCC Championship Tournament and hosted Penn State-Altoona for the First Round of the playoffs.
"I give a ton of credit to our Director of Athletics and former Head Baseball Coach, Bret Butler, who recruited all of these guys, and to the players for giving me the chance and opportunity to coach them," Foster concluded.