Press Release from the Gulf South Conference
The Gulf South Conference has announced the 2018 baseball all-conference awards, as voted on by the league’s coaches. For the second straight year, Delta State’s Zack Shannon and North Alabama’s Tyler Joyner headline the postseason honors. Shannon has been named the 2018 GSC Player of the Year while Joyner is the GSC Pitcher of the year. West Florida’s Matthew Estrada is the GSC Freshman of the Year, and Delta State head coach Mike Kinnison has been named GSC Coach of the Year for the second straight season.
Shannon had an impressive season for the Statesmen, leading the conference in batting average, runs scored, hits, home runs, and RBIs. He also leads the NCAA Division II in home runs, home runs per game, RBIs, RBIs per game, slugging percentage, and total bases. Under his leadership, the Statesmen won the league's regular season championship after finishing the regular season with a 23-5 GSC record. This is the second straight year Shannon has won this award. He is also the reigning ACBA and NCBWA National Player of the Year, and the 2017 Tino Martinez Award winner.
Joyner garners the top pitcher award after finishing the regular season with a 2.67 ERA, eight wins, and 104 strikeouts in 97.2 innings pitched. Six of his eight wins came against GSC opponents, five of which were complete game wins. The senior received three GSC Pitcher of the Week awards on the year. Joyner is the first pitcher to be named GSC Pitcher of the Year twice. He leads the Lions into GSC Championship this weekend, looking for their first conference title since 1999.
Estrada has been named the GSC Freshman of the Year after being recognized as the GSC Freshman of the Week honors twice this season. The freshman started 40 games for the Argos and finished the season with a .343 batting average, 21 RBIs, and eight home runs to help the Argos to their 30-18 overall record. West Florida finished the regular season with a 19-11 conference record and will be the third seed at the GSC Championship.
Kinnison receives his ninth GSC Coach of the Year award this season after leading the Statesmen to their 38-8 overall record. Delta State finished at the top of the GSC standings with a 23-5 conference record and will host the GSC Championship as the top seed. The Statesmen have also been ranked in the top 10 nationally all season. Five of his players receive All-GSC recognition this year, including the GSC Player of the Year. Kinnison and the Statesmen will be looking for their third straight GSC Championship this weekend.
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