BRADFORD, Pa. – Junior catcher Austin Parent of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford baseball team has earned one of the highest honors in NCAA Division III as he has been named D3Baseball.com First Team All-America, officials announced Wednesday.
"This is such a great honor for A.P.," Head Coach Zach Foster said. "All of the voters can see his fantastic statistical numbers, and it makes it easy because they were some of the best numbers I've seen put up in a season before. What they don't get to see is how important he was to our team. He plays one of the harder positions and caught pretty much every game for us, which is hard to do.
"The thing that I found amazing was his bat never cooled down, even if he was tired. He has the great ability to separate at-bat from at-bat, and also separate his at-bats from when he is playing in the field. I want to sincerely congratulate A.P. on a great season and all of the well-deserved awards. I see bright things happening for him if he continues to stay humble and doesn't let anyone out work him."
A total of 888 players were nominated for the 12th annual D3baseball All-America team. From the All-Region selections, D3Baseball.com creates First, Second, Third and Honorable Mention All-America teams.
After being named First Team All-Mideast Region Monday, Parent advanced to the All-America ballot and picked up the prestigious honor of First Team All-America -- the first ever in Pitt-Bradford baseball history to do so.
"This season was something that I'll personally never forget," Parent said. "I'm proud of the fact that I could represent my family and my school in a positive way. All the credit goes to my teammates, Coach Foster, Coach Butler and my family and loved ones. Without the support system I have behind me, none of this would be possible."
Parent is the first member of the Pitt-Bradford baseball program to ever receive postseason recognition from D3Baseball.com since the website's inception in 2007.
He is the second Panther to ever earn All-America status from the D3Sports.com network and the first to ever earn a spot on the First Team. Matt Beacom of the Pitt-Bradford men's basketball team was tabbed D3Hoops.com All-America Honorable Mention in 2001-02.
The native of Gilbert, Ariz., started all 33 games and hit .496, which is the top batting average of any of the three NCAA levels. The nation's top hitter also leads the country with a .616 on-base percentage and is second nationally with a .916 slugging percentage.
His nine home runs are the most in Pitt-Bradford program history, while Parent's 48 RBIs and 109 total bases ranked second in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference, which helped earn him conference Player of the Year honors.
The catcher posted a .963 fielding percentage and threw out nine would-be base stealers.
His consistency at the plate showed as he finished out the season riding an 18-game hitting streak.
Parent was the driving force for the Panther team that finished 17-16 overall and 10-8 in AMCC play. He helped lead the team to one of its most successful seasons in recent time, as the 10 regular-season conference victories were the program's most since 2010. As a result, Pitt-Bradford earned the No. 4 seed in the AMCC Championship Tournament and hosted Penn State-Altoona for the First Round.
While Parent is the first Panther to ever earn First-Team All-America status within the D3Sports.com network, he is the second Pitt-Bradford student-athlete to be honored as an All-American this calendar year as senior Ali Rinfrette of the women's basketball team secured a spot as a College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-American at the conclusion of the season.
"Wow - what a fantastic year for UPB athletes!" Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Bret Butler said. "I am absolutely thrilled for Austin Parent and his family. This is also a great testimony to Coach Foster. All-American - that kind of says it all, doesn't it?
"Rinfrette and Parent have given us all so much to be proud of on the court and ball field, and also in the classroom. My hat is off to both of these elite athletes, as well to Coach Sharay Hall, former Women's Coach Sean Brown, and also to Coach Zach Foster."
Also earning First Team All-America status from the AMCC is relief pitcher Shane Emrich from conference champion La Roche.
In addition to being First Team All-Region and All-America for D3Baseball.com, Parent is also a member of the First Team All-Mideast Region for the American Baseball Coaches Association, which will release its All-America teams Thursday.