Nordgren voted SAA Pitcher of the Year; McCracken is Newcomer of the Year

Miles Nordgren & Taylor McCracken (photos by Cari Dean)
Miles Nordgren & Taylor McCracken (photos by Cari Dean)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.–Junior Miles Nordgren and freshman Taylor McCracken have been voted Southern Athletic Association Baseball Pitcher and Newcomer of the Year, respectively, in exclusive voting by the league's head coaches.

Nordgren, a junior right-hander from Gadsden, Ala., was lights out on the mound for Birmingham-Southern in 2013 on his way to earning the SAA Pitcher of the Year distinction. Pitching primarily in relief, Nordgren was on the hill for the Panthers for 54.1 innings and recorded the league's lowest ERA of 1.16. His microscopic ERA also ranked 21st nationally for D-III pitchers. Nordgren fanned 47 opponents, ranking him seventh in the league in that category. He was 5-0 on the year with a save and only allowed six extra base hits, all doubles, to his otherwise mystified opponents.

McCracken, a freshman infielder/outfielder from Oxford, Miss., enjoyed an outstanding debut campaign for Birmingham-Southern to win Newcomer of the Year status. Heading into the postseason, McCracken's .331 batting average was tops on a Panther squad that was nationally ranked for a good portion of the season. McCracken also swiped 15 bases during the regular season, 5th most in the SAA. His stellar season also included being ranked inside the top 15 of the league leaders in runs, hits, walks, sacrifice hits and on-base percentage to seal his Newcomer of the Year appointment.

Nordgren, sophomore Jacob Mayfield, and senior pitcher Blake Yance all earned First-Team All-SAA honors, while McCracken was voted to the Second Team and sophomore pitcher David Bourbonnais was Honorable Mention All-Conference.

Mayfield, a catcher/infielder from Gadsden, Ala., leads the conference with five home runs and is ranked fourth with 33 RBI and 78 total bases. He is also fifth with 12 doubles and two triples, and ninth with a .476 slugging percentage and 34 runs.

Yance, a right-handed closer from Chelsea, Ala., is ranked fourth in the nation with 11 saves. He's thrown 35 innings this season with eight earned runs for a 2.06 ERA. He's also struck out 41 batters, averaging 10.54 per game.

Bourbonnais, a right-hander from Atlanta, has a 2.65 ERA this season in 37.1 innings. He's fanned 46 batters while allowing 11 earned runs and 22 hits. Bourbonnais is also an offensive threat with a .290 batting average including 36 hits, six doubles and two triples.

The Panthers are in action next week in the championship series of the SAA tournament, facing Millsaps in a best-of-three series beginning Tuesday, May 7, at 3:30 p.m. in Jackson, Miss.