LYNCHBURG, VA. (NCBWA) – University of Southern
Mississippi outfielder Matt Wallner and St. John’s University right-hander
Sean Mooney have been named the 2017 National Collegiate Baseball
Writers Association National Freshman Hitter and Pitcher of the
Year recipients, as announced by the organization today.
Wallner, the Conference USA Freshman of the Year, hit .336 for
the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, while setting school freshman records
with 19 home runs and 63 runs batted in. The outfielder also added
14 doubles, two triples and four stolen bases, helping Southern
Miss post a school-record 50-16 overall mark and finish first in
the 2017 Conference USA standings with a 25-5 mark.
A second team All-Conference USA selection, Wallner collected
a .463 on base percentage and a .655 slugging percentage, as Southern
Miss hosted a NCAA Regional for the first time since 2003 and reached
the top 10 in the national polls in May. The Forest Lake, Minn.,
native tallied 26 multiple-hit games and drove in two or more runs
a team-high 18 times. He registered a 12-game hitting streak during
Wallner has also been named a Baseball America second-team All-American
and selected to the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s Freshman All-American
first team. Later this month, Wallner will join the USA Baseball
Collegiate Team Training Camp to compete for a spot on this summer’s
24-man roster. The outfielder also was selected to the 2017 Conference
USA All-Tournament team and was named the Conference USA Hitter
of the Week during the season.
Mooney, the second player in BIG EAST history to be named the
conference’s Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year in the
same season, posted an 8-2 record with a 1.71 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP
in 16 appearances, 13 which were starts, for the St. John’s Red
Storm. The right-hander’s ERA and WHIP ranked among the top 10 nationally
in Division I in 2017. He struck out 88 batters and walked only
16 over 100 innings. His innings pitched were the fourth most in
a single season by a Red Storm pitcher.
A first team All-BIG EAST member, Mooney limited the opposition
to a .196 batting average and went no fewer than seven innings in
nine of his starts, pitching one complete game. He helped the Red
Storm post a 42-13 overall mark and receive an at-large bid to the
2017 NCAA Clemson, S.C. Regional.
The Marmora, N.J., native is one of the five finalists for the
2017 College Baseball Hall of Fame National Pitcher of the Year
Award. Mooney has also been named to the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s
All-America first team and selected as its National Freshman Pitcher
of the Year. The right-hander was named the BIG EAST Pitcher of
the Week twice and earned a spot on the conference’s honor roll
six times during 2017.
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