MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – (Courtesy of UIC Athletic Communications) UIC redshirt sophomore Alex Padilla has been named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) All-America Third Team, the organization announced on Wednesday, June 14.
Padilla, the only player from the Horizon League on the first, second, or third team, was brilliant out of the bullpen during his first season in a UIC uniform. The Chicago, Ill., native posted an earned-run average of 0.45 with 10 saves in a team-high 28 appearances. Opponents batted .196 against the right-hander in his first season of Division I baseball and he averaged 8.0 strikeouts per nine innings, which was the second-best rate on the team.
In conference play Padilla was untouchable. He did not allow an earned run in 15 outings during Horizon League play, spanning 22.1 innings of work. He nailed down all seven save opportunities he had, while conference foes batted just .182 against him. Padilla allowed 14 hits in League play, only two of which went for extra bases.
The De La Salle Institute product is the second reliever in three seasons to post double-digit saves, joining Ryan Hinchley (2015). Padilla and Hinchley, however, are only two of only four Flames to ever reach at least 10 saves in a single season.
Padilla solidified the back end of a pitching staff that was one of the nation's best in 2017. The Flames posted the best team ERA in program history, 2.65, which also ranks second in the entire NCAA entering the College World Series. UIC also ranks second nationally in hits allowed per nine innings (7.0) and WHIP (1.11). The Flames also posted a school-record 11 shutouts in 2017, five of which Padilla helped to preserve.
Padilla, the 2017 Horizon League Relief Pitcher of the Year, is the second UIC player to earn All-America honors this spring, joining catcher Rob Calabrese (Collegiate Baseball Second Team). He is the first Flames' pitcher to receive an All-America nod since David Cales and Zach Peterson were honored in 2007.