June 12, 2013
THE FLATS – College baseball All-America Teams were announced Wednesday by Baseball America and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and Georgia Tech junior OF Daniel Palka and junior C Zane Evans were selected to both squads.
Palka earned first-team recognition on both the Baseball America and NCBWA teams, becoming Tech’s first player to be named a first-team All-American since RHP Deck McGuire in 2009. He is the first Tech position player to earn first-team honors since catcher Matt Wieters in 2007 and the first outfielder since Jay Payton in 1994. All time, Palka becomes Tech’s 17th first-team All-American.
A first-team All-ACC pick and Louisville Slugger third-team All-American in the outfield, Palka was one of the nation’s most-feared power hitters. The junior from Lyman, S.C., leads the ACC with a career best 17 homers, and hit .342 this season with 13 doubles, three triples and tied for the team lead with 66 RBI. The power-hitting lefty was also a force on the mound, pitching 13.0 innings in eight appearances with a sterling 0.69 ERA. Palka was 2-1, with his wins coming in relief over No. 1 North Carolina and in the ACC Tournament versus No. 7 Florida State. He was Tech’s highest draft pick, going in the third round to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and signing with the club this week.
Evans was named to the NCBWA second team and Baseball America third team. He is one of three national finalists for the Johnny Bench Award, was a first-team All-ACC pick at catcher and also was named a third-team Louisville Slugger All-American. He paced the Yellow Jackets offensively and finished three home runs shy of winning Tech’s first Triple Crown since Mark Teixeira in 1999. The junior from Roswell, Ga., led Tech in batting average (.361), was tied for the team lead in RBI (66), led the team with 10 game-winning RBI, was second in home runs (14), second in hits (88), second in slugging (.590) and second in on-base percentage (.430). All of those numbers were career highs for Evans, who started every game, including 40 behind the plate as one of the ACC’s best defensive catchers. On the mound, Evans was 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA and a team-high three saves. Evans was drafted in the fourth round by Kansas City as is expected to sign this week.
Palka and Evans are the 45th and 46th players in school history to be named All-Americans, and that group has garnered a total of 116 All-America honors.
Georgia Tech’s First Team All-Americans
Year: Player, Position — Organization(s)
1986: Kevin Brown, P – TSN
1987: Riccardo Ingram, OF ABCA, BA
1988: Ty Griffin, 2B TSN
1991: Andy Bruce, 3B ABCA
1992: Jason Varitek, C ABCA, BA, CB
1993: Jason Varitek, C ABCA, BA, CB, NCBWA
1993: Nomar Garciaparra, SS NCBWA
1994: Nomar Garciaparra, SS ABCA, BA, CB, NCBWA
1994: Jay Payton, OF ABCA, BA, CB, NCBWA
1994: Jason Varitek, C ABCA, BA, CB, NCBWA
1994: Brad Rigby, P NCBWA
1997: Mark Fischer, OF TSN
1997: Kris Wilson, P NCBWA
1998: Chuck Crowder, P TSN
2000: Mark Teixeira, 3B BA, CB, BW, NCBWA, TSN
2005: Tyler Greene, SS BA, CB, NCBWA, USA
2006: Matt Wieters, C BA
2007: Matt Wieters, C BA, RC
2009: Deck McGuire, P CB, NCBWA
2013: Daniel Palka, OF – BA, NCBWA
Key: ABCA – American Baseball Coaches Association; BA – Baseball America; BW – Baseball Weekly; CB – Collegiate Baseball (TPX Louisville Slugger); NCBWA – National Collegiate Baseball Writers Assoc.; RC – Rivals.com; TSN – The Sporting News; USA – USA Today