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Dalton, Walsh Named To ABCA All-America Teams

Dalton, Walsh Named To ABCA All-America Teams

APPLETON, Wis.- University of Massachusetts Boston baseball players James Dalton (Apopka, Fla.) and Ryan Walsh (Newton, Mass.) were both named to the Rawlings/American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-America Third Team it was announced this evening at the 2010 Baseball Championship Division III Banquet in Appleton, Wis., the site of the Division III College World Series. 

The pair become the third and fourth UMass Boston athletes this year to earn All-America status, joining volleyball players, Kate McWhorter (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Shannon Thompson (Moorpark, Calif.).

Dalton caps the award season by becoming the Beacons' first pitcher to be named an All-American. Two weeks ago, he became just the second hurler in UMass Boston history to be named the Little East Conference Pitcher of the Year, following Nick Conway (2005-08), who earned the honor in both 2006 and 2008. Dalton led the LEC with a school-record 2.45 earned run average, while topping the league with an 8-1 record to establish a new Beacons' mark for win, 77 innings pitched, six complete games and a UMB all-time best three shutouts. The sophomore ranked second in the conference with 68 strikeouts, which is the second-highest mark in a season for a Beacon, while placing third in among league leaders with a .235 (67-285) opponents batting average against. The left-hander has proven to be one of the most durable pitchers in the league with 7.70 innings pitched per nine innings and kept base runners honest with three pickoffs to stand fourth in the conference. He's also been extremely tough with runners on base, holding opponents to a .180 (24-133) batting mark. Dalton has won eight straight decisions since losing UMass Boston's season opener over two months ago on March 13. He's hurled at least five innings in every start this season, while allowing three or fewer runs in all but two of his nine 10. The Apopka High School product was named the LEC Pitcher of the Week for the week of April 5-11 and has struck out six or more batters in eight outings, including at least seven in each of his last six starts. Dalton has been exceptional over his last six starts, going 6-0 with five complete games, a pair of shutouts and a miniscule 1.38 ERA, while allowing just 32 hits for a meager .178 (32-180) opponents batting mark. He's also given up just 19 walks to go with 49 strikeouts over 52 1/3 innings pitched during the stretch. His last two starts were playoff tournament openers, giving the Beacons its first win of the Little East Conference Tournament in a five-hit, 11-0 shutout over Rhode Island College, while fanning eight batters and walking four in nine innings on May 13. He came back the following week to strike out a career-best nine batters, while yielding three earned runs on four hits and three walks to defeat number 21 nationally-ranked Wheaton College (MA) in the first game of the NCAA Division III New England Regional Tournament on May 19.

Dalton previously pitched for Division II University of South Carolina Upstate in 2005, where he owned a 2.85 ERA and struck out 72 batters in 60 innings pitched over 25 appearances as a reliever. He is 14-4 (.779) in his career with a 2.63 earned run average and 140 strikeouts against 53 walks in 35 appearances.

Walsh completes the circuit of regular season awards with his second All-America selection this week. He was also a Third Team All-America honoree by D3baseball.com. He's been highly decorated with a First Team All-Region award from the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association and a First Team All-Star honor by the Little East Conference. The junior has put together the greatest offensive season in school history, breaking six UMass Boston records, while leading the Little East Conference in five categories and ranking among the top five in 13. He also stands among the nation's top 20 in four categories. The second baseman leads the league with a school-record 78 hits, 71 runs scored, 20 doubles, 59 runs batted in and 126 total bases, while ranking second with 31 stolen bases in 33 attempts. He places fifth in all of Division III in runs, 11th in stolen bases, 14th in doubles and 18th in hits. His school-record mark for walks (30) ranks third among LEC leaders as does his .656 slugging percentage. Walsh is hitting .406 (78-192) for the seventh-highest batting average of all-time at UMass Boston and ranks fourth among league leaders and his assist total of 109 is also the fourth-highest in the league. He also ranks fifth in the conference with eight home runs and a .494 on-base percentage. He has showed tremendous plate discipline with 18 more walks than strikeouts and has fanned just 12 times in 231 plate appearances for a rate of just once every 19.3 plate appearances. Walsh has also been one of the best defensive players in the nation with just five errors in 217 chances for a .977 fielding mark in 47 games, while leading all conference middle infielders with 27 turned double plays. The slick fielder has not committed a miscue in his last 71 chances, covering 16 games since April 29. The 6'0", 180-pound second baseman put together a season-high 18-game hitting streak from April 24 to May 20 and has hit safely in 30 of his last 32 games, while maintaining a season batting average of at least .400 over the last 27 games. He's failed to get a hit in consecutive games just once this season and has reached base safely via a hit, walk or bases on balls in 107 of his last 109 games dating back to April 8, 2008. A graduate of Newton North High School, Walsh registered just one total RBI in his first six games of the year, before driving in 11 runs over his next four games. His penchant for knocking in multiple runs proved to be a running theme throughout the campaign with a team-high 18 multi-RBI efforts, including a season-high of four coming on a ninth-inning grand slam to give the Beacons the difference in a 9-6 win at University of Southern Maine on May 2. He also led the squad with 27 multiple-hit games and strung together six straight games with two or more hits from April 10-18, where he batted a blistering .593 (16-27) during the stretch. Walsh's ability to cross the plate was highly evident during a 12-game stretch from April 24 to May 9, where he scored in every contest a total of 27 times and was named the LEC Player of the Week for the week of May 3-9.

Walsh has a .382 (194-508) career batting average, which is the highest in school history and one of eight career records the junior has broken this season along with 194 hits, 144 runs scored, 49 doubles, 290 total bases, 61 walks, 332 fielding assists and a .571 slugging percentage. He also ranks second with 115 runs batted in and 59 stolen bases, while his total of 13 homers is the fifth-most in school annals. He has played in 129 games to place fifth on the UMass Boston all-time list and has hit safely in all but 22 games of his career to contribute to an astounding .461 career on-base percentage.

UMass Boston is enjoying the greatest season in school history with a 32-15 record for the most wins ever at UMB, while winning its first-ever Little East Conference Tournament Championship and the NCAA Division III New England Regional crown to earn its first appearance in the NCAA Division III College World Series. The Beacons will be in action again when they take on No.15 Linfield College in the first round of the College World Series on Friday, May 28 at 2:15 p.m. EDT in Appleton, Wis.. UMass Boston has won nine straight games and 15 of its last 17 and has set school records in games played (47), hits (566), runs scored (437), runs batted in (371), total bases (841), home runs (49), doubles (116), slugging percentage (.489), bases on balls (183), stolen bases (126), times hit by pitch (64), innings pitched (410 2/3), shutouts (4), batters struck out (325), saves (12), putouts (1232) and fielding assists (463).