May 4, 2012
LUBBOCK, Texas - For a second-straight season Northern Illinois senior Alex Jones was named to the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Watch List, awarded to the country's top player at that position. Of the 17 conferences represented on the list, Jones is the only one from the Mid-American Conference.
Sponsored by Mizuno, the yearly award is presented to the country's best shortstop on June 30 in Lubbock, Texas, as part of the College Baseball Hall of Fame's Night of Champions.
"This is good recognition Alex, not only for the work he's done this year, but also the fact that he was first team All-MAC and first team all-region shortstop," said Head Coach Ed Mathey. "It recognizes the nation's best shortstop and it's a prestigious award centered around the College Baseball Hall of Fame."
Jones is on pace for another solid season with the Huskies in the field and at the plate. Through 43 games this season, the Kansas City, Kan. native has committed only three errors and carries a team-high fielding percentage of .985 with 76 putouts and 115 assists. He has been a key cog to Northern Illinois' double play threat as the team was ranked in the top-50 in nation earlier in the season and has turned 34 this season.
At the plate Jones leads the Huskies several categories, including batting average (.327), hits (56), doubles (17), triples (3), runs (29), total bases (82), slugging percentage (.480) and on-base percentage (.382). Eight times this season, Jones has has driven in two-or-more RBI in a game, including four in a 10-5 win over Akron on March30.
Statistically Jones is 37th in the NCAA, second in the MAC, in doubles this year and 32nd in doubles per game (0.39) as of the NCAA's statistic report from April 29.
It is the fifth time in the last seven years a Huskie has been recognized on the Brooks Wallace watch list. Prior to the award being given to shortstops only since 2009, former NIU first baseman Scott Simon (2006-07) and pitcher Andy Deain (2008) were recognized on the watch list as well. Jones was a 2011 watch lister as well.
Mathey added that "it's a nice recognition for the baseball program. It shows we are developing kids at a high-level that earns them national recognition. In the following weeks as the list begins to dwindle, we hope to see Alex on it."
The Brooks Wallace Award is a dedication to the memory of the former Texas Tech player and assistant coach. Wallace was a slick-fielding shortstop at Tech from 1977-80. A four-year starter, he was named All-Southwest Conference and All-District VII his senior year. He led the Red Raiders to their first appearance in the Southwest Conference Tournament in 1980.
After playing two years in the Texas Rangers organization, he returned to Texas Tech and served as a graduate assistant and later as an assistant coach. In the summer of 1984, he was diagnosed with cancer and fought the disease courageously until his death on March 24, 1985, at age 27. The Plano, Texas, native was married to the former Sandy Arnold and they had one daughter, Lindsay Ryan.
The Huskies will be in action this weekend for a three game series against Central Michigan, beginning Friday afternoon at 3:05 p.m. NIU trails CMU two-games in the MAC West standings this year.