UTA'S PENCE CHOSEN AS 2004 SABR METROPLEX COLLEGE BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Aug. 23, 2004
ARLINGTON, Texas -
Outfielder Hunter Pence has become Texas-Arlington's first recipient of the prestigious 2004 Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Hall-Ruggles Chapter Metroplex CollegeBaseball Player of the Year.
The '04 Southland Conference Player and Hitter of the Year led the SLC in both hitting with a .395 average and .616 sluggingpercentage.
"This is another great honor for Hunter," said head coach Jeff Curtis. "He is rightly deserving for all the hard work that he put forth on the field."
The 6-4, 215-pound outfielder from Arlington, Texas, via Arlington HSand Texarkana (Texas) Junior College had the stellar season despite a nagging hip flexor strain that bothered him throughout the campaign. Playing in 47 contests for coach Jeff Curtis' Mavericks, the two-time All-Southland Conference standout drove in 35 runs with eight home runs, eight doubles and five triples. He also scored 47 runs (average of one per game) and was 10-for-10 in the stolen base department during the 2004 season.
Nominated for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers All-America team and the Xanthus Dick Howser Player of the Year Trophy, Pence was at his best when UTA faced the Oklahoma Sooners in '04.
He went 10-for-19 (.526 average) with two home runs, 11 RBI and six runs scored in the Mavs' four games against OU as a senior. During one game at Norman, Okla., in that series, he was 4-for-6 with four RBI. In the 44 games where Pence had more than one official time at-bat, he had 24 multi-hit games and 10 multi-RBI encounters.
For his two-year career at Texas-Arlington, he batted .371 with 23 doubles, 11 triples, 16 homers, and 77 RBI. His .371 career average is third-highest on the UTA all-time list.
After his stellar career, he was the 64th choice overall in the second round of the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft to become the highest Mavericks' alumnus ever selected by MLB teams. The Houston Astros drafted him, and Pence starred in five games for the Highland Park Blue Sox in the Texas Collegiate League before inking with Houston.
He later signed with the Astros and was assigned to the Tri-City Valley Cats of the New York-Penn League. He batted as high as .320 at one juncture in his first professional assignment and has been around the .300 mark for most of 2004.
Pence is scheduled to receive a commemorative plaque and recognition at a Texas Rangers' game to be determined in September in his hometown.
Previous winners of the SABR Metroplex College Baseball Player of the Year have been Scott Malone, TCU, 1993; Jason Parsons, Dallas Baptist, 1994; Johnny Issom, Texas Wesleyan, 1995; Karl Chatman, Dallas Baptist, 1996; Brandon Harper, Dallas Baptist, 1997; Royce Huffman, TCU, 1998; Cody Sundbeck, Dallas Baptist, 1999; (co) Jon Browder, Dallas Baptist; Pat Hannon, Texas Wesleyan, 2000; Mike Hall, Texas Wesleyan,2001; Terry Trofholz, TCU, 2002; Clayton Jerome, TCU, 2003.