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Artis Named Big South Player of the Year; Taormina & Mitchell Join on All-Conference Team

May 22, 2017  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Outfielder D.J. Artis has been named the 2017 Big South Player of the Year

Outfielder D.J. Artis has been named the 2017 Big South Player of the Year

Liberty outfielder D.J. Artis has been named the 2017 Big South Player of the Year, as the Big South Conference announced its baseball awards and all-conference team this evening.

Selected by the conference's coaches, Artis was also joined by first baseman Sammy Taormina and right-hander Evan Mitchell on the all-conference team. Artis and Taormina were placed on the first team, while Mitchell garnered second team honors. Catcher Matt Allen was named to the Big South All-Academic team.

Artis becomes the fourth Flames to be named Big South Player of the Year and the first since 2014. The sophomore outfielder joins infielder Ryan Seiz (2014), outfielder Keith Butler (2000) and infielder Jason Benham (1998) as Flames who have won the award. 

Artis, who also earned all-conference first team honors for the second consecutive season, enters the week second in the nation with a .531 on base percentage and is the national leader in walks with 59. Artis has already eclipsed his own single-season program record of 52 walks, which he set last season. In addition, the sophomore paces the conference with a .360 batting average and 55 runs scored.

The 2016 Big South Freshman of the Year, Artis enters the 2017 Big South Baseball Championship among the conference leaders in hits (ninth – 63), RBI (fifth – 45), slugging percentage (fifth - .554), total bases (10th – 97) and second in stolen bases (second – 22). He has 12 doubles, two triples and six home runs on the season.

The Greensboro, N.C., native was named the Big South Player of the Week three times in 2017. He was tabbed the league's Player of the Week for March 20, April 24 and May 1. Artis finished the year with 18 multi-hit games, of which nine were three-hit contests.

First baseman Taormina was named to his first all-conference team. The redshirt senior finished the regular season as the Big South leader in RBI with 54 and second in total bases with 113 total bases.

The first baseman is among the conference leaders in hits (seventh - 67), doubles (tied-3rd - 15), home runs (tied-4th - 10), slugging percentage (sixth -.547), on base percentage (seventh - .417), runs scored (tied-9th -38), and walks (4th - 38).

The Rock Hill, S.C, native led the Flames with 19 multi-hit games and 12 multi-RBI contests, including six contests with four or more. On April 28, Taormina collected a career-high seven RBI with three hits and two home runs in Liberty's victory at Longwood. He was selected as the Big South Player of the Week on Feb. 20 and 27.

Mitchell also garners his first Big South All-Conference selection. The senior right-hander has posted a 6-1 record with a 2.76 ERA over 71 2/3 innings for the Flames, all team-highs. The right-hander enters the week third in the Big South in ERA and wins.

In addition, the Lynchburg, Va., native is also among the conference leaders in opponent batting average (sixth - .236), innings pitched (ninth - .236) and runs allowed (third - 26). He has struck out 49 and walked 37 for a 1.38 WHIP.

Radford right-hander Zach Ridley was selected as the Big South Pitcher of the Year, while Winthrop Head Coach Tom Riginos was named the Big South Coach of the Year and pitcher Colton Rendon tabbed the Big South Freshman of the Year by the coaches. Campbell utility player Drew Butler was voted Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the Big South's sports information direct

The No. 2 seed Liberty Flames will square off with the No. 7 seed Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs, Tuesday in Game 1 of the Big South Baseball Championship at Lexington County Baseball Stadium in Lexington, S.C.  First pitch is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.

2017 Big South Conference Baseball Awards

FIRST-TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE
OF D.J. Artis, Soph., Liberty

OF Danny Sullivan, Sr., Gardner-Webb
OF Anthony Paulsen, R-Sr., Winthrop
INF Sammy Taormina, Sr., Liberty
INF Collin Thacker, Sr., Gardner-Webb
INF Mitch Spires, Jr., Winthrop
INF Jason Miller, R-Soph., Charleston Southern
C    TJ Richardson, Jr., Presbyterian
UTL Danny Hrbek, Sr., Radford
DH   Cole Hallum, R-Sr., Campbell
SP   Zack Ridgely, LHP, Jr., Radford
SP   Colton Rendon, RHP, Fr., Winthrop
SP   Nate Pawelczyk, RHP, Soph., Winthrop
RP   Kyle Zurak, RHP, Sr., Radford

SECOND-TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE
OF   Matthew Barefoot, R-Fr., CampbelL
OF   Jeff Hahs, Jr., Campbell
OF   Josh Greene, Sr., High Point
INF  Blake Schunk, Jr., High Point
INF  Spencer Horwitz, Fr., Radford
INF  Glen Casaceli, Sr., Presbyterian
INF  Kyle Butler, R-Soph., Radford
C    Jonathan Gonzalez, Sr., Radford
UTL Drew Butler, Sr., Campbell
DH   Tim Mansfield, Sr., High Point
SP   Drew Daczkowski, RHP, Fr., High Point
SP   Evan Mitchell, RHP, Sr., Liberty
SP   Cody Wager, RHP, Sr., Longwood
RP   Cody Smith, RHP, Jr., Charleston Southern

HONORABLE MENTION ALL-CONFERENCE
RP   Ryan Hedrick, RHP, Jr., Presbyterian
RP   Daniel Johnson, LHP, Jr., Charleston Southern
OF   Joe Tietjen, Sr., UNC Asheville
INF  Aaron Miller, Fr., Charleston Southern
SP   Brian Kehner, LHP, Sr., Presbyterian

ALL-ACADEMIC TEAM
Drew Butler, Sr., UTL, Campbell
Daniel Johnson, Jr., LHP, Charleston Southern
Danny Sullivan, Sr., OF, Gardner-Webb
Andrew Gottfried, Soph., RHP, High Point
Matt Allen, Jr., C, Liberty
Zach Potojecki, Jr., RHP, Longwood
AJ Priaulx, Jr., 1B, Presbyterian College
Kyle Palmer, Jr., LHP, Radford
Joe Tietjen, Sr., OF, UNC Asheville
Hunter Lipscomb, Soph., OF, Winthrop

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
D.J. Artis, OF, Soph., Liberty

PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Zack Ridgely, LHP, Jr., Radford

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Colton Rendon, RHP, Fr., Winthrop

COACH OF THE YEAR
Tom Riginos, Winthrop

SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Drew Butler, Sr., UTL, Campbell