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2017 ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Division I All-Region Teams
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Ohio baseball senior outfielder Spencer Ibarra (Fort Collins, Colo.) has been named to the 2017 ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Division I Mideast All-Region Second Team, as announced by the American Baseball Coaches Association on Wednesday (June 14).
The teams are voted on by members of the American Baseball Coaches Association and the process is led by the ABCA NCAA Division I All-America Committee.
Ibarra earned all-region honors for the first time in his career and becomes to the first Bobcat to receive such distinction since senior right-handed closer Logan Cozart (New Philadelphia, Ohio) and sophomore outfielder Mitch Longo (Mayfield, Ohio) garnered second team recognition in 2015.
A total of six Mid-American Conference players were named to the 2017 ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Division I Mideast All-Region Teams. Ibarra was joined on the second team by Buffalo senior designated hitter Vinny Mallaro while Ball State senior second baseman Sean Kennedy, Western Michigan junior outfielder Tanner Allison, Central Michigan junior outfielder Daniel Jipping and Kent State sophomore right-handed pitcher Joey Murray earned spots on the first team.
Ibarra helped the Bobcats finish 2017 with 31 wins -- including 11 in MAC play, which placed Ohio fifth in the overall league standings. Under the direction of fifth-year head coach Rob Smith, No. 5-seeded Ohio capped an improbable league postseason run by defeating No. 3-seeded Eastern Michigan, 7-4, to clinch the 2017 MAC Championship title on May 28 at Sprenger Stadium in Avon, Ohio. Ohio earned its third MAC tournament title (1997, 2015, '17) with the victory. The Bobcats opened 2017 MAC Championship play by beating No. 4-seeded Ball State, 4-3, on May 24. Ohio then advanced to the winner's bracket final thanks to a late-night 5-3 win over No. 1-seeded Kent State the following day. The Bobcats eliminated the Golden Flashes with a 7-2 victory last Saturday (May 27), marking the fourth time in five tries Ohio emerged victorious over MAC regular season champion Kent State in 2017. After missing the national postseason tournament 17 years in a row, Ohio punched its second NCAA Regional ticket in the last three years as the MAC's automatic bid with the victory over Eastern Michigan, advancing to the 2017 NCAA Championship Lexington Regional. The No. 4 regionally-seeded Bobcats fell to No. 1 regionally-seeded Kentucky, 6-4, on June 4, then dropped an 11-2 decision to No. 2 regionally-seeded Indiana the following day.
Ibarra played in a career-high 58 games in 2017 with a career-high 57 starts, leading the team in batting average (.325), slugging percentage (.542), on-base percentage (.398), hits (78), doubles (14; tied for team lead), home runs (12) and runs scored (47) -- all of which represented career highs. The First Team All-MAC selection also tied for second on the team with a career-high 38 RBIs and tied for third with a career-high 22 walks. Ibarra Led the team with 23 multi-hit games and tied for the team lead with 10 multi-RBI games. He was also named to the 2017 All-MAC Defensive Team after posting a .992 fielding percentage with 115 putouts and just one error. Ibarra garnered MAC East Division Player of the Week honors twice (March 20, April 4). In MAC play, he hit .333 with 31 hits (second on the team) -- including a team-high nine doubles and four home runs -- to go along with 14 RBIs and 21 runs scored (second on the team). Ibarra garnered 2017 MAC Championship Most Valuable Player distinction, joining outfielder Bart Leahy (1997) and Cozart (2015) as the only players in Ohio's history to earn such honors. Ibarra hit .368 with seven hits, two RBIs and three runs scored over four league tournament games. An Economics major with a 3.350 GPA, Ibarra received 2017 Academic All-MAC Team selection last Friday (June 10).