SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Three members of the Bradley Baseball team were selected to the 2012 All-Missouri Valley Conference squad in a vote of the league's eight head coaches, according to an announcement by the league office today.
Senior pitcher Joe Bircher (Omaha, Neb./Roncalli Catholic H.S.) was named first team All-MVC, freshman second baseman Chris Godinez (Lake Bluff, Ill./Lake Forest H.S.) was named to the All-MVC second team and junior leftfielder Mike Tauchman (Palatine, Ill./William Fremd H.S.) was an honorable mention selection.
A second-team selection at starting pitcher in 2011, Bircher continued his dominance on the mound this season by posting a 7-3 record with a 2.62 earned run average in his 14 starts. During the course of the season, the 6-foot-4 lefthander has set Bradley's career records for strikeouts (293) and innings pitched (353.2). He has ranked among the nation's strikeout leaders all season and his 104 strikeouts through the regular-season are the most by a Bradley pitcher since Wyman Carey set the single-season school record with 120 in 1956.
Godinez leads the Braves with a .327 batting average, 32 runs scored and 10 stolen bases, despite starting the season as a reserve. He took over as the starting second baseman March 23 at Southern Illinois after Rob Elliott went down with a hamstring injury and has held the spot the rest of the season. His .327 batting average is the ninth-best by a Bradley freshman since the 1940s and ranks among The Valley's top 15. Godinez also has contributed four home runs and 16 runs batted in.
A second-team All-MVC choice in 2011, Tauchman overcame an early-season hamstring injury by batting .313 in Bradley's last 30 games and he led the Braves with a .338 average in league play. Tauchman will take a hot bat into the postseason after going 5-for-10 with two doubles, a triple, a home run and six RBI's in the final 3-game series against Dallas Baptist.
The all-conference trio will lead Bradley (26-25-1) into this week's State Farm MVC Baseball Championship in Springfield, Mo., where the Braves will face No. 2 seed and tournament host Missouri State (37-18) in the final game (7:30 p.m.) of Tuesday's opening round. All of the tournament's preliminary round games will be streamed live on ESPN3.com and Saturday's 7 p.m. championship game will be televised live on the MVC-TV network (FS Midwest, FS Indiana, FS Kansas City, Fox College Sports, Comcast SportsNet and ESPN3).