Ballou, Blair Named First Team All-Conference USA


Isaac Ballou (left) and Aaron Blair (right)

Isaac Ballou (left) and Aaron Blair (right)

May 21, 2013

Conference USA release

HOUSTON - Marshall senior Isaac Ballou and junior Aaron Blair have been selected All-Conference USA first team, announced the conference office Tuesday afternoon. 

It marked the first time either member of the Thundering Herd was named to a C-USA All-Conference team. 

Ballou, a senior outfielder from Smithfield, Va., led Marshall in hitting (.328), on-base percentage (.438), slugging percentage (.433), hits (66), walks (37), doubles (17), runs (40), and stolen bases (13). 

Marshall's primary centerfielder, he ranked third in C-USA in OBP and doubles, fourth in walks, runs, and stolen bases, eighth in batting average, and ninth in total hits. 

Within league action, Ballou was second in doubles, third in walks, fourth in OBP, and 10th in slugging. 

Ballou notched multiple hits in 18 games, including three three-hit games.  From March 2 to April 20, he reached base in 28 straight games, coming up one shy of his record of 29.  Toward the end of that span, Ballou also set a new personal record by hitting safely in 13 straight games. 

The 2013 season saw Ballou set the Marshall career walks record when he drew his 121st career base on balls on April 27.  Ballou finished his career with 129 free passes. 

Ballou also holds Marshall records in career triples (16), triples in a single season (seven, 2011), and walks in a single season (43, 2012).  His 16 triples are one shy of the C-USA record. 

Ballou maintained a fielding percentage of .99 on the season and registered two outfield assists, throwing runners out at the plate in each instance. 

Blair, a member of the 2011 C-USA all-freshman team, was named the C-USA pitcher of the week twice this season, following outstanding efforts against West Virginia (March 19) and No. 19 Houston (April 6).  In the WVU game, Blair was masterful for six hitless and scoreless innings in the rival clubs' first in-state meeting since 1998. 

Two starts later, Blair did much the same to the nationally-ranked Cougars, clinching a series victory for the Thundering Herd after eight innings of two-hit ball.  Blair struck out a season-high 11 in both the WVU and UH starts. 

Blair's performance against Houston helped him receive the NCBWA national pitcher of the week and Louisville Slugger national pitcher of the week honor.  It marked the first time a Marshall player received a weekly award at the national level since Nate Lape in 2008. 

Blair conceded only one run in his first 17 innings of conference play en route to seven quality starts in eight league chances.  In fact, Blair threw quality starts in 10 of his last 11 starts and combined for three shutouts this season. 

Against Memphis (May 4), Blair turned in a complete-game three-hitter. 

Blair finished the season 5-5 with an ERA of 2.85.  He struck out 84 while walking 36 (2.33 SO:BB ratio) over 82.0 innings. 

Blair ranked fourth in C-USA in strikeouts looking (29), fourth in opposing batting average (.198), fifth in hits allowed (59), and seventh in C-USA in strikeouts (84).

In league-only games, Blair was tied for first in strikeouts looking (20), second in strikeouts (52), seventh in ERA (2.87), and eighth in opposing average (.222). 

Blair's 2013 campaign saw him rise to sixth all-time among Marshall's strikeouts leaders, registering his 200th career K against No. 20 Rice.  Blair also ranks eighth in career starts with 34.