Four Mavericks Named to Southland All-Academic Teams
June 23, 2010
ARLINGTON, Texas - The University of Texas at Arlington baseball program had four student-athletes named to the 2010 Southland Conference Baseball All-Academic teams, the league office announced Wednesday. Twelve Southland baseball student-athletes were named to both the first and second teams.
Senior right-handed pitcher Jason Mitchell (Phoenix, Ariz.) and redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Rett Varner (Trophy Club, Texas) were first team selections while redshirt sophomore first baseman Jordan Vaughn (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and junior left-handed pitcher Mark Picca (Arlington, Texas) were second team members.
UT Arlington's four honorees were second in the league only behind Texas State's five (4 first team). UT Arlington was the only Southland school with two student-athletes earning all-academic recognition who were also selected in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft (Jason Mitchell, Rett Varner). In fact, besides Mitchell and Varner, only Northwestern State's Ryan Zimmerman was an MLB Draft pick and an all-academic team selection.
It was the first time since 2005 that a pair of Mavericks landed on the all-academic first team. It is the second consecutive year that four UTA baseball student-athletes were named all-academic (1 first team, 3 second team in 2009).
The All-Academic teams are voted on by the conference head coaches, sports information directors and academic/compliance administrators from each Southland Conference university. Student-athletes must possess a 3.0 cumulative GPA, have completed one full academic year at the nominating institution and participated in at least 50 percent of the team's competition to qualify for the all-academic squad.
Mitchell, an economics/business administration major, was an automatic first team selection after earning CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine All-Academic® District VI. Mitchell recently signed a professional contract with the Kansas City Royals after being selected in the 15th round (449th overall) of the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
He finished his UTA career in 2010 with a 7-6 record and with a school-record 113 strikeouts in 112.0 innings pitched with a 4.66 ERA. He led the team with five complete games and with two complete-game shutouts.
Mitchell was a second team All-Southland Conference pick and during his senior season became the first pitcher in the league to be named Southland Conference Pitcher of the Week on back-to-back occasions since 2005. Mitchell was tabbed conference pitcher of the week a total of four times in 2010.
His breakthrough performance in 2010 came at home on February 26, hosting Missouri State, when he struck out a school-record 18 batters in a near-no-hitter. He carried a no-hitter through 8.2 innings. Mitchell and UTA reliever Adam Boydston combined to match an NCAA all-time record with 26 strikeouts in the 14-inning contest.
Varner, an exercise science major, became the first UTA baseball player in school history to be selected twice in the MLB draft when the Florida Marlins picked him in the 6th round a year after he was drafted in the 34th round by the Chicago Cubs. Just recently Varner signed a contract with the Marlins.
He led the Mavs this season with an 8-5 record and a 3.56 ERA in 103.2 innings pitched. He struck out 95 batters -seventh all-time at UTA - and his ERA was fourth in the league. Varner was an honorable mention All-Southland Conference selection.
Vaughn, a business management major, was third on the team batting .314 (71-for-226) and tallied 41 runs, 14 doubles, three home runs and 30 RBI. He capped his first full season as the Mavericks starting first baseman by earning Southland Conference All-Tournament team.
In four Southland tournament games, Vaughn led UTA batting .389 (7-for-18) with four runs, two doubles and five RBI. He became just the second Maverick first baseman to be named all-tournament team.
Picca, a finance major, started in nine games (15 appearances) where he tallied a 2-6 record with an 8.28 ERA in 54.1 innings pitched. He combined on one shutout with 36 strikeouts and allowed 13 walks.
Primarily used as the Mavericks' midweek starter, Picca made starts against TCU (twice), Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma State, Dallas Baptist and Texas A&M to name a few. He logged at least six innings three times and struck out a career-high eight batters in consecutive starts against TCU (3/9) and Oklahoma Christian (3/16).
UTA Baseball Southland Conference All-Academic Team Selections (since 2005)