KINGSVILLE, Texas – West Texas A&M senior pitcher Dylan James was named Lone Star Conference Pitcher of the Year at the annual conference awards banquet Wednesday evening prior to the beginning of the Lone Star Conference baseball championship. In all, more than 40 baseball standouts from the conference were recognized.
WT and LSC regular season-champion Texas A&M-Kingsville led the way with 11 selections each and each had seven first team honorees. TAMUK’s Derrick Walls was tabbed Player of the Year, while his head coach Jason Gonzales claimed Coach of the Year honors. Freshman of the Year went to Kiegan Basso of Eastern New Mexico.
James, a native of Las Cruces, N.M., led the conference in strikeouts with 107 and is 8-3 with a 2.44 ERA this season. His 107 strikeouts broke his previous school-record of 95 set last season. He earned multiple honorable mention all-America accolades last season and was a Tino Martinez Award semifinalist and a first team all-conference honoree.
Along with James, junior closer Paul Lujan also made the first team, as did senior second baseman Beto Rodriguez, senior third baseman David Hebert, senior outfielder Tyler McKnight, who led the conference in batting average at a .414 clip, junior outfielder Nick Chapman and senior shortstop/utility Matt Redfearn.
Second team honorees included senior pitcher Scott Cone, junior catcher Jacob Caples, junior first baseman Aaron Blair and junior designated hitter Dylan Dyson. Redfearn and Hebert each earned second team all-conference honors last season, while McKnight was an honorable mention honoree.
Along with the all-conference teams, the Academic All-LSC team also was announced as Cone and McKnight were named to the team by the league’s sports information directors. TAMUK’s Denver Diefenbach earned Academic Player of the Year honors.
The Buffs, who learned today that they are again No. 2 in the latest NCAA South Central Region poll which was released Wednesday, open the 2014 Lone Star Conference baseball championship Thursday at 11 a.m., as the No. 2-seed, against No. 3-seed Tarleton State at Nolan Ryan Field on the campus of TAMUK. Fans can access live stats and streaming of the game by logging onto www.gobuffsgo.com.
Colorado Mesa leads the region poll for the third week in a row. Following WT, TAMUK is third, while New Mexico Highlands is fourth, followed by St. Edward’s and St. Mary’s rounds out the top six who would be in the field if the season ended today. Tarleton State is seventh, followed by Colorado State-Pueblo.