TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- Jeff Jenkins was named Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Coach of the Year to lead eight total all-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference honorees from Rose-Hulman in results released by the league office.
First-team all-conference honorees included sophomore second baseman Andrew Benitez (Mililani, Hawaii); freshman pitcher Ben Menich (Prospect, Ill./Mount Prospect); junior third baseman Bobby Newman (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg); and senior pitcher Jim Bob Schuler (Salem/North Harrison).
Second-team award winners included senior Will Burchett (Mokena, Ill./Providence Catholic) and sophomore Hank Akard (Indianapolis/Ben Davis). Senior Ryan Fuller (Fort Wayne/Elmhurst) claimed honorable mention all-league accolades.
Jenkins earned HCAC Coach of the Year honors after leading the Fightin' Engineers to their first regular season conference wide championship since 1996 and hosting rights for last week's league tournament.
The award marks the third career Coach of the Year award for Jenkins, who also received honors in 1992 and 1996. His career record stands at 631-410-2, including a Rose-Hulman mark of 586-345-1 in 23 seasons.
The coaching staff also includes 14th year assistant coach Sean Bendel and third-year pitching coach Scott Lawson.
Benitez emerged as the team's starting second baseman and emerged as a key factor in a defensive unit that ranks as the NCAA Division III national leader in double plays. Benitez hit .338 with 54 hits, 30 runs scored, nine doubles and two home runs offensively. Defensively he provided 96 putouts and 108 assists for a unit that leads NCAA Division III with 68 double plays turned.
Menich finished 6-1 on the mound as a freshman with a 2.98 earned run average. The right-hander tossed 57.1 innings and scattered 59 hits with 38 strikeouts. He recorded two complete in his nine starts and compiled a 6-0 mark during the regular season.
Newman amassed 122 assists and also provided a hot corner anchor for the nationally ranked Rose-Hulman defensive effort. The third baseman hit .324 with 48 hits, 11 doubles and three home runs. He also reached base in the first 39 games of the 2012 season to extend his school record to 52 consecutive games reaching base.
Schuler led the team in wins (7) and paced the team's starting rotation with 13 starts and three complete games. In a team-high 80 innings pitched, Schuler also led the squad with 52 strikeouts and compiled a 4.50 earned run average.
Burchett batted .282 this season with 44 hits, 29 runs scored, five doubles and two triples. His most important impact may have been in the field, as Burchett set a school record with 162 fielding assists and anchored the team's 68 double plays effort.
Akard provided a dual threat as a pitcher and outfielder. He finished 1-1 with a 3.13 earned run average and a team-high five saves in 46 innings as a pitcher. At the plate, the center fielder batted a team-high .371 with 62 hits, 33 runs scored and 14 doubles. He also stole a team-high 12 bases.
Fuller emerged as the most consistent member of the Rose-Hulman bullpen in 2012. The left-hander tossed 46.2 innings in 17 appearances with four saves. He compiled a 2.89 earned run average with 25 strikeouts to move into fifth place on Rose-Hulman's career list with five saves.
Rose-Hulman finished the spring with a 27-14 record for its 12th consecutive winning season. The Fightin' Engineers also qualified for their fifth consecutive HCAC Tournament, which they hosted on campus for the first time since 2003. The Fightin' Engineers also earned the 1,000th win in the history of the baseball program during their first win of 2012.