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More Recognition Earned by Golden Eagle Baseball

June 15, 2017

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Three Southern Miss baseball players, junior third baseman/pitcher Taylor Braley, sophomore right-handed pitcher Nick Sandlin and freshman outfielder Matt Wallner, each earned recognition on a pair of postseason teams released this week.

The trio were named to the Perfect Game/Rawlings All-American squads with Sandlin earning first-team honors at relief pitcher, while Wallner garnered a second-team pick in the outfield and Braley earned a third-team selection as a utility performer. As for the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings South All-Region teams, Wallner collected a first-team nod in the outfield, while Braley and Sandlin collected second team accolades at third base and reliever, respectively.

Braley, who also received second-team All-America honors by Baseball America, batted .313 with 12 doubles, 17 home runs and 61 runs batted in, to go along with a single-season school record 63 walks. He posted a .461 on base percentage and a .587 slugging percentage for the season.

On the mound, the Hattiesburg, Miss., product appeared in 14 games and started 13 to post a 7-2 record to go along with a 3.40 earned run average. He fanned 78 over 82 innings of work and allowed just 22 walks. Earlier this week, Braley was taken in the sixth round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Miami Marlins.

Wallner added to his already long list of awards including the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America (NCBWA) Freshman Hitter of the Year as well as earning All-American nods by the NCBWA (first team) and Baseball America (second team). The C-USA Freshman of the Year also earned Freshman All-America nods by both Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA.

The Forest Lake, Minn., native registered a .336 batting average during his initial season with the Golden Eagles while putting together Southern Miss freshman records for home runs (19) and runs batted in (63). The 6-foot-5 outfielder/pitcher also added 14 doubles, two triples and four stolen bases.

His offensive numbers included a .463 on base percentage along with a .655 slugging percentage for a Golden Eagle squad that won a school-record 50 games. Later this month, Wallner will join the USA Baseball Collegiate Team Training Camp to earn a chance to make this summer’s roster. Training camp invitees will compete for a spot on the final 24-man roster, which will be announced on July 1. The players will train at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, and play games with teams in the Coastal Plains League from June 20-25.

Sandin, from Evans, Ga., registered a 10-2 record with eight saves and a 2.38 earned run average for the Golden Eagles this season. Sandlin fanned 80 and walked just 29 in 56 2/3 innings of work as he appeared in 29 games. He and teammate Kirk McCarty shared the top spot in C-USA for wins. 

Sandlin was named to the Conference USA All-Academic Team for his 4.0 GPA while majoring in construction engineering technology. He also garnered a third-team CoSIDA Academic All-American nod. His 20 career saves places him sixth and 10 behind the all-time record holder at the school.

This is Sandlin’s third All-America accolade, after being named second team by both Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA.

Here is a listing of the latest Golden Eagle Awards:

ABCA/Rawlings South All-REGION
OF          Matt Wallner  (first team)
3B           Taylor Braley (second team)
RP           Nick Sandlin (second team)

Perfect Game/RAWLINGS All-american
RP           Nick Sandlin (first team)
OF          Matt Wallner (second team)
UTIL       Taylor Braley (third team)

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