Auburn's DiChiara, Tennessee trio lead our SEC baseball awards

 Chris Lee   in Baseball

Auburn's Sonny DiChiara is our SEC baseball Player of the Year, while Tennessee sweeps the rest of our awards

Auburn's Sonny DiChiara has earned Southeastern 14 baseball Player of the Year honors, while three representatives from Tennessee--pitcher Chase Dollander (Pitcher of the Year), pitcher Drew Beam (Freshman of the Year) and coach Tony Vitello (Coach of the Year)--earned our other three major awards.

DIChiara, Auburn's first baseman, was an easy Player of the Year choice as the Samford transfer led the league in on-base percentage in league games (.544) and in all games (.561). He led the league in slugging (.782) in all games and finished second in batting average (.382). According to a Bill James formula, DiChiara "created" 68.1 runs, almost five more than Florida's Wyatt Langford (63.3) and LSU's Dylan Crews (63.2).

Dollander led the league in ERA in all games (2.30), throwing 62 2/3 innings while allowing a minuscule 0.72 runners per inning pitched. Dollander threw even better in SEC games, with a 1.67 ERA in 43 innings while allowing a 2.6% home run rate. Dollander's innings were limited due to missing two SEC games after taking a line drive off his arm during a game against Alabama. He struck out 38% of the hitters he faced.

Beam threw 69.1 innings while posting a 2.73 ERA and just 0.91 runners allowed per inning pitched. He struck out just 20% of the hitters he faced, but limited hard contact all year and gave up home runs just 2.6% of the time while playing his home games in cozy Lindsey Nelson Stadium. In SEC games, he had a 3.10 ERA over 52 1/3 innings. Beam went at least four innings in his first eight SEC starts; his innings were limited the last two weekends with the Vols running away with the league's regular-season title.

Vitello was an easy choice as Coach of the Year while leading the Vols to an incredible 49-7 record and a 25-5 SEC mark--six wins better than second-place Arkansas. Tennessee was the consensus No. 1 team in the country heading into the weekend, and should remain there after sweeping Mississippi State on the road. Vitello led the Vols to the College World Series last season.