SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Western Carolina outfielder Bryson Bowman and Citadel left-hander JP Sears earned third-team All-America honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Mercer designated hitter earned honorable mention from Perfect Game/Rawlings on Wednesday, while Bowman, Sears, ETSU's Hagen Owenby and Furman's Will Gaddis earned American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings All-Region honors.
Bowman, Sears and Gaddis were first-team All-Atlantic Region selections, while Owenby earned a first-team spot on the All-South Region squad. All four will appear on the ballot for ABCA/Rawlings All-America honors, which will be announced Saturday, June 17.
Bowman, the Southern Conference Player of the Year, collected WCU's fifth NCBWA All-America selection all-time and became the first Catamount to earn multiple selections.
A native of Baton, N.C., Bowman became the 16th Catamount to win the team's Triple Crown, pacing the team in batting (.381), RBIs (59), and home runs (11). Combined, he ranked inside the SoCon's top 10 in 10 statistical categories at season's end, including leading the league in on-base percentage (.470) and ranking second in RBI, third in the SoCon in batting average, tied for third in hits (83) and fifth in slugging percentage (.619). Bowman was also ranked in seven of the SoCon-only categories, as well.
Sears continues to lead the nation in strikeouts with 142 and ranks third in strikeouts per nine innings with 13.41 despite not having pitched in three weeks. He was selected the Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year after finishing the regular season with a 7-2 record and 2.03 earned run average.
The southpaw had arguably the most dominant start in college baseball this season when he struck out 20 batters in a two-hit, complete game shutout of VMI on March 24. The 20 strikeouts are tied for the most in program history and the most by a single pitcher in Division I this season.
Thomas made an immediate impact for Mercer in his first season with the Bears after transferring from Chattahoochee Valley Community College. He led the Bears in multiple offensive categories, including batting average (.357), runs batted in (62), hits (75), slugging percentage (.624) and on-base percentage (.454). Thomas was named to the All-SoCon First Team in both the coaches and media polls at the conclusion of the regular season.
Thomas collected 32 extra-base hits, including a team-high 20 doubles, this spring and proved to be one of the most lethal bats in the conference. He totaled six games with at least three RBIs and strung together eight consecutive games with at least two hits from April 13-25.
Owenby – who started all 59 games for the Blue and Gold in 2017 – hit .346 (81-for-234) with 12 doubles, one triple, 13 home runs, 40 walks, 54 runs and 51 RBIs. The Knoxville, Tenn., native registered .573 slugging and .438 on-base percentages – both marking team bests. The Buccaneer slugger also led the team in home runs, walks and RBIs.
In his first three seasons with the Bucs, Owenby is hitting .347 (222-for-640) with 39 doubles, one triple, 37 home runs, 126 runs, 89 walks and 149 RBIs. The Buccaneer All-American also has a career slugging percentage of .584 and on-base mark of .426.
Gaddis, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound right-hander, on Tuesday was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the third round of the 2017 Major League Draft.
As a junior the Brentwood, Tenn., product posted a 9-3 record and 1.89 earned run average in 2017, with his wins and ERA topping all Southern Conference starters. In 105 innings of work, he surrendered only 81 hits and 16 walks while striking out 89. Opponents hit just .213 against him.