Fresh off an appearance in the regional playoffs, six Linfield players have been named to the American Baseball Coaches Association All-West Region Team, as announced Wednesday.
First team accolades went to rookie Tim Wilson, who was chosen as a utility player. Catcher Cole Bixenman and pitchers Ryan Larson and Robert Vaughn were named to the second team. Third team selections included designated hitter Clayton Truex (Sr., Kirkland, Wash.) and pitcher Evan Hilberg.
In his first year as a Wildcat, Wilson had a significant impact on the baseball program. He reset the Linfield record for highest single-season batting average at .490, 44 points higher than the No. 2 all-time mark. Appearing in 33 games primarily in center field, Wilson tallied 31 RBI on 50 hits, including six doubles, one triple and five home runs. He was one of just three players to hit a triple this season, and co-led the team in stolen bases with 19.
Wilson was named to the all-tournament team at the NCAA Abilene Regional after leading all participants in batting average at .667. He was also a first-team all-Northwest Conference selection and named the conference player of the week twice.
Bixenman, the 2011 NWC Player of the Year, became Linfield’s career record holder in RBI with 167 and is tied for the most career home runs with 32. This season, he led the team in RBI (45), home runs (10), total bases (105) and hits (59), and co-led the team in runs scored (43).
The senior three-year letterwinner was one of two players to start all 44 games for the Wildcats and had the second-highest slugging percentage at .625.
Pitching ace Larson was named to the second team after leading the Wildcat pitching staff in strikeouts with a career-high 71. He went 7-3 on the year with a 2.09 ERA and was the only player to pitch a complete game, of which he had three.
Larson earned his first career save at the regional playoffs, and led all pitchers with 10 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings of work.
Despite missing the second half of the season due to injury, Vaughn racked up the second-most strikeouts on the team (55) in only nine appearances. He went 6-1 with a 0.82 ERA while holding opponents to a .178 batting average. For his efforts, the junior was a first team all-conference honoree.
Designated hitter Truex hit .325 on the year and ranked second on the team in RBI (43), total bases (91) and home runs (9) and had the third-most doubles (14). He saw action in all 44 games, starting