Five LA Tech standouts earn postseason Conference USA honors
DALLAS – After wrapping up the 2019 regular season in third place in the Conference USA standings, the Louisiana Tech baseball team saw five student-athletes earn postseason awards.
Senior first baseman Mason Mallard (First Team All-Conference), senior closer Braxton Smith (First Team All-Conference), junior center fielder Parker Bates (Second Team All-Conference), senior starting pitcher Matt Miller (Second Team All-Conference) and freshman relief pitcher Jonathan Fincher (All-Freshman Team) represented the Bulldogs among the league’s top players.
Mallard was named First Team All-Conference after leading the Tech offense in hitting (.376) and ranked among the Conference USA league leaders in average (2nd), slugging (.554 – 12th), OBP (.473 – 3rd), runs scored (65 – 1st), hits (80 – 2nd), total bases (118 – 6th) and stolen bases (20 – T-4th). The Whitehouse, Texas, native, playing first base for the first time in his baseball career, started in every game in his senior season and recorded a .985 fielding percentage.
Mallard was named C-USA Hitter of the Week on May 13th, and collected two LSWA Hitter of the Week Honors throughout the season. The senior had a career day in Tech’s 12-1 drubbing of No. 15 LSU, going 4-for-5 with three doubles, three RBI and four runs scored. Mallard also led the team in stolen bases for the second consecutive season, converting on 20 of his 26 stolen-base attempts.
Smith, one of the most electric bullpen arms in the country, was named First Team All-Conference after a regular season that saw him post 10 saves along with a sub-three ERA at 2.95. Smith’s 10 saves were second-most in C-USA. The right-hander was named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Midseason List, recognizing the nation’s top relievers.
The senior was named C-USA Pitcher of the Week on April 8th after picking up three saves in two days. Smith struck out 53 over his 36.2 innings pitched. Opponents mustered just a .223 batting average off the Tech closer.
Junior centerfielder Parker Bates picked up all-conference accolades for the second consecutive season, as he was named to the league’s second team in 2019. Bates for the second straight year led the Bulldogs in RBI with 49 (50 in 2018). The reliable outfielder started all 52 games in center field and did not make an error in 135 chances, while picking up a couple outfield assists along the way.
Bates leads the team with 12 multiple-RBI games, including four games with four RBI. He leads the team with eight home runs and is first in C-USA with seven sac flies.
Senior captain Matt Miller picked up Second Team All-Conference Honors after spending most of the season as Tech’s Friday night ace. Among league leaders, Miller ranks sixth in ERA (3.24), fourth in opposing batting average (.224), seventh in innings pitched (83.1), fifth in strikeouts (97) and first in strikeouts looking (38). His 97 punchouts this season are the most by a Bulldog pitcher since 2007 (Luke Burnett – 115).
Redshirt freshman Jonathan Fincher rounds out the list of Bulldog accolades after his selection to the league’s all-freshman squad. Fincher was electric out of the pen in his first season in the Red and Blue, leading the team with a 2.93 ERA over 25 relief appearances. Opponents have mustered just a .189 average off the southpaw, while scoring just 10 earned runs over his 30.2 innings pitched. Fincher has struck out 48 and walked just 13, while picking up three saves this season.
The Bulldogs will open the C-USA Championship with the first game of the tournament, taking on (6) Marshall on Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. from MGM Park in Biloxi, Mississippi. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and broadcast on SportsTalk 97.7 with Dave Nitz on the radio call.
FIRST TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE
IF Bryan Arias, Sr., UTSA
IF Mason Mallard, Sr., Louisiana Tech
IF Elvis Peralta, Jr., Marshall
IF Vinnie Pasquantino, Jr., Old Dominion
OF Andy Garriolla, Fr., Old Dominion
OF Jake Sanford, Jr., WKU
OF Matt Wallner, Jr., Southern Miss
C Harris Yett, Sr., Charlotte
DH Andrew Dunlap, Sr., Rice
UT Logan Allen, So., FIU
SP Matt Canterino, Jr., Rice
SP Karan Patel, Sr., UTSA
SP Walker Powell, Jr., Southern Miss
SP Blake Sanderson, Sr., Florida Atlantic
RP Braxton Smith, Sr., Louisiana Tech
RP Zach Schneider, Sr., Florida Atlantic
SECOND TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE
IF Trei Cruz, So., Rice
IF Austin Shenton, Jr., FIU
IF Hunter Slater, Sr., Southern Miss
IF Bryce Windham, Sr., Old Dominion
OF Parker Bates, Jr., Louisiana Tech
OF Gabe Montenegro, So., Southern Miss
OF Andru Summerall, So., Florida Atlantic
C Pedro Pages, Jr., Florida Atlantic
DH Bryant Bowen, Jr., Southern Miss
UT Peyton Wiggington, So., Middle Tennessee
SP Joshua Shapiro, Sr., Marshall
SP Evan Kravetz, So., Rice
SP Matt Miller, Sr., Louisiana Tech
SP Ryne Moore, So., Old Dominion
RP Hunter Gregory, So., Old Dominion
RP Colby Bruce, Jr., Charlotte
3B Josh Haney, Charlotte
IF Danny Lynch, Southern Miss
OF/IF Luke Edwards, Marshall
OF Jarrett Ford, FIU
OF Mitchell Hartigan, Florida Atlantic
OF Andy Garriola, Old Dominion
OF Ryan Teschko, Old Dominion
OF Jess Davis, UAB
OF Jackson Swiney, WKU
LHP Jonathan Fincher, Louisiana Tech
RHP Josh Young, Middle Tennessee
SS/RHP Jacob Josey, Florida Atlantic
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