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Courtesy: David Barfield
Azar named Southland Player of the Year
Courtesy: GoBearkats.com
Release: 05/19/2014
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Sam Houston State catcher Anthony Azar has been named the Southland Conference Player of the Year by a vote of the league’s head coaches and sports information directors, the conference announced Monday in conjunction with the release of its all-conference teams. The senior is the first Bearkat to earn the sport’s top honor.

Anthony Azar ranks among the Southland’s top-five players in seven different categories, including leading the league in slugging percentage (.558). The senior from The Woodlands also ranked second in RBI (44) and total bases (111), third in batting average (.369) and home runs (nine) and fourth in hits (76) and on-base percentage (.450).

Azar is one of the toughest hitters to strike out in the nation, going down only 11 times in 206 at bats and drawing 22 walks. Azar has thrown out 19 attempted base-stealers on the year, which is tied for the conference lead. He also managees the Bearkat pitching staff that has compiled a 2.81 team ERA, which ranks in the top 25 nationally. He also is Sam Houston’s first semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, which goes to the nation’s top catcher.

Led by Anthony Azar’s first-team selection, the Bearkats placed eight players on the All-Southland teams. First baseman Ryan O’Hearn, center fielder Colt Atwood and starting pitcher Tyler Eppler were each named to the second team, while outfielder/designated hitter Hayden Simerly received third-team honors. Third baseman Carter Burgess, shortstop Corey Toups and pitcher Jason Simms were all recognized as honorable mention selections.

O’Hearn is tied for second on the team with 41 RBI and seven home runs this season. He is batting .290, with 65 hits, 34 runs scored, 10 doubles and three triples. He was named Southland hitter of the week twice.

Atwood is the Kats second-leading hitter with a .326 average and a team-high 77 hits. He’s scored 38 runs and driven in 36. The everyday center fielder is also the Kats’ leadoff hitter.

Eppler has a 3.48 ERA and an 8-5 record as the Friday night starter for Sam Houston. He’s tossed a tea-high three complete games and has been exception in his last four starts. He has tossed more innings than anyone else in the league this year.

Simerly has split time between right field and the designated hitter spot this season. The junior has a .262 batting average with 33 runs driven in and 34 runs scored.

Burgess is batting .298 with 62 hits, 26 runs driven in and 24 runs scored. He leads the team with 14 doubles.

Toups has a .302 batting average with seven homers and 28 RBI. He’s tied for the team lead with 38 runs scored. He was named Southland hitter of the week to end the regular season.

Simms transitioned from the team’s closer into the starting rotation. He recorded four saves to start the year and has made nine starts down the stretch. Simms has a 2.74 ERA, 35 strikeouts and just 15 walks in 65 2/3 innings pitched this season.

2014 Southland All-Conference Teams

First Team

 

 

 

Pos.

Name

University

Class

Hometown

1B

Chayse Marion2

McNeese State

Sr.

Red Deer, Alberta

2B

Andrew Guillotte

McNeese State

Jr.

Moss Bluff, La.

3B

Brandon Tierney

A&M-Corpus Christi

Sr.

Arlington, Texas

SS

Sam Bumpers2

Lamar

Sr.

Bourbornnais, Ill.

OF

Tyler Boss

Oral Roberts

Sr.

Spring, Texas

OF

Doug Votolato

Central Arkansas

Sr.

Flower Mound, Texas

OF

Jackson Gooch2

McNeese State

Sr.

Delta, British Columbia

C

Anthony Azar3

Sam Houston State

Sr.

The Woodlands, Texas

DH

Mackenzie Handel

Stephen F. Austin

Sr.

Chandler, Ariz.

P

Taylor Byrd

Nicholls

Sr.

Petal, Miss.

P

Andro Cutura

Southeastern La.

Jr.

Pearl River, La.

P

Pepe Gomez

Oral Roberts

Sr.

Tucson, Ariz.

         

Second Team

 

 

 

Pos.

Name

University

Class

Hometown

1B

Ryan O’Hearn

Sam Houston State

Jr.

Frisco, Texas

2B

Matt Brandy

Oral Roberts

Jr.

Tampa, Fla.

3B

Chase Daughdrill

Northwestern State

Jr.

Bossier City, La.

SS

Jose Trevino2

Oral Roberts

Jr.

Corpus Christi, Texas

OF

Colt Atwood

Sam Houston State

Jr.

Katy, Texas

OF

Jude Vidrine

Lamar

Sr.

Nederland, Texas

OF

Keith Cormier

Nicholls

Sr.

Channelview, Texas

C

Seth Spivey

Abilene Christian

Sr.

Brenham, Texas

DH

Billy Sommers

McNeese State

So.

Moss Bluff, La.

P

Matt Danton

A&M-Corpus Christi

Jr.

Conroe, Texas

P

Tyler Eppler

Sam Houston State

Jr.

Navasota, Texas

P

Adam Oller

Northwestern State

Fr.

Conroe, Texas

         

Third Team

 

 

 

Pos.

Name

University

Class

Hometown

1B

Caleb Dugas

Northwestern State

Jr.

Raymond, Miss.

2B

Cody Stephens

A&M-Corpus Christi

Sr.

Concord, Calif.

3B

Reed Seely

Lamar

Jr.

Baytown, Texas

SS

Samuel Capielano

New Orleans

Fr.

River Ridge, La.

OF

Andrew Godbold

Southeastern La.

Jr.

Oak Park, Ill.

OF

Hayden Simerly

Sam Houston State

Jr.

Round Rock, Texas

OF

Tyler Ware

A&M-Corpus Christi

Jr.

Omaha, Neb.

C

Russell Vaughn

A&M-Corpus Christi

Sr.

Mesa, Ariz.

DH

Kyle Markum

Lamar

Jr.

Beaumont, Texas

P

Grant Borne

Nicholls

So.

Baton Rouge, La.

P

Bryce Biggerstaff

Central Arkansas

Sr.

Sherwood, Ark.

P

Jordan Romano

Oral Roberts

Jr.

Markham, Ontario

Honorable Mention – First Base: Brandon Provost, Lamar. Second Base: Chris Townsend, Central Arkansas. Third Base: Carter Burgess, Sam Houston State. Shortstop: Corey Toups, Sam Houston State; Leo Vargas, Nicholls. Outfield: Jordan Lee, A&M-Corpus Christi; Jacob Middleton, Lamar; Jesse Hoover, UIW; Jordan McCoy, Houston Baptist; Ricardo Sanchez, Stephen F. Austin. Catcher: Jameson Fisher, Southeastern La. Designated Hitter: Daniel Midyett, Southeastern La. Pitchers: Jason Simms, Sam Houston State; Trevor Belicek, A&M-Corpus Christi; Geno Encina, UIW; Dillon Mangham, Stephen F. Austin; Guillermo Trujillo, Oral Roberts.

2014 Southland Conference Individual Awards

Player of the Year: Anthony Azar, Sam Houston State      

Hitter of the Year: Sam Bumpers, Lamar

Pitcher of the Year: Taylor Byrd, Nicholls

Relief Pitcher of the Year: Jordan Romano, Oral Roberts

Freshman of the Year: Adam Oller, Northwestern State

Newcomer of the Year: Jordan Romano, Oral Roberts

Utility Player of the Year: Curtis Jones, Houston Baptist

Clay Gould Coach of the Year: Seth Thibodaux, Nicholls

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