GREENSBORO, N.C. – Junior catcher Austin Parent of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford baseball team completed the sweep of the Division III awards week as he was voted Rawlings/American Baseball Coaches Association First Team All-America, officials announced Thursday.
"A clean sweep of awards for Austin. This caps off one of the most amazing seasons in UPB baseball history," Head Coach Zach Foster said. "I was very fortunate to be able to be on the field witnessing it. This is great for Austin, UPB Baseball, UPB Athletics and the University as a whole. Austin has taken advantage of every opportunity thrown at him and that will always lead to success in whatever he's doing. As I said before, I am very proud of A.P. and the way he has matured, not only as a player but a young man."
Parent is the first member of the Pitt-Bradford baseball program to earn All-American status from the ABCA. The last Panther to be recognized by the ABCA was Mid-Atlantic All-Region Second Team selection Derek Smith in 2012.
Parent's Rawlings/ABCA All-America status comes after he earned a spot on the All-Mideast Region First Team, which was announced Tuesday. Each member of the eight All-Region First Teams was automatically nominated to the All-America ballot, and Parent was selected above the other seven First Team All-Region catchers as First Team All-America.
The ABCA was founded in 1945 and is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. Over 9,000 members represent all 50 states and 25 countries broadened to include eight divisions: NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, NJCAA, Pacific Association Division, High School and Youth.
The honorees were announced at the opening ceremonies of the NCAA Division III College World Series in Appleton, Wis., Thursday night.
"I am beyond proud of A.P. for being named to the Rawlings ABCA All-America First Team," Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and former Head Baseball Coach Bret Butler said. "I have been a member of the ABCA for a very long time, and to have a UPB baseball player named to their All-America First Team makes me extremely happy and proud. A.P. is a great example of what a Division III athlete is all about: he is a very good student, volunteers often with his teammates in the community and works hard at his trade in the weight room and on the field."
Thursday's ABCA All-America announcement is Parent's second is as many days, as he was announced D3Baseball First Team All-America Wednesday. He was also the fourth Panther in history to receive the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Player of the Year award.
His historic postseason success comes after a season in which he rewrote Pitt-Bradford's baseball record books. His nine home runs are the most in a single season in program history, while his .496 batting average and .616 on-base percentage were also the top marks by a Panther in a single season.
The Gilbert, Ariz., native's batting average leads not only NCAA Division III but all three NCAA levels. His on-base percentage is also the top in any NCAA level, as he is the lone collegiate player in the whole country to post an on-base percentage over .600.
Parent started all 33 games and finished second in the AMCC with 48 RBIs and 109 total bases.
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.
He is the lone member of the AMCC to receive Rawlings/ABCA All-America honors this season.
Thursday's All-America announcement rounds out a banner year for Pitt-Bradford Athletics, which saw Parent earn a pair of First Team All-America spots as well as the AMCC Player of the Year, and Ali Rinfrette of the women's basketball program earn College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America status, a spot as one of 10 finalists for the Josten's Trophy and the AMCC Woman of the Year award announced Wednesday.
"What a great year for UPB Athlete national recognition: Ali Rinfrette and Austin Parent - All-America - I have never been prouder!" Butler reflected. "All-American Athletes and All-American people for sure. Two examples of excellence for our younger athletes to emulate."