June 13, 2017
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ryan Bomberger
Wallner, Mooney are nation's best first-year players
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LYNCHBURG, VA. (NCBWA) – University of Southern Mississippi outfielder Matt Wallner and St. John’s University right-hander Sean Mooney have been named the 2017 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Freshman Hitter and Pitcher of the Year recipients, as announced by the organization today.

Wallner, the Conference USA Freshman of the Year, hit .336 for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, while setting school freshman records with 19 home runs and 63 runs batted in. The outfielder also added 14 doubles, two triples and four stolen bases, helping Southern Miss post a school-record 50-16 overall mark and finish first in the 2017 Conference USA standings with a 25-5 mark.

A second team All-Conference USA selection, Wallner collected a .463 on base percentage and a .655 slugging percentage, as Southern Miss hosted a NCAA Regional for the first time since 2003 and reached the top 10 in the national polls in May. The Forest Lake, Minn., native tallied 26 multiple-hit games and drove in two or more runs a team-high 18 times. He registered a 12-game hitting streak during the season.

Wallner has also been named a Baseball America second-team All-American and selected to the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s Freshman All-American first team. Later this month, Wallner will join the USA Baseball Collegiate Team Training Camp to compete for a spot on this summer’s 24-man roster. The outfielder also was selected to the 2017 Conference USA All-Tournament team and was named the Conference USA Hitter of the Week during the season.

Mooney, the second player in BIG EAST history to be named the conference’s Pitcher of the Year and Freshman of the Year in the same season, posted an 8-2 record with a 1.71 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in 16 appearances, 13 which were starts, for the St. John’s Red Storm. The right-hander’s ERA and WHIP ranked among the top 10 nationally in Division I in 2017. He struck out 88 batters and walked only 16 over 100 innings. His innings pitched were the fourth most in a single season by a Red Storm pitcher.

A first team All-BIG EAST member, Mooney limited the opposition to a .196 batting average and went no fewer than seven innings in nine of his starts, pitching one complete game. He helped the Red Storm post a 42-13 overall mark and receive an at-large bid to the 2017 NCAA Clemson, S.C. Regional.

The Marmora, N.J., native is one of the five finalists for the 2017 College Baseball Hall of Fame National Pitcher of the Year Award. Mooney has also been named to the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s All-America first team and selected as its National Freshman Pitcher of the Year. The right-hander was named the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week twice and earned a spot on the conference’s honor roll six times during 2017.

Founded in 1962, the NCBWA is dedicated to the advancement of college baseball. Membership is open to writers, broadcasters and publicists of the sport. For more information about the NCBWA, visit the association's official Web site, ncbwa.com. For more information, contact Ryan Bomberger (rbomberger@liberty.edu).