BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo baseball team saw four student-athletes earn All-MAC honors on Tuesday night, as announced by the league at their annual postseason awards presentation. The Bulls placed Ben Haefner and Chris Kwitzer on the First Team All-MAC squad, senior Vinny Mallaro on Second Team All-MAC and senior Alex Thrower earned All-Defensive team honors.
This marks the second straight season the Bulls have placed two players on the All-MAC first team and it marks the most total members, four, since 2013 when they placed six players on All-Conference teams. The Bulls were one of three team, Kent State and Ohio, to have at least two players on the All-MAC first team.
Haefner earned All-MAC first team honors for the first time in his UB career as he grew into a leader on and off the field during his junior campaign. The shortstop turned in a career year at the plate for the Bulls as he started all 51 games and was able to collect a team-high and career-high 62 hits on the season. He finished off the season with career-highs in every major offensive category as he batted .326 with 38 runs, three home runs, 37 RBI, 81 total bases and 25 walks. He was able to record an on base percentage of .435 and a slugging percentage of .426 while batting third in the powerful UB lineup. In the field, Haefner produced 106 put outs and 140 assists while notching a .950 fielding percentage.
Kwitzer was recognized with First Team All-MAC honors for the first time in his impressive UB career despite missing 10 games due to injury this season. The senior produced in a big way at the plate for the Bulls this season as he became one of the most dangerous hitters in the MAC. Kwitzer posted a career-best .348 batting average to go along with nine doubles, four home runs, 30 RBI and 21 runs scored. He also led the Bulls with a .510 slugging percentage to go along with a .420 on base percentage as he started 40 games at third base. He finished off his UB career ranking seventh in program history in triples with 11. At the hot corner, Kwitzer was able to secure 33 put outs and 59 assists while committing just five errors on the season.
After earning First Team All-MAC last season, Mallaro was able to secure his second straight All-MAC appearance as he was named to the Second Team for the first time in his UB career. An injury at the end of last season forced Mallaro into the designated hitter role this season and the powerful righty produced another great season at the plate for the Bulls. He closed out his senior season posting a .285 batting average to go along with team-highs in home runs (eight), RBI (51) and doubles (13). He started all 51 games at designated hitter and scored 33 runs while owning a .477 slugging percentage and an .389 on base percentage.
Mallaro is one of the best power hitters in Buffalo history as he was able to become the Bulls all-time RBI king this past season as he finished off his impressive four-year career with 147 career RBI. He was also able to finish his career ranked fourth in home runs (26) and 10th in doubles (38). The Syracuse, NY native also became the first player in UB history to produce back-to-back 50+ RBI seasons as he knocked in 52 runs as a junior and 51 as a senior.
Thrower earned All-Defensive team honors for the first time in his career after he turned into one of the best center fielders in the MAC during his senior campaign. He joins 2015 Toronto Blue Jays draftee Nick Sinay as the only two players in UB history to earn All-Defensive team honors.
The speedy outfielder was able to finish the season with 116 put outs while committing no errors as a senior for a perfect fielding percentage of 1.000. Thrower was one of just three starting center fielders in the MAC, Zach Gilles (CMU) and Matt Eppers (Ball State), with at least 100 put outs and no errors. The Toronto, Ontario native finished off his career season at the plate batting .247 with 34 runs scored and 15 RBI while also owning a .404 on base percentage. Thrower was able to draw 44 walks on the season, second most in a single season in program history.
The Bulls closed out their 2017 campaign with an overall record of 17-34 to go along with an 8-16 MAC mark.
2017 MAC Baseball Postseason Awards
MAC Player of the Year
Tanner Allison, Western Michigan, OF
Joey Murray, Kent State, RHP
MAC Freshman of the Year
Jake Wilson, Bowling Green, OF
MAC Freshman Pitcher of the Year
Tyler Hankins, Central Michigan, LHP
MAC Defensive Player of the Year
Tyler Finkler, Ohio, SS
MAC Coach of the Year
Jeff Duncan, Kent State
All-MAC First Team
C—Robert Greenman, Central Michigan
1B – Dylan Rosa, Kent State
2B – Sean Kennedy, Ball State
3B – Chris Kwitzer, Buffalo
SS – Ben Haefner, Buffalo
OF – Luke Burch, Kent State
OF – Spencer Ibarra, Ohio
OF – Tanner Allison, Western Michigan
SP – Sam Delaplane, Eastern Michigan
SP – Joey Murray, Kent State
SP – Eli Kraus, Kent State
SP – Michael Klein, Ohio
RP – Jake Roehn, Ohio
DH – Tyler Harris, Miami
At-Large - Daniel Jipping, Central Michigan
All-MAC Second Team
C – Tim Dalporto, Kent State
1B – Ross Haffey, Miami
2B – Nick Vogelmeier, Western Michigan
3B – Connor Callery, Ohio
SS – Connor Smith, Western Michigan
OF – Matt Eppers, Ball State
OF – Daniel Jipping, Central Michigan
OF – John Mortgomery, Eastern Michigan
SP - Pat Leatherman, Central Michigan
SP - Tyler Hankins, Central Michigan
SP - Joe Hawks, Northern Illinois
SP - Ross Achter, Toledo
RP - Colton Bradley, Central Michigan
DH - Vinny Mallaro, Buffalo
At-Large - Caleb Stayton, Ball State
MAC All-Defensive Team
C - Tim Dalporto, Kent State
1B - Rudy Rott, Ohio
2B - Dom Iero, Kent State
SS - Tyler Finkler, Ohio
3B - Grant Miller, Western Michigan
OF - Matt Eppers, Ball State
OF - Alex Thrower, Buffalo
OF - Spencer Ibarra, Ohio
P - Zac Carey, Bowling Green