stop
Baseball all-conference teams announced
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 05/22/2017
Print RSS
From left to right: Western Carolina's Bryson Bowman, Mercer's Ryan Hagan, The Citadel's JP Sears and UNCG's Caleb Webster
Courtesy: Southern Conference
RELATED

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference coaches and SoCon Sports Media Association have selected their all-conference baseball teams, with Western Carolina outfielder Bryson Bowman (Player of the Year), The Citadel's JP Sears (Pitcher of the Year), UNCG third baseman Caleb Webster (Freshman of the Year) and Mercer's Craig Gibson (Coach of the Year) earning consensus individual honors. Mercer shortstop Ryan Hagan shared Player of the Year honors with Bowman in the coaches' vote.

Western Carolina's Bowman has reached base in all but one game this season, opening the year on a 42-game reached-base streak that included a 27-game hitting streak, the best in the SoCon this year and tied for fifth-best in league history. The redshirt senior from Baton, North Carolina, is hitting .389, the third-best mark in the league on the year, and leads the SoCon with a .474 on-base percentage and 59 RBIs. Bowman is second in the league with 82 hits and a .635 slugging percentage and has a SoCon-best eight sacrifice flies. He boasts a perfect fielding percentage on 108 total chances in the outfield, with 19 games in center and 35 games in right. Named a preseason All-American by both the NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball, Bowman has hit 15 doubles, two triples and 11 home runs this year, a season after earning third-team All-America honors from the NCBWA. Bowman helped Western Carolina, the reigning SoCon tournament champion, to a second-place finish in the regular season this year. He is the Catamounts' first Player of the Year since Tyler White took the honor from the media in 2013. Bowman is the first coaches' pick for WCU since Kenny Smith in 2007.

Mercer's Hagan becomes the Bears' third SoCon Player of the Year in three years after Seattle Mariners first-round draft pick Kyle Lewis won the award from both the coaches and media in 2015 and 2016. Hagan leads the league with 41 walks and 24 stolen bases and finished the regular season with a .298 batting average. The senior from Sugar Hill, Georgia, has hit 12 doubles and seven home runs, putting together a slugging percentage of .457 and an on-base percentage of .419. He started the Bears' first 20 games at second base before becoming the everyday shortstop for the remaining 33 contests. Hagan, who reached base safely in 20 straight games from March 31 to April 30, helped Mercer to a national ranking, its third consecutive regular-season SoCon title and the No. 1 seed in this week's SoCon Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases.

The Citadel's Sears leads the nation with 138 strikeouts this season, the eighth-best single-season mark in SoCon history. The Bulldog junior boasts a 2.03 ERA, good for second in the SoCon this year and 31st nationally, and has walked just 22 batters to lead the league and rank 21st nationally with a 6.27 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Opposing batters are hitting just .198 against him, the second-best mark in the league, and at 7-2 on the year, he owns nearly half of The Citadel's 16 wins. Sears, who appeared on the College Baseball Foundation National Pitcher of the Year Award and the Golden Spikes Award watch lists, is a three-time SoCon Pitcher of the Week this season and earned national player of the week honors twice. The junior left-hander from Sumter, South Carolina, reached double digits in strikeouts in seven games this year, including a career-high 20 against VMI on March 24, a total that tied for second in a single game in league history and is tied for the best mark in an NCAA Division I game this season. Sears is the second Bulldog to claim Pitcher of the Year honors in the last three seasons, as James Reeves earned consensus honors from the coaches and media in 2015.

UNCG's Webster is second in the league and 13th nationally with a .391 batting average on the year. Also the coaches' and media's selection on the all-conference first team at third base, the rookie from Randleman, North Carolina, leads the Spartans with 13 doubles and has four triples and 37 RBIs on the year. Webster boasts a .423 on-base percentage and a .515 slugging percentage and has posted 22 games with multiple hits, including a 5-for-5 game with four RBIs on March 5 against Maryland Eastern Shore. Webster was the SoCon Player of the Month for March after leading the league with a .478 average and reaching base in all 18 of UNCG's games in the month. He becomes UNCG's first coaches' Freshman of the Year since Ryan Gordon in 2000 and the first by the media since Benigno Marrero in 2013. Webster was a unanimous pick for the media panel's Freshman of the Year award.

Mercer's Gibson earns his second Coach of the Year award in the last three seasons, as he also took the honor from both the coaches and the media in 2015. Gibson directed the Bears to their third straight regular-season title since joining the league and has guided Mercer to a 38-15 overall mark and a 17-6 SoCon record this year. In his 14th year as the Bears' coach, Gibson has Mercer within two wins of just the second 40-win season in school history. Mercer opened the year with 32 wins in its first 38 games, jumping into the national rankings and peaking at No. 22 in the NCBWA top 30. Four of his student-athletes earned all-conference honors this year with another on the all-freshman team.

