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
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