Point Park's McDuffee, Birko named Capital One (R) Academic All-America
May 28, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. ET
Capital One (R) Academic All-America College Divsion Baseball Team members (L to R) Don McDuffee (First Team) and Tom Birko (Third Team). McDuffee plays right field with a 3.79 GPA, and Birko plays second base with a 3.64 GPA.
PITTSBURGH -- Point Park University baseball had two players named to the prestigious Capital One (R) Academic All-America College Division Baseball Team for 2013, as voted upon and announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America on Tuesday (May 28, 2013).
Senior right fielder Don McDuffee, from Champaign, Ill., was named Capital One (R) Academic All-America First Team while junior second baseman Tom Birko, from Kennedy Twp., Pa., was named Capital One (R) Academic All-America Third Team.
McDuffee, who has a 3.79 GPA in business management and marketing, hit .379 with an impressive 77 hits in 55 games this year. His hit total was the most by any Point Park player in 15 years and is tied for fourth in the school record book.
Birko, who has a 3.64 GPA in sports, arts and entertainment management, batted .364 with 41 RBIs, the latter of which ranked third in the KIAC. He also played a great second base with only three errors and a .983 fielding percentage.
It is the first time ever that Point Park baseball has had two players make the first, second or third team in the same year, and McDuffee is the first Pioneer to named to the first team in the history of the program.
The Capital One (R) Academic All-America teams are voted on by members of CoSIDA, and team members are selected based on their combined performance in the class room and on the field. McDuffee and Birko were selected in the College Division, which includes NAIA and junior colleges but is mainly made up of NAIA players.
McDuffee is one of three outfielders on the Capital One (R) Academic All-American First Team. Thus, he is among the top three NAIA outfielders this year in terms of combined athletic and academic performance. Likewise, by making the third team, Birko is among the top 12 NAIA infielders in regard to performance in the class room and on the field.
Each of the first, second and third teams included 11 players -- four infielders, three outfielders, one catcher, one designated hitter and two pitchers. Click the link above for the release from CoSIDA.
McDuffee's outstanding senior year saw him assume the lead-off position in the Pioneers' batting order. In his second year at Point Park and his second year as a starter, the transfer from Lake Land (IL) College led Point Park and also the KIAC in hits (77), runs (55) and triples (5).
A KIAC All-Conference First Team selection, McDuffee was also among the team leaders with 11 doubles, 38 RBIs and a .498 slugging percentage. Defensively, he had a team-high six outfield assists and a .968 fielding percentage.
Birko was also a KIAC All-Conference First Team choice, and he has started for the Pioneers for three years. His career-best .364 average was built on 59 hits in 53 games. Birko also added 39 runs, nine doubles, two triples and a home run to go along with his 41 RBIs, which were second on the team.
A.J. Spanel, a shortstop from Doane (Neb.), was named the Capital One (R) Academic All-America of the Year. He has a 4.00 GPA in biochemistry. The full listing of the teams is included in the CoSIDA release at the link above.
Point Park finished the year with a record fo 39-16 overall and 14-6 in the KIAC. The Pioneers made it to the NAIA national tournament for the second year in a row, and won the KIAC Tournament title.