The Gustavus baseball team’s Grant Soderberg (Fy., Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Drew Block (Jr., Rochester, Minn.) highlighted the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s post season awards released earlier this week. Soderberg was named the MIAC Rookie-of-the-Year, while Block was named to the All-Conference Team by by a vote of the league’s coaches.
After a quick transition from the hardwood to the baseball diamond, Soderberg quickly became a starter in the Gustavus pitching rotation.
“Grant did an excellent job for a freshman, stepping in and being an impact starter. He had some tough luck at times, but pitched 39 innings, had four complete games with six starts in the conference. He was dominating at times and that bodes very well for our team for the future,” said Head Coach Mike Carroll.
Soderberg went 3-5 this season and sported a 2.73 ERA. He struck out an average of 5.75 hitters per game, with a season-high 11 strikeouts coming against Saint John’s on April 29. In all eight of his starts, Soderberg threw a minimum of five innings. Four of his eight starts were complete games, all coming in MIAC play. He held a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5:1 throughout the course of the season and ranked third in the MIAC in strikeouts (35), fourth in innings pitched (39.0) and ninth in opponent batting average (.247).
Drew Block garnered All-Conference distinction for the first time in his career. Starting all 35 games at first base for the Gusties, Block was the power source in the Gustavus lineup this season . “I’m very proud of Drew and how he bounced back from a serious wrist injury the year before. He was in our three-hole most of the year and was one of the conference leaders in doubles, triples, home runs, and slugging. He also improved defensively at first base, and was one of the best leaders on the team.”
Block hit .352 (37-105) with 22 runs, 22 RBI, four doubles, five triples and three home runs this season. To go along with his league-best slugging percentage of .571, Block also carried a .469 on-base percentage (3rd/MIAC). He finished fifth in the MIAC in bases-on-balls (19), and only struck out 14 times in 105 at-bats. The junior was also a staple defensively at first base, recording a .988 fielding-percentage with 237 put-outs, nine assists, and three errors.
As a part of the conference-wide sportsmanship initiative, the MIAC also announced the sixth annual All-MIAC Sportsmanship team for baseball. Members of the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates as individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field of competition.
Gustavus’ representative on this season’s All-Sportsmanship Team is Erik Sveen (Excelsior, Minn.). The senior captain was an integral part of this year’s ball club, leading both on and off the diamond. Sveen started all 35 games in coach Carroll’s outfield. He hit .358 and led the team in hits (43), runs (31), and doubles (7). Sveen was a defensive stalwart from start to finish, ending the year with a perfect fielding-percentage of 1.000 after 58 put-outs and two assists.