Kaiser is semifinalist for national player award

Colorado Mesa University’s Austin Kaiser celebrates at third base after hitting a triple to the right field fence in the top of the sixth inning of the Mavs’ game against St. Edward’s University at Suplizio Field.

Colorado Mesa outfielder Austin Kaiser is in the running for the NCAA Division II national player of the year.

The senior was chosen as one of the 40 semifinalists for the Jaeger Sports Tino Martinez Award, presented by College Baseball Lineup and D2baseballnews.com.

“We’re certainly proud of him,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “There are things more important than accolades to him, but he is very deserving of being recognized.”

Kaiser is hitting .509 with 99 hits, 22 doubles, 11 home runs, 56 RBI and 27 stolen bases through Thursday night. He leads the nation in batting average, hits and slugging percentage. He is fourth in doubles, fifth in runs, sixth in on-base percentage, 17th in home runs, 19th in RBI and 29th in stolen bases.

The Tino Martinez Award is named after the former University of Tampa Spartan, United States Olympian, first-round draft pick and Major League Baseball All-Star. He was a three-time All-American and still holds several Tampa records including career home runs (54), career slugging percentage (.736), career on-base percentage (.494), single-season batting average (.452) and single-season slugging percentage (.957).

Designated hitter Wes Koenig of St. Edward’s (Texas), shortstop Derrick Walls of Texas A&M-Kingsville and second baseman Logan Knox of Regis are also semifinalists.

Koenig is hitting .418 with 82 hits, 16 doubles, eight home runs and 60 RBI. Walls is hitting .372 with 70 hits, six doubles, eight home runs and 41 RBI. Both are in Grand Junction this week for the South Central Region Tournament.

The finalists will be announced prior to the Division II World Series from May 24-31 in Cary, N.C. The winner will be announced June 2.

This is the fifth year for the award.

Pitcher Award

The past four years, all players, including pitchers, were eligible for the Tino Martinez Award. This season, the Division II pitcher of the year will be honored with the newly established Brett Tomko Award.

Tomko led Florida Southern College to the 1995 national title. He was 15-2 with a 1.35 ERA and 154 strikeouts in 126 1/3 innings. He threw seven complete games and pitched a shutout in the national championship game.

St. Edward’s pitcher Brannon Easterling and West Texas A&M’s Dylan James are semifinalists for the award along with CSU-Pueblo’s Mike Fabrizio. Easterling played in the 2010 Alpine Bank Junior College World Series with Temple (Texas) College.

The finalists will be announced prior to the Division II World Series. The winner will be announced June 2

All Region

Colorado Mesa had six players selected to an All-Region team.

Kaiser made the Daktronics and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) first team. He is also the NCBWA Player of the Year. Hanks is the NCBWA Coach of the Year.

Junior pitcher Matt Delay made the Daktronics first team and the NCBWA second team. Junior shortstop Nate Robertson made the NCBWA first team and the Daktronics second team. Sophomore pitcher Matt Allen made the Daktronics second team and NCBWA third team.

Junior second baseman Derrick Garcia and sophomore third baseman Tony Audino were selected to the NCBWA third team.

Koenig is the Daktronics South Central Region Player of the Year, and Easterling is the Pitcher of the Year.

Softball Award

Colorado Mesa’s Makayla Kovac was selected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Region team in the South Central Region.

The sophomore shortstop and RMAC Player of the Year led the RMAC in batting average (.497), slugging percentage (1.000), runs (61) and RBI (68). She had a 21-game hit streak during the season and made the Daktronics All-Region second team.


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