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5 Illinois Baseball players earn Big Ten honors

The Big Ten Conference announced its yearly awards Tuesday with Illinois' Jack Yalowitz (first team), Pat McInerney (second team) and Michael Massey (third team) earning spots on All-Big Ten teams. Massey and Casey Dodge were named to the All-Freshman Team and Anthony Drago was a Sportsmanship Award honoree.

The Big Ten awards were voted on by the conference's coaches.

Jack Yalowitz - All-Big Ten first team

Yalowitz had a breakout season, batting .335 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs. The sophomore was the only Big Ten player to post double-digit home runs and stolen bases during the regular season. He was also the only underclassman in the nation to have a batting average of .335+ with 12+ homers and 10+ steals. Yalowitz finished in the Big Ten's top 10 in seven of the top nine major offensive stat categories, including fourth in homers.

Pat McInerney - All-Big Ten second team

McInerney earned his second career All-Big Ten honor after hitting .309 with 15 home runs and 44 RBIs. He was second in the Big Ten in home runs and would have had a good chance at All-Big Ten first team had he not played the same position as Big Ten Player of the Year Jake Adams (.344, 24 HR, 65 RBIs). McInerney was behind only Adams in both home runs and slugging percentage (.750 to .593) in the Big Ten's stats rankings. The senior's 15 homers were a career-best and puts him tied for ninth all-time in a single season by an Illini.

Michael Massey - All-Big Ten third team, All-Freshman Team

Massey put together one of the best freshman seasons by an Illini in recent years. He hit .330 with six homers and 36 RBIs, while starting every game at second base. Massey made just six errors in 51 games and helped Illinois rank No. 1 in the nation in double plays per game (1.18). Massey led all Big Ten second basemen in batting average during conference games (.354) and led all freshmen and second basement in hits (69).

Casey Dodge - All-Freshman Team

After redshirting last season, Dodge started 46 of 51 games at designated hitter for the Illini. He hit .280 and tied for third on the Illini with 23 walks for a .368 on-base percentage. After three hits in his first career start Feb. 18 against Milwaukee, Dodge remained one of Illinois' most consistent hitters. His average never dropped below .268 during the season.

Anthony Drago - Sportsmanship Award

Drago earned the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, an honor given to one student-athlete from each conference program. Sportsmanship Award winners have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, these honorees must be in good academic standing and must have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Drago was also a finalist for Illinois' Spirit Award.