BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Western Kentucky University junior third baseman Wade Gaynor has been named a 2009 All-American by both Baseball America and the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), it was announced Thursday morning. The Hawesville, Ky. native was named to both groups' Second-Team, becoming the ninth Hilltopper in the program's history to earn postseason NCAA All-America honors.
Gaynor's amazing junior season led the Hilltoppers to unprecedented success. The 6-4 product of Hancock County High School batted .371 with 20 doubles, four triples, and 25 home runs. In guiding WKU to a share of its first-ever Sun Belt Conference Regular Season Championship, the program's second-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, and advancing to the winner-take-all game of the 2009 NCAA Oxford Regional, Gaynor tied a school record and finished fourth in the nation scoring 83 runs. He also drove in a league-leading 78 RBI, the 16th best total in Division I.
A Sun Belt All-Conference First-Team selection, Gaynor became the first player in WKU history to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in the same season. He slugged .781, had an on-base percentage of .457, and an impressive .940 fielding percentage while manning the hot corner.
Ranked in the top eighth in the Sun Belt in 12 different offensive categories, Gaynor was also fifth in the nation in home runs, second in total bases, 11th in slugging, and 31st in hits with 93.
On the biggest stage of his career, Gaynor shined in 2009. In five NCAA Tournament games at the Oxford Regional against the nation's best competition, Gaynor hit .333 and slugged .810 with three home runs and a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage earning him a spot of the NCAA Regional All-Tournament team.
For his three-year career at WKU, Gaynor batted .349 and slugged .617 in 177 games played. He ranks in the top five all-time at WKU in runs scored (fourth, 178), hits (fifth, 247), doubles (third, 51), home runs (third, 43), and RBI (fifth, 156). He was drafted in the third round of this month's Major League Baseball First-Year Players draft by the Detroit Tigers, the 89th overall pick, becoming the highest player ever draft in WKU history.
Gaynor, the 21st college position player selected in the draft, makes his professional debut tomorrow night for the Oneonta Tigers as the short season A club of the Tigers hosts the Tri-City ValleyCats in Oneonta, NY.
WKU closed out its historic season with the program's first national ranking since 2001, tabbed 23rd in the latest release of the College Baseball Top 30 poll. WKU finished their record-setting season at 42-20 and came within two innings of advancing to the program's first-ever NCAA Super Regional.
In notching the program's first 40-win season in 21 years, and fifth overall, WKU posted a 21-8 mark in league play to earn a share of the 2009 Sun Belt Conference Regular Season Championship, a first in the program's 26-year affiliation with the conference.
Earning the program's first at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, WKU went 3-2 in the Oxford Regional, equaling in three days what the program had accomplished in terms of number of postseason wins in the previous 89 years of Hilltopper baseball. WKU knocked off second-seeded Missouri twice as well as rallied for a remarkable 10-9 win over eighth-ranked Ole Miss to force a winner-take-all NCAA Regional Championship game.