LakePoint, Ga. - After setting multiple program records in 2017, FGCU's Nick Rivera becomes the third Eagle in league history to garner ASUN Conference Baseball Player of the Year Honors. Teammate Richie Garcia takes home Freshman of the Year after leading his year in home runs (6) and RBIs (32). Stetson's Logan Gilbert earned Pitcher of the Year honors after posting a record of 10-0, while Lipscomb's Michael Gigliotti and Kennesaw State's Grant Williams become the first pair of ASUN student-athletes to achieve Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.
As a fifth-year senior, Rivera is the ASUN's active leader in runs scored (172), hits (275), RBIs (214) and home runs (42). His RBI and long ball tallies are both career records, as the designated hitter went deep a conference-high 16 times in 2017, on the way to driving in an ASUN-best 54 runs. Rivera earned his third ASUN Player of the Week honors of the year in the final term of the season after going yard four times in three games and setting a single-game program record six walks in the series finale. The weekly award was the fifth of his career, tying a conference record. The right-handed hitter finishes the 2017 campaign slashing .308/.454/.605, while drawing a conference-high 51 walks on the season.
Stetson's Gilbert is the only ASUN pitcher to reach double-digit wins this season, as the sophomore went 10-0 over 11 starts. Gilbert struck out a career-high 103 batters over the course of the year, and trailed only teammates Jack Perkins (107) and Brooks Wison for the conference's strikeout title. The righty struck out 18 FGCU batters in a series finale with the Eagles in April, while keeping the opposing side hitless through eight innings. He finished with the first shutout win of his career, and ended the regular season with two complete game victories and two Pitcher of the Week designatons. Gilbert holds a conference-best 1.71 ERA for the 2017 campaign, and an unheard of 0.94 when facing ASUN batters. Only five earned runs have been scored against the Hatter hurler in conference-play all year.
Lipscomb's Gigliotti and KSU's Williams tied for Defensive Player of the Year honors after the two were near perfect in the field this spring. Gigliotti successfully fielded .994 of his chances with a pair of double plays turned, despite playing center field for the majority of the season. The junior provided just a single error on the season on 163 chances. The Bisons hitter also got it done in the box and on the basebaths, drawing 50 walks and stealing an ASUN-best 31 bases. His stolen bag total is tied for fifth in all of Division I Baseball, while his bases on balls tally sit in seventh.
Williams was responsible for just three errors on 212 chances this year for a fielding percentage of .986. Playing primarily at second base, the junior turned 35 double plays in 2017, more than any other middle infielder in the ASUN. The junior averaged .302 for the year with 27 RBIs and held a 17 game hit-streak over the course of a month earlier this season.
FGCU's Richie Garcia led his class in multiple categories to earn Freshman of the Year, including on-base percentage (.386), slugging (.439), home runs (6) and RBIs (32). Garcia earned Player of the Week honors in his first week of college play, after going deep in the just the second game of his young career. The infielder scored 30 runs on the year, and his 15 RBIs against ASUN pitchers was third most on his team, trailing only Player of the Year Nick Rivera (29) and junior Eli Lovell (20).
Jacksonville Head Coach Chris Hayes took his team to a regular season title and a No. 1 seed in the ASUN Championship in his first year at the helm of the Dolphins' club. The JU allum spent the previous three years as an assistant to HC Tim Montez before being promoted this past offseason. Hayes took the Dolphins to a 16-5 record in conference play, and earned non-conference victories against then-ranked No. 2 Florida and No. 25 South Florida. Jacksonville recorded the club's longest win streak in 26 years after winning 13 straight, and tallied more conference wins than its had since 2011 (19).
All-Conference First Team:
SP Logan Gilbert, Stetson - Struck out 103 batters this season with an ASUN-best 1.71 ERA and a perfect 10-0 record.
SP Kutter Crawford, FGCU - 1.76 ERA ranks second in the ASUN while his 10.17 K/9 is fourth in the conference.
SP Frank German, North Florida - Went 8-1 with a 2.62 ERA, while giving up just five home runs on the year.
RP Matthew Naylor, North Florida - Nine saves rank second in the ASUN, while making more relief appearances than any other arm in the conference (28).
C Charlie Carpenter, USC Upstate - Set a Division I program record with 11 home runs this year, leading his team in all three slash categories (.357/.441/.592).
1B Austin Upshaw, Kennesaw State - Ranked second on KSU with a .332 batting average and set a career-high with 38 RBIs.
2B Grant Williams, Kennesaw State - Posted career highs in batting average (.302), AB (205), hits (62), and RBI (27), while posting 21 multi-hit games.
*3B Alex Merritt, North Florida - 76 hits are tied for first in the conference, while batting .344 and tallying 99 total bases.
SS Julio Gonzalez, FGCU - .342 batting average ranks sixth in the ASUN and leads his squad, and slugged .509 on the year.
OF Taylor Allum, Kennesaw State - Finished second in the ASUN with 14 home runs, while his .594 slugging is second only to FGCU's Nick Rivera.
OF Yahir Gurrola, North Florida - 127 total bases leads the ASUN field by nine, while his 50 RBIs rank second in the conference.
OF Nathan Koslowski, Jacksonville - Leads Jacksonville with a .338 batting average, bringing in 45 runs over the course of the year.
*#DH Nick Rivera, FGCU - Leads the ASUN with 16 home runs, 51 walks and 54 RBIS, while slugging a conference-best .605.
*- Denotes a unanimous selection
#- Denotes a second career selection