IRVINE, Calif.--- Cal State Fullerton second baseman Sahid Valenzuela has been named the Big West Conference Freshman Field Player of the Year, while the Titans led all conference members with five players named to the league's All-Big West First Team, the conference office announced on Wednesday.
For the first time since 2011 a Cal State Fullerton player has been named Big West Freshman Player of the Year with the selection of Valenzula. The Yuma, Ariz., native, paces the Titans and ranks tied for fourth in the Big West with a .339 batting average. He played in 49 of 55 contests during his first season with the Titans and tallied 65 hits during the regular season to rank sixth in the league. The second baseman is the lone freshman to make the 2017 All-Big West First Team and just the second Titan to earn freshman player of the year honors. Michael Lorenzen also claimed the honor for the Titans.
Junior Scott Hurst has put together a campaign to remember, certainly worthy of the first team honor. The Glendora, Calif. native has given opponents fits all season long. He led the Big West in runs scored (49), runs per game (0.92), ranks third in slugging percentage (.592), third in total bases (129) and ranks fourth in the conference in triples with four, while he's just two triples away from placing eighth on the Fullerton all-time single season triples list. Hurst leads the Titans in batting average (.339), slugging percentage (.592), on-base percentage (.430), runs scored (49), hits (74), runs batted in (37), triples (4), home runs (11), total bases (129), games played (55), games started (55) and total plate appearances (257).
Hurst collected two Big West Field Player of the Week awards on May 8th and May 22nd and also managed to make history on May 20th vs. CSUN, going 5-of-5 with a school-record equaling four home runs, seven RBI and six runs scored.
Brett Conine has put together a spectacular sophomore campaign to earn a spot on the first team. He's collected 12 saves on the year without blowing one. He's tallied 36 strikeouts while only walking five on the year to go along with his 1.45 ERA. His 12 saves led the conference during the regular season and are ranked 20th in the nation. Conine's next save will move him into a tie for seventh place on Fullerton's all-time saves list. Vinnie Pestano and Ted Silva currently hold the spot down with 13 saves.
Dillon Persinger boasted a successful first year with the Titans, as he boasted a .280 batting average and played in 52 games. The Fountain Valley, Calif. native has reached base via hit by pitch a team-leading 10 times this season, which is tied for fifth in the Big West. He also placed third in the Big West in stolen bases (14) and ranks second in steals per game (0.30). Titans are 7-5 when Persinger starts at second base this season, as opposed to 22-13 when he starts at first base.
Connor Seabold also earned first-team honors and has been mighty impressive thus far as Fullerton's Friday night guy this season. His 110.1 innings pitched and his 108 strikeouts lead the team, while his 2.94 ERA is the second lowest of any starter to go along with a 10-4 record. In addition, he's tossed three complete games this season, which ranks 22nd nationally and is third best in the conference. He's claimed Big West Pitcher of the Week honors twice this season, on Feb. 20 and March 10, while he's recorded quality starts in 10 of his last 12 outings. His complete-game shutout on April 7 vs. UC Davis, marked Fullerton's first complete-game shutout Thomas Eshelman threw one on May 15, 2015. The Newport Beach, Calif. native was named to the conference's second team last year.
Sophomore Blake Workman recorded his best season as a Titan, claiming a 6-2 record to go along with a 2.81 ERA in 57.2 innings pitched to earn second team honors. Workman earned Big West Pitcher of the Week honors after tossing 6.0 innings of scoreless relief, while striking out a career-high five batters in a 14-innings win over UC Irvine
Senior Timmy Richards earned All-Big West honors for the second straight season, this time earning an honorable mention need. He at one point strung together Titan season-long hitting streaks and on-base streaks of 12 and 22 respectively.
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