Photo by Tyler Lamb / MT Athletic Communications
With the conclusion of the Blue Raider baseball season on Saturday, Conference USA announced its all-conference teams today. Two Middle Tennessee players were honored, as junior designated hitter Aaron Aucker was named to the first team and senior shortstop Riley Delgado was given second team honors.
After opening the season with an injury and missing several weeks, Aucker returned to the field with a vengeance and maintained his hot streak all season. The Knoxville, TN native finished the campaign with a .359 batting average, 41 runs batted in and a team-leading 10 home runs.
He also ranked third in the conference with a .641 slugging percentage and was in the top ten with an on-base percentage of .448.
For head coach Jim McGuire, his season was more impressive when you factor in the injuries he struggled with early on.
“Aaron had a tremendous year. He battled through injuries to put up big-time numbers, and every time he was in the lineup, we seemed to score runs,” McGuire said. “I’m very proud of what he did this year, while going through a lot of adversity.”
Delgado had an extremely productive first season with Middle Tennessee and his second was no exception. He gave the Blue Raiders a steady presence by starting all 55 games at shortstop, and did not disappoint at the plate. He finished 19th in the country with 82 hits, leading the team for the second straight season.
The senior also led the team in runs scored with 41 and was second in both doubles with 15 and walks with 23. Impressive also was his performance in the classroom, as he was named to the Conference USA all-academic team on Monday.
He ranks seventh all-time in Blue Raider history with a career .369 batting average, and McGuire knows that his inclusion on the team is very well-deserved.
“Riley is very deserving of this award, it is very tough to put up the numbers he has in both years he’s been here,” McGuire said of his shortstop. “He is a lead by example, offensively and defensively, and is one of the best infielders in Conference USA.”
The two combined to lead an offense for MTSU that gave them a chance is almost every game they were in. As a team, Middle Tennessee finished the season 13th in the nation in hits, 26th with a .306 batting clip and 36th in total doubles.
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