BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — University of Iowa junior Jake Adams has been voted as the unanimous Big Ten Player of the Year, it was announced Tuesday by the league office.
Adams was also named unanimous first-team All-Big Ten, while senior Mason McCoy (shortstop), juniors Tyler Cropley (catcher) and Nick Gallagher (starting pitcher), and sophomore Robert Neustrom (outfield) garnered second-team honors. Senior Corbin Woods is Iowa’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree.
Adams, a first baseman from Brandon, South Dakota, became the second Hawkeye all-time and first since Brett Backlund in 1992 to be selected as the league’s top player after leading the conference in home runs (24), RBIs (65), hits (73), slugging percentage (.750), and total bases. He is also fourth in the league with a .344 average.
The Des Moines Area Community College transfer broke Iowa’s single-season home run record (22 blasts) that had stood since 1986 and he is Iowa’s first Big Ten home run champion since 2008 (he hit 10 in Big Ten play). Adams is second nationally in home runs and the 24 blasts are the most by a Big Ten player in the BBCOR era.
Cropley earned second-team honors at catcher after hitting .302 with 17 RBIs, seven extra-base hits (four home runs, two doubles, one triple), and 17 runs scored. Defensively, the McCook Lake, South Dakota, native has started 48 of Iowa’s 53 games behind the plate, where he leads the Big Ten by throwing out 17 would-be base stealers.
Cropley is the first Hawkeye catcher since 2011 to earn all-league honors.
Gallagher was tabbed as a second-team All-Big Ten starting pitcher after tying for the regular season lead with eight wins. The right-hander is 8-1 with a 2.59 ERA with 77 strikeouts in 83 1/3 innings; he ranks in the top six in the Big Ten in all four categories. In league play, the Iowa City, Iowa, native went 5-0 with a 2.37 ERA and he recorded quality starts in five of his eight starts.
Gallagher is the third starting pitcher under UI head coach Rick Heller to earn All-Big Ten honors.
McCoy continued Iowa’s All-Big Ten run at shortstop by garnering second-team honors. The Washington, Illinois, native leads the Big Ten in runs (49), while ranking second in doubles (16) and tied for third in hits (72). McCoy is hitting .329 with 31 RBIs and has 23 multi-hit games. Defensively, McCoy has a Big Ten-best 299 chances, where he has committed eight errors.
Iowa has had an All-Big Ten selection at shortstop in each of Heller’s four seasons; Jake Yacinich was first-team in 2014, while Nick Roscetti was third team in 2015 and first-team in 2016.
Neustrom earned his first career All-Big Ten distinction after tying for the league lead with 73 hits and finishing third in RBIs (53) and fourth in total bases (114). The outfielder has started every game, where he is hitting .329 with 15 doubles, one triple, and eight home runs.
The Sioux City, Iowa, native is Iowa’s first underclassmen since 2013 (Eric Toole) to earn All-Big Ten recognition. It is the fourth straight year a Hawkeye outfielder has earned all-league honors.
Woods, a senior infielder from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was Iowa’s recipient for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The distinction is presented to student-athletes who display sportsmanship and ethical behavior, are in good academic standing, and demonstrate good citizenship outside of athletics.
In four seasons as Iowa’s head coach, Heller has had a first-team All-Big Ten selection in each season — a first for the program since 2004-07. The Hawkeyes have had 18 All-Big Ten selections in four seasons under Heller’s tutelage.
For a complete list of All-Big Ten selections, visit www.bigten.org.
The fifth-seeded Hawkeyes open Big Ten Tournament play Wednesday, facing No. 4 seed Maryland at 7:30 p.m. (CT) in Bloomington, Indiana. The game will be televised on BTN.