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Collins named National Freshman of the Year, Selected to National Team

Catcher becomes the sixth Hurricane to win prestigious award.

Richard Lewis/Miami Athletics

Courtesy UM

DURHAM, N.C. -- University of Miami slugger Zack Collins became the sixth player in program history to be named National Freshman of the Year by Baseball America, the publication announced Monday.

The honor is another in a growing list for Collins, who was named 2014 Freshman Hitter of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ Association (NCBWA) earlier in June. Collins was also named 2014 ACC Freshman of the Year, and pulled in Freshman All-America honors from both NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.

With the selection came his third Freshman All-America recognition and a spot on Baseball America's first team. Fellow freshman Bryan Garcia also pulled in first-team honors, as Miami became one of just two schools with multiple first-teamers.

“It’s a huge honor to win this award,” Collins said. “I would like to thank my family, friends, teammates, coaches and everyone who has supported me throughout my life. They’ve done everything they possibly can to make not only a better baseball player but also a better man.”

Collins, who was named to the 2014 All-ACC third team, helped power Miami to its first 40-win campaign since 2010 this past spring. The Pembroke Pines, Fla., native batted .298 with team-high totals of 11 home runs and 54 RBI. He reached base at a .427 clip – the best mark of any Hurricane – and slugged .556, which was the second-best mark of any player in the ACC.

His 11 home runs were tied for the most in the ACC, his 54 RBI ranked second and his 114 total bases tied for fourth-most. In conference play, where Miami captured its second-ever ACC Regular Season Championship, Collins was particularly impressive; he ranked seventh in batting average (.320), second in home runs (five), second in RBI (28), seventh in total bases (57), eighth in on-base percentage (.415) and third in slugging percentage (.553).

Miami’s six Freshman of the Year honorees from Baseball America are the most of any program all-time. Collins is the first Hurricane to win the award since Chris Hernandez in 2008, with past Hurricane winners including Alex Fernandez (1989), Pat Burrell (1996), Kevin Howard (2000) and Ryan Braun (2003).

In a second release shortly after, The Freshman slugger was named one of 24 on the USA Collegiate National Team:

CARY, N.C. – Miami Hurricanes freshman catcher Zack Collins has earned one of 24 roster spots on the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, and will travel to both the Netherlands and Cuba as part of the team’s annual summer tour.

Collins hit .333 with Team USA during the Red, White and Blue Tour through the Coastal Plain League, where the team finished with a 6-1 record. He hit two home runs, scored six runs and drove in six more during the seven-game tryout stint to successfully earn a place on Team USA.

Collins is the 23rd Hurricane CNT representative – the second-most of any program in history – and his selection marks the 20th year a Hurricane has been chosen, marking the third-longest stretch for any program all-time. His selection also makes it back-to-back years for Miami with a member on Team USA; lefthanded pitcher Chris Diaz was selected for the tour in 2013.

Collins, who was named 2014 ACC Freshman of the Year, ranked among the ACC leaders in nearly every offensive category. Collins batted .298 for the season with 11 home runs, 54 RBI and a slugging percentage of .556.

The Pembroke Pines, Fla., native, who connected on 14 doubles and three triples, had an on-base percentage of .427 in his 58 starts. The third-team All-ACC selection tied for the team lead with 114 total bases this spring.

The Collegiate National Team opens its series against Chinese Taipei at 7:05 p.m. on July 1 at the National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. The teams will play again on July 2 at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C., on July 3 at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, N.C., and on July 4 and 5 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C.

Team USA will then host a three-game set against Japan July 6-8 in Thomasville, Wilson and Wilmington, N.C., before traveling to the Netherlands for Honkbal-Haarlem Baseball Week, July 11-20. Following that tournament, the U.S. will head to Cuba for a five-game friendship series, July 23-27.

To view the 2014 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team roster and summer schedule, click HERE.