Devin Ivany received more recognition Thursday when Baseball USA named the USF baseball team’s catcher to the 2004 Golden Spike award watch list. But the midseason attention comes while Ivany and the Bulls (23-8, 7-2 C-USA) get ready for a big series against East Carolina starting tonight at 7 in Greenville, N.C.
“Right now, we want to win the conference and that’s our first goal,” Ivany said. “When it all comes down to it, it’s better to have (the recognition) at the end than right now.”
Thirty collegiate standouts were named to the watch list, which will be narrowed to five in June. The award honors the top amateur baseball player in the country. Some past winners include Major Leaguers Mark Prior (’01), J.D. Drew (’97), Travis Lee (’96) and Jason Varitek (’94). It is the second award watch list to which Ivany has been named. He was also named to the 2004 Johnny Bench award watch list earlier in the season, which recognizes the best catcher in the country.
“Of course, you’re very honored to be recognized as one of the top players in the country, as well as one of the top catchers,” Ivany said. “It’s just a big confidence booster for yourself, but I don’t think it affects how you go out there and play the game everyday.”
But Ivany’s batting average has dropped in recent games. The career .352 hitter is only 3 for his last 11 at the plate, dropping this season’s average from .404 to .392 in two games. But Ivany, who leads the team in RBIs, said he still feels good at the plate.
“I wouldn’t call it a slump,” Ivany said. “I’m hitting the ball pretty good; it just seems to be going right at people right now. Baseball is like that sometimes.”
Tonight is the first of a three game series with East Carolina (25-6, 6-3 C-USA). Ivany said this series against the Pirates is huge. East Carolina enters the series having won six straight including a series sweep over Charlotte
“This is big time,” Ivany said. “If we come out of here with 2 out of 3 or sweep 3 out of 3, that gives us momentum. They are one of the top teams and if we can take them down then we’ll be all right.”
Ivany certainly doesn’t lack confidence. When asked how he feels at the plate, he replied, “I’ve never felt better.”