BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Two Western Kentucky University baseball players have earned preseason All-America honors. Senior slugger Chad Cregar was named to the National College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) First-Team as the top designated hitter as well as to the Louisville Slugger Second-Team as an outfielder. Junior pitcher Matt Ridings was selected to the Louisville Slugger Second-Team.
Among all three teams of both All-America lists, WKU owned three of the five spots occupied by the Sun Belt Conference.
Cregar is a 6-3 senior outfielder from Oxford, Miss. In leading WKU to the 2008 Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship and a spot in the NCAA Tournament, Cregar earned All-American Second-Team honors by the NCBWA last year. In his first year on the Hill, Cregar--a 47th round draft pick by the Chicago Cubs--finished with a team-high .360 batting average and tied for the team lead in hits with 90.
He also became the first Hilltopper since 1985 to hit 20 home runs in a season, finishing with 21 after his first-inning grand slam against TCU in the NCAA Regionals. That four-run shot also broke the WKU single-season RBI record as he finished the year with 82--three more than Mike Williams' previous mark set during the 1980 campaign. Named the Sun Belt Conference Newcomer of the Year, Cregar was an All-SBC First-Team selection in 2008.
Ridings is a 6-1 right-handed pitcher from Brentwood, Tenn. Last season, the junior was the ace of the Toppers staff with a 10-3 record in 15 starts and a 3.88 earned run average. He tossed one complete game while recording one save. In 97.1 inning pitched, Ridings allowed 42 runs and 99 hits, striking out 98 and walking just 36. He earned South Central All-Region Second-Team honors courtesy of the American Baseball Coaches Association.
For his two-year career, the 2007 PING! Freshman All-American is 17-6 with a 4.34 ERA.
WKU, the defending Sun Belt Conference Tournament Champions, will begin their season on Friday, February 20 when the Toppers host the University of Toledo in the first of a four-game series at 3:00 PM at Nick Denes Field.