OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (June 24, 2013) – The 2013 Big West Conference Co-Player of the Year Carlos Lopez of Cal State Fullerton has been selected as the 2013 Senior CLASS Award winner in NCAA® Division I baseball.
The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I baseball coaches, national baseball media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I baseball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – classroom, community, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
"I am so flattered and grateful to receive the Senior CLASS Award," Lopez said. "I share this accolade with my teammates, coaches and Cal State Fullerton staff and community that supported me during my career as a Titan. Most importantly, I share this award with my family, who stressed the importance of effort not just on the field, but in the classroom and in my community.
"When I made the decision to return for my senior season, I could not have fathomed the amazing and successful season we had this year, as well as the long-lasting relationships I was able to build with my coaches and teammates," Lopez added.
Boasting a GPA of 3.41, Lopez's academic success did not go unnoticed. He was named to the Dean's List twice and the All-Big West academic team three times. As a senior he became the second player in Cal State Fullerton history to be named to the Capital One Academic All-American team, a member of the third team. He was also named Cal State Fullerton Male Scholar Athlete of the Year two times. Lopez was an active member in multiple community service events. Through the athletic department, he visited local elementary schools to read to students and was involved in Challenger Camps and free baseball clinics for local kids. Lopez also traveled to Mexico to help build houses for the needy.
"Carlos has been an exceptional leader for our program both on and off the field," head coach Rick Vanderhook said. "His effort, guidance and maturity played a significant role in our success this year, and I am very pleased that he is being honored with this well-deserved distinction. His many accomplishments during his career at Cal State Fullerton are clearly a product of his hard work and dedication."
Lopez ended his career at Cal State Fullerton with a Big West championship and Fullerton Regional Championship before being drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 10th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. He was also voted to the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings West Region Second Team, and was an ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove selection at first base.
Lopez and the Titans clinched their fourth consecutive Big West championship on May 19 by completing a weekend series sweep of UC Irvine. Lopez played a massive role in the sweep that finalized the Titans 27th conference championship and the Big West's automatic NCAA Tournament berth. Following the sweep, Lopez was named Big West co-Player of the Week with dramatic back-to-back walk-off home runs against the Anteaters.
Fullerton completed the season with a 51-10 record, the most wins for the program since 1995's national championship squad won 57 games. The Titans' starting first baseman led Cal State Fullerton in several offensive categories in 2013 including; batting average (.339), runs scored (52), hits (80), and stolen bases (15). In addition, Lopez totaled 11 doubles, three triples and four home runs while driving in 34 runs.
During his career, Lopez managed a .338 batting average and played in 226 career games, which ranks eighth all-time at Fullerton. His 287 career hits rate third all-time at Fullerton, while his 53 doubles rank 10th. In addition, he totaled 145 runs scored, 10 triples, 14 home runs, 142 RBIs, 95 walks and 35 stolen bases. Lopez's 849 career at-bats rank fourth all-time at Fullerton.
Following the regular season, Lopez received Big West co-Player of the Year honors, and received Big West first team accolades for the second straight year. Lopez returned for his senior season after earning Big West Conference First Team honors in 2012 and hitting .317 while playing in all 57 games.
The Titans' starting first baseman participated in four consecutive postseason appearances at CSF, including a run to the Super Regionals in 2010 and 2013 during his freshman and senior campaigns, respectively.
During the past four years with Lopez on the roster, the Titans totaled a remarkable 174-66 (.725) record. As a redshirt freshman in 2010, Lopez was named to the Big West Conference second team, received freshman All-America honors, and was selected to the American Baseball Coaches Association All-West Region second team. Lopez has also performed at his best in the postseason, earning all-tournament nods at the Fullerton Regionals in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
"Carlos committed to making Cal State Fullerton a better baseball team when he signed to play for the Titans," said Erik Miner, executive director for the Senior CLASS Award. "In honoring his commitment, he was able to impact many teammates and people in the community through his good works and strong leadership."
For more information on all the finalists, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
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Carlos Lopez, Cal State Fullerton
Alex Mendez, South Florida
Raph Rhymes, LSU
Chris Rowley, Army
Brandon Thomas, Georgia Tech
Mark Appel, Stanford
Shane Basen, Charlotte
Chase Brookshire, Belmont
Boomer Collins, Dallas Baptist
LB Dantzler, South Carolina
ABOUT THE AWARD
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. The award program is designed exclusively for college seniors who are utilizing their complete athletic eligibility, remaining committed to their university and pursuing the many rewards a senior season can bring. Premier Sports Management owns and manages the award.
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