Two USM baseball players named preseason All-Americans

Two USM baseball players named preseason All-Americans

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - University of Southern Mississippi junior relief pitcher Nick Sandlin and sophomore outfielder/pitcher Matt Wallner were named second-team All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball.

The preseason teams were announced Monday.

Wallner was named Baseball America's Freshman of the Year and National Collegiate Baseball Association's Freshman Hitter of the Year in 2017 after hitting .336 in his year with the Golden Eagles, according to Southern Miss sports information.

The Forest Lake, Minn., native set USM freshman records with 19 home runs and 63 runs batted in. The homers were the most in the nation by a freshman and the RBIs were second-most.

The 6-foot-5 Wallner also smacked 14 doubles and two triples and stole four bases. His .465 on-base percentage and a .655 slugging percentage were the highest on a USM team that won a school-record 50 games and won the Conference USA regular-season championship.

Wallner, who was named to five All-American teams last spring, was named Freshman All-America by Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game/Rawlings in 2017 and also was named C-USA's Freshman of the Year.

Sandlin posted a 10-2 mark with eight saves and 2.38 ERA. The Evans, Ga., native appeared in 29 games, striking out 80 and walking 39 in 56 2/3 innings. The 10 wins were tied for the most by a C-USA pitcher in 2107.

Sandlin, who was named to three All-American teams this past spring, ranks sixth on USM's career saves list. His 20 saves are just 10 behind career leaders Collin Cargill and Bradley Roney.

Sandlin, who is majoring in construction engineering technology, was named to the C-USA All-Academic Team with a 4.0 GPA. He also earned third-team CoSIDA Academic All-American honors.

The Golden Eagles open the 2018 season on Feb. 16 at Pete Taylor Park, when they host Mississippi State University in the first of a three-game series being dubbed the Mississippi Farm Bureau Classic.