In addition to voting for the individual awards, the coaches and media selected all-conference first and second teams and the coaches picked an all-freshman team. Due to ties in the voting, the coaches' first team and the all-freshman team each includes 13 players.

Mercer had a league-best four first-team selections on the coaches' team and three on the media team, while UNCG and Western Carolina had two first-team selections from each organization.

Mercer's Hagan (shortstop), Robert Broom (reliever) and JT Thomas (designated hitter) were first-team picks by the coaches and media, while Danny Edgeworth earned the nod from the coaches. UNCG's Webster (third base) was joined on the first team by teammate Andrew Moritz (outfield), while Western Carolina's Bowman (outfield) was joined by fellow Catamount Nobu Suzuki (second base).

The Citadel's Sears, Furman's Will Gaddis (starting pitcher), ETSU's Hagen Owenby (catcher), Wofford's Brett Hash (first base) and VMI's Tyler Tharp (outfield) round out the coaches' first team, which mirrored the media's list other than the tie at second.

Wofford led the way with three second-team picks on the media team, while Furman, Samford and Western Carolina had two each. On the coaches' team, Furman, UNCG, Samford, Western Carolina and Wofford had two second-team picks each.

Samford put a league-record four players on the all-freshman team, while The Citadel and Wofford had two selections each.


2017 SoCon Baseball Coaches All-Southern Conference Teams

Player of the Year – Ryan Hagan, Sr., SS, Mercer
Player of the Year – Bryson Bowman, R-Sr., OF, Western Carolina
Pitcher of the Year – JP Sears, Jr., LHP, The Citadel
Freshman of the Year – Caleb Webster, 3B, UNCG
Coach of the Year – Craig Gibson, Mercer

First team
SP JP Sears, The Citadel
SP Will Gaddis, Furman
RP Robert Broom, Mercer
C Hagen Owenby, ETSU
1B Brett Hash, Wofford
2B Danny Edgeworth, Mercer
2B Nobu Suzuki, Western Carolina
SS Ryan Hagan, Mercer
3B Caleb Webster, UNCG
OF Andrew Moritz, UNCG
OF Tyler Tharp, VMI
OF Bryson Bowman, Western Carolina
DH JT Thomas, Mercer

Second team
SP Josh Winder, VMI
SP Bryan Sammons, Western Carolina
RP Wyatt Burns, Samford
C Carson Waln, Wofford
1B Brandon Elmy, Furman
2B Troy Dixon, Samford
SS Brett Pope, Western Carolina
3B Jonathan Sabo, The Citadel
OF Carter Grote, Furman
OF Ben Spitznagel, UNCG
OF McClain Bradley, Wofford
DH Cesar Trejo, UNCG

All-freshman team
Will Abbott, The Citadel
Bryce Leasure, The Citadel
Cullen Smith, ETSU
Dillon Love, Furman
Alex Crotty, Mercer
Caleb Webster, UNCG
Branden Fryman, Samford
Taylor Garris, Samford
Anthony Mulrine, Samford
Ayrton Schafer, Samford
Andrew Robinson, Western Carolina
Matt Ellmyer, Wofford
Brett Rodriguez, Wofford

2017 SoCon Sports Media Association Baseball All-Conference Teams

Player of the Year – Bryson Bowman, R-Sr., OF, Western Carolina
Pitcher of the Year – JP Sears, Jr., LHP, The Citadel
Freshman of the Year – Caleb Webster, 3B, UNCG
Coach of the Year – Craig Gibson, Mercer

First team
SP JP Sears, The Citadel
SP Will Gaddis, Furman
RP Robert Broom, Mercer
C Hagen Owenby, ETSU
1B Brett Hash, Wofford
2B Nobu Suzuki, Western Carolina
SS Ryan Hagan, Mercer
3B Caleb Webster, UNCG
OF Andrew Moritz, UNCG
OF Tyler Tharp, VMI
OF Bryson Bowman, Western Carolina
DH JT Thomas, Mercer

Second team
SP Josh Winder, VMI
SP Bryan Sammons, Western Carolina
RP Wyatt Burns, Samford
C Carson Waln, Wofford
1B Brandon Elmy, Furman
2B Danny Edgeworth, Mercer
SS Brett Pope, Western Carolina
3B Taylor Garris, Samford
OF Carter Grote, Furman
OF Ben Spitznagel, UNCG
OF McClain Bradley, Wofford
DH Cody Miller, Wofford

-www.SoConSports.com-

SoCon Digital Network
Baseball
2017 Baseball Championship Day Highlights
Baseball
2017 Baseball Championship: Game 15 Highlights,...
Baseball
2017 Baseball Championship: Game 14 Highlights,...
Baseball
2017 Baseball Championship: Game 13 Highlights,...
Connect with SoConSports