RICHMOND, Va. – VCU's Baseball team was honored by the Atlantic 10 Conference on Tuesday when they announced their selections for All-Conference Awards. The Rams, who went 39-17 this season with a 19-5 record in A-10 play, had eight athletes and one coach win awards. Paul Witt, Liam Hibbits and Connor Gillispie each earned First team honors, while Zac Ching, Brett Norwood and Benjamin Dum were named to the Second team. VCU also had two athletes named to the All-Rookie team in Evan Chenier and Danny Watson, in addition to the Coach of the Year winner in Head Coach Shawn Stiffler.
Stiffler, who is in the midst of his seventh year at the helm of VCU's program, coached the Rams to their second Atlantic 10 Regular Season Title in the past three years. His leadership helped guide VCU to a first place finish in the conference and a No. 1 seed in this week's Atlantic 10 Baseball Tournament. His 39 wins this season moved his overall record with the Rams to 251-152. This marks Stiffler's first Coach of the Year Award.
Witt, a junior out of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., earned this selection after playing in and starting 56 games for the Rams this season. He recorded 74 hits and 47 runs scored on the year, including sixteen doubles and four homeruns. His 50 RBIs also set a new career-high, playing a big role in the Rams 39-win season. Witt finished the regular season with a batting average of .341. He was chosen to the First Team as a second baseman.
Hibbits, a native of New York, N.Y., was selected to the First Team for his play as a designated hitter this season. The sophomore left hander posted 75 hits and six homeruns for a regular season batting average of .381. Hibbits added an additional 34 runs scored and a team-leading 60 RBIs for the Rams. A career year for Hibbits, he set career-highs in every major statistical category.
Gillispie, a junior out of Earlysville, Va., got the nod as a First Team selection for his dominance on the mound throughout the year. The right hander appeared in 19 games with 19 starts. He earned five wins for the Rams this season and posted a career high 108 strikeouts in just 80 innings pitched. Gillispie's strong play this season led to a 2.58 ERA on the season.
Ching, a senior native of Lubbock, Texas, earned his spot on the all conference Second Team after holding down short stop for the Rams all season long. This year, Ching posted career highs in hits (71), runs scored (49), homeruns (6), RBIs (42) and batting average (.318). Earlier this season, he won the Atlantic 10 Player of the Week Award after a strong weekend series against La Salle. In one game, Ching hit for the cycle in just five innings played, contributing to a dominant 28-4 VCU win.
Norwood, a junior hailing from Chantilly, Va., was selected to the Second Team all conference as a third baseman in just his first season with the Rams after transferring. In his one season with VCU, Norwood posted 61 hits, 36 RBIs and five homers. He added 48 runs scored and posted a batting average of .313, while still playing stellar defense for the Rams infield.
Dum, a senior out of Elliottsburg, Pa., got the nod as a member of the All Conference Second Team as a relief pitcher. On the season, Dum made 20 appearances for the Rams out of the bullpen, striking out a career-high 61 batters along the way. A leader in the VCU bullpen, Dum recorded five wins and four saves for the Rams, while posting an ERA of 2.27.
Watson, a freshman native of Nassau, N.Y., earned a spot on the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team for his solid play out of the bullpen this season. The right hander recorded 22 strikeouts in 15 appearances, earning five wins and two saves along the way. Additionally, Watson's 2.15 ERA was the lowest mark on the team.
Chenier, a freshman out of Georgetown, Ontario, was selected to the All-Rookie team after a strong opening season out of the Rams bullpen. The 6'5 right hander won six games on the mound for VCU, while striking out 28 batters in 43 innings. Chenier appeared in 19 games this season, posting an ERA of 3.56.
The Rams open the Atlantic 10 Tournament on Thursday, May 23, when they face off against the winner of Fordham vs Richmond. That Thursday matchup is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.