Four Baseball Players Earn MVC Scholar Athlete Honors

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Ty Blach was a unanimous
Courtesy: Eric Francis

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The Creighton baseball team continues to bring in the accolades this season, this time for the work of current Bluejays in the classroom.  The Bluejays have four members named to Missouri Valley Conference teams, with Ty Blach, Alex Staehely and Jimmy Swift being named to the first team while Nick Judkins earned honorable mention honors.  The Jays, 41-14, won the MVC regular season and tournament in the same season for the first time in school history and will start the NCAA Tournament on Friday, June 3 against Georgia.

Blach has already earned academic accolades this season, being selected to 2011 Capital One Academic All-District and All-America teams earlier last week.  The south paw, who was named a second team All-MVC pitcher this season, is a three-time Prairie Farms MVC Scholar Athlete of the Week, earning the award on March 14, April 20, and May 17 of this season.  Blach moved from the Friday night starter to the Saturday starter two-thirds of the way through the season, and helped the Bluejays secure the MVC Regular Season and Tournament championships.  The third-team Freshman All-American a year ago has a 10-2 record this season, leading the team with 17 starts on the year and holding a 2.72 ERA in his 96.0 innings of work.  Blach threw 3.2 shutout innings against Wichita State in the tournament championship game, striking out MVC Player of the Year Chris O'Brien two times. 

Blach struck out a career high nine batters in a 3-2, 10-inning win over Southern Illinois and holds 93 total K's on the season, second on the team.  He finished the season ranked in the top-10 in MVC in six categories including ERA (5th), innings pitched (6th), batters struck out (4th), wins (t-2nd), games started (1st) and runs allowed (T-2nd).  He is currently tied for 4th on the Creighton career charts in winning % in a season with .833 and is tied for 7th in wins in a season with 10.  The sophomore from Centennial, Colo., holds a 3.82 gpa in Business.

Staehely has remained one of the most consistent hitters in the Bluejays lineup this season, with a .286 batting average, good enough for second among the every day starters.  He is one of four players on the team to have started every game this season, picking up 62 hits in the 2011 campaign.  Staehely leads the team with 22 doubles, a figure that places him in a tie for 8th on the all-time single season Creighton charts.  His 22 doubles are the most for a single Bluejay since 2005 when Dan Norquist reached the 22-mark.  He sits in a tie for second on the team with 12 sacrifice bunts and is 8-for-9 in stolen bases this season.

One of two true freshmen since 1989 to start every game of his first season, Staehely has continued the string into this season, starting 110 straight games for the Jays.  Staehely put together an eight game hit streak from 2/22-3/7 this season, with six of the eight games being multi-hit games.  He is second on the team with 19 multi-hit games this season.  Staehely was named MVC Scholar Athlete of the Week on March 21.  Staehely, a sophomore from Sugar Grove, Ill., holds a 3.50 gpa in Economics/Finance.

Swift has picked up a couple different MVC honors this season, earning Scholar Athlete of the Week on February 21, Player of the Week on May 2 and First Team All-MVC following the season.  He moved to shortstop this season after playing at the hot corner the last three seasons and holds a .963 fielding percentage this season.  Swift has started every game the last three seasons (165), which leads the current team.  Swift is second on the team with 11 multi-RBI games, including driving in 10 in the series against Bradley, when he went 7-for-10 from the plate with three doubles, two in the same season. 

Swift, a senior from West Des Moines, Iowa, holds a 3.50 gpa in Finance.

Judkins holds a 3.41 gpa in Business at Creighton.  The Lakeville, Minn., native has been one of Creighton's best defensive assets this season, committing just two errors at first base in his 573 chances, for a .997 fielding percentage.  He has 533 putouts, which ranks him 8th on the Creighton all-time charts.  He was named a Gold Glove award winner last season while playing at Iowa Central Community College.  The junior has been a team player by definition this season, moving to play first after coming to CU as a middle infielder.  He is tied for second nationally in sacrifice bunts in a season, dropping 21 this year while hitting in the No. 2 spot. 

Judkins holds a .225 batting average this season and a .317 on-base percentage with 23 walks, second on the team.  He is 2-for-4 in stolen bases this season and has scored 42 runs, also second on the team. 

The criteria for the Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete Team voting parallels the CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) standards for Academic All-America voting. Nominees must be starters or important reserves, with at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average. Student-athletes must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at their institution and must have completed at least one full academic year at their institution.

First Team
Jared Baehl, Evansville
Ty Blach, Creighton
Kyle Burnam, Indiana State
Aaron Conway, Missouri State
Trentt Copeland, Evansville
Ryan Court, Illinois State
Kevin Hall, Wichita State
Koby Kraemer, Indiana State
Jeremy Lucas, Indiana State
Brent Seifert, Missouri State
Alex Staehely, Creighton
Jimmy Swift, Creighton

Honorable Mention
J.C. Casey, Missouri State
Brock Harding, Southern Illinois
Chad Hinshaw, Illinois State
Nick Judkins, Creighton

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