Alabama's Kent Matthes named SEC Player of Year

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's Kent Matthes has been named 2009 Southeastern Conference baseball Player of the Year.

The senior right fielder from Orlando, Fla., is the first Crimson Tide player to win the post season award.

Matthes was a unanimous selection by the league's 12 head coaches.

"It is a great honor to be recognized by the best college baseball league with all the talented players we have in the SEC," he said.  "It is an honor to be named SEC Player of the Year and to be able to accomplish the feat as a senior.  This has been an incredible season and I am happy to be a part of this team."

"I was looking to take advantage of my senior year and make the most of it. I worked hard in the off-season with Dax (Norris) and I got hot early and hit a lot of home runs and they kept coming.  I tried to stay focused on winning each game and not the stats."

He finished the regular season with a .362 batting average with 27 home runs and 79 RBI.

Matthes was twice named National and SEC player of the week.

Alabama, a No. 4 seed, opens play against No. 5 seed South Carolina at the SEC baseball tournament Wednesday night.

First pitch is 8:30 p.m. at Regions Park in Hoover.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)