|KSU Junior Catcher Ronnie Freeman|
For a team to have success in the postseason its stars need to shine, and that is exactly what junior Ronnie Freeman has done in his brief postseason career for Kennesaw State.
In his two games in the 2010-11 A-Sun Championship, Freeman went 6-for-9 with a homerun, two runs scored and two RBI. Playing in the Owls’ second consecutive Championship appearance this season, Freeman is 4-for-8 with the RBI that gave the Owls the lead over Belmont in the 3-1 victory that saved KSU from elimination.
The Lawrenceville, Ga., native also entered this year’s championship on a tear, hitting .411 (30-for-73) over his final 18 games of the regular season. A preseason All-Conference honoree, Freeman did not disappoint this season as he finished in the top 10 of A-Sun statistics, including fifth in the A-Sun in batting average (.353), eighth in on-base percentage (.425), sixth in hits (76), tied for second in RBI (52) with teammate Andy Chriscaden, and 10th in total bases (107).
But what else would you expect from one of the A-Sun’s top players in 2011-12, one that is expected to be one of the conference’s top draft picks in the next month?
According to Perfect Game, KSU leads the A-Sun with seven of the conference’s top-25 prospects for the upcoming 2012 MLB draft: No.2 prospect Max Pentecost (projected rd. 2-4), No.3 Ronnie Freeman (rd. 2-4), No. 6 Steve Janas (rd. 4-6), No.12 Catlan Kendrick (rd. 10-15), No. 18 Travis Dean (rd. 12-20), No.21 Nathan Harsh (rd. 12-20), No. 22 Andy Chriscaden (rd. 15-25).
As a team player, Freeman’s play and leadership helped the Owls finish 32-24 (15-11) and secure the No. 3 seed in the A-Sun Championship. His Owls knocked off ACC foe Virginia Tech, 6-3, in early February and won series from Jacksonville State, Jacksonville, and ETSU and from three of the five teams in the A-Sun championship (Stetson, Belmont, and Mercer). KSU also swept Georgia State, UAB, and A-Sun foe North Florida.
Individually the honors keep on coming for the junior catcher, as he was one of 13 players voted to the A-Sun Baseball Academic All-Conference Team. Freeman posted a cumulative GPA of 3.88 while majoring in exercise and health science at KSU.
He is also an All-Atlantic Sun First Team selection this season, one of only three players to be unanimously selected for the honor. Freeman was also selected as Player of the Week on March 19 as he went 9-for-23 on the week with 12 RBI and two runs scored in the wins over UAB and Mercer. It was his fourth POW career POW honor.
Standout catcher Ronnie Freeman’s success has not just happened overnight. As a sophomore he batted .392 while earning Second Team All-Atlantic Sun Conference honors. He played this summer in the NECBL and was named one of the top prospects in the league while also enjoying a stint playing for the USA Collegiate National Team, where he hit .500 (5 for 10).
Freeman also made headlines last season as he set the Kennesaw State record with a 42-game hitting streak. The streak is the 12th longest in the history of the NCAA and the fifth longest in NCAA Division I history. It is also the longest Division I hitting streak in the state of Georgia.
As a freshman, Freeman enjoyed one of the best freshman seasons in the program’s history. His laundry list of awards included: 2010 Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American; Ping!Baseball First Team Freshman All-America Squad; Second Team Freshman All-American by the College Baseball Writer’s Association; and Second Team All-Atlantic Sun Conference selection.
Like this season, the freshman peaked at the right time and ended the season with a 29-game active hitting streak and led the team overall in batting with a .365 mark. He topped the Owls with 26 multi-hit games, including a team-high seven three-hit games. Additionally, Freeman posted and enjoyed a streak of six consecutive multi-hit games during the season.
But to Freeman, all that mattered on Thursday was that his Owls got their first win in the A-Sun Championship and lived to play another day.
“I felt good about today. I felt like we battled the whole time,” said Freeman. “Our defense is a little shaky right now, but getting that first win will give us some confidence. We are just going to play hard and just take it one day at a time.”
The Owls will face host No. 6 Stetson at 3 p.m. on Friday in the second elimination game for both teams. KSU took two of three from Stetson during the season, outscoring the Hatters 18-9 in the pair of wins in Kennesaw.