FIVE HORNETS EARN ALL-WAC HONORS, WHEELER NAMED TO FIRST TEAM
RUSTON, La. - The Sacramento State baseball team had five players earn all-Western Athletic Conference honors, as announced at the conference's annual awards banquet, held in conjuction with the WAC Tournament on Wednesday, May 21 on the campus of Louisiana Tech.
Sophomore Tim Wheeler earned first team honors as an outfielder, while seniors Ryan Blair (OF), David Flores (3B) and Wes Oberlin (DH), along with junior Gabe Jacobo (Utility), earned second team accolades.
Wheeler, a native of Sacramento, was also a preseason all-league nominee, and is hitting .322 on the season with three homers and 40 RBI. The center fielder has eight outfield assists on the season, while ranking second on the team during WAC play in RBI (22) and stolen bases (5). Wheeler had his best series of the season in an early conference test against Hawai'i, when he went 7-for-15 at the plate with a double, a triple, and two home runs, including a grand slam, driving home seven Hornet runs during a four-game sweep. The El Camino High School product tied for the longest hitting streak in the WAC this season with his teammate Blair, as both hit safely in 20 games during the year.
Blair, a native of Visalia, Calif., is hitting .341 on the season with five home runs and 33 runs driven in. A first time all-WAC selection, Blair ranks second on the team during WAC play with a .339 batting average, and saved argueably his best series of the year for the home finale against Fresno State, going 9-for-17 at the plate (.541) with three doubles. He leads the Hornets in stolen bases on the season with 15 in 19 attempts.
Flores earned his second career second team accolade, being named to the squad previously in 2006 before being tabbed as a first team selection in 2007. Flores leads the team in hitting during conference play with a .367 batting average, while boasting a season average of .373. The Union City, Calif. native became the school's all-time leader in doubles, as his 26 two-baggers on the season give him 60 in his career, and also rank him first in the WAC and fourth in the NCAA. He needs just one more double to tie Kevin Kobza (1985) for the school’s single season mark. Flores leads the team in runs scored (51), while ranking second in hits (79), extra base hits (33), and total bases (126). He also ranks second in school history in career hits (223), runs scored (126), and at bats (707), while ranking fifth in RBI (105).
Jacobo was honored by the WAC for the first time in his career, coming into the conference tournament with a .379 average on the season with 14 home runs and 65 RBI, leading the Hornets in all categories. A selection as a utility player, Jacobo has started 28 games in left field, 25 games at first base and two games at designated hitter on the season. The native of Tulare, Calif. ranks 31st in the nation in RBI, 33rd in total bases (148), and 59th in hits. Jacobo has just one error on the season and boasts a fielding percentage of .997.
Oberlin, a native of Irvine, Calif. was recognized by the WAC for the first time, and is hitting .328 on the season with 12 home runs and 38 RBI. A model of consistency at the plate, Oberlin is batting .327 against WAC pitching, with six home runs and 18 RBI. He ranks third on the team in slugging percentage (.538), while being the only Hornet to successfully steal home during the season.
The WAC also presented its individual awards at the banquet. Fresno State's Steve Susdorf was the WAC Player of the Year, while fellow Bulldog Tanner Scheppers was named the Pitcher of the Year. Danny Muno completed the Fresno State sweep of the individual awards, earning Freshman of the Year honors, while Fresno State head coach Mike Batesole and San Jose State head coach Sam Piraro were named co-Coaches of the Year.
Sacramento State will begin play in the WAC Tournament on Thursday, May 22, at 11 a.m. Central time against Fresno State. The winner of the tournament will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.