Krushena leads All-NCAC honors as Player of the Year

Denison baseball 2019 All-NCAC selections
Denison baseball 2019 All-NCAC selections

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Following the first NCAC Tournament title in program history and a trip to the NCAA Regional Championship in back-to-back years, Denison baseball was recognized by the North Coast Athletic Conference on Tuesday morning with seven All-NCAC selections for the 2019 season, including junior Will Krushena as the Player of the Year and freshman Will McManaman taking home the Newcomer of the Year award.

Making his All-NCAC debut as a first-team selection, Krushena was named the conference's player of the year following a breakout season in 2019. Hitting .393 through 45 games this season, Krushena has set new career-highs with 70 hits, 21 doubles, 46 runs, 21 walks, and 68 RBIs while adding five home runs. His 68 runs driven in currently rank second in the country behind PSU Harrisburg's Travis Van Houten with 69. Krushena's year of first's also included a 28-game hitting streak that broke Charlie Apfelbach's record of 27 set back in 2013. Krushena broke the record in Denison's 12-9 win over Kenyon, the same game that he hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, home run), which was the second time in program history. The Bloomfield Hills, Mich. native is Denison's second-straight conference player of the year after Tanner Johnson earned the award in 2018.

As the NCAC Newcomer of the Year, McManaman also made a second-team appearance for the Big Red. Over 56 innings of work and 12 starts, McManaman has posted a current record of 6-1 with 50 strikeouts and a 3.38 earned run average. A native of Chicago, Ill., McManaman posted five-straight victories from March 17-April 11, including a career-best nine strikeouts at DePauw on April 3. McManaman is the second player in Denison history to earn the newcomer of the year honor and the first since 2001 when Adam Mandel took home the award.

Joining Krushena on the All-NCAC first-team included sophomores Max Lahn and Ty Robinson, junior Brian McAuliffe, and senior Danny Brackman.

Just like Krushena, Lahn jumped on the scene in 2019 with a team-leading .438 batting average and a conference-best 71 hits. He is currently one hit away from tying Adam Mandel for the program's single-season record for hits with 72. Also leading the team with 35 walks, the Charlotte, N.C. native also tallied 51 runs scored, 37 RBIs, 16 doubles, and 10 stolen bases while posting an on-base percentage of .531. He has also recorded 25 multi-hit performances this season.

Robinson and McAuliffe have provided Denison's biggest shot of power in 2019 with McAuliffe leading the way at 10 home runs, which is currently tied for the league-lead with Kenyon's Patrick O'Leary. A junior from Tuckahoe, N.Y., McAuliffe has posted career-highs in hits (52), runs (36), triples (4), home runs (10), and runs batted in (47).

Robinson is currently second on the team with seven home runs while adding 55 hits, 50 runs scored, 36 RBIs, and a batting average of .344. Notching 17 multi-hit games in 2019, Robinson's best showing so far came against Oberlin College on May 1 when the Hoover, Ala. native went 4-for-6 with two home runs, four RBIs, and three runs scored.

Brackman rounded out Denison's first-team selections after tying for the conference lead at eight wins. Through 74 innings of work this season, Brackman currently holds an 8-2 record with a team-leading 71 strikeouts and a 4.14 ERA. In the NCAC Championship game against Wooster, Brackman recorded a two-out save with three strikeouts to secure DU's first conference tournament title in program history. The native of Tampa, Fla. also set a new career-high with 10 strikeouts in Denison's 3-2 win at Ohio Wesleyan on April 20.

Senior Grady Paine claimed the Big Red's final All-NCAC honor of the season, earning a second-team nod for the second-straight year. Playing as Denison's primary designated hitter in back-to-back seasons, Paine has tallied a team-leading 58 runs and 14 stolen bases (also tops in the NCAC) with a .348 batting average, four home runs, and 30 RBIs. Against Wooster in the conference championship game, Paine went 3-for-5 with two runs, three RBIs, and a three-run home run that helped DU defeat the Fighting Scots.

The Big Red will turn their attention to this Friday through Sunday, May 17-19 when they compete in the NCAA Regional Championship hosted at Adrian College. They will open the tournament with La Roche College at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 17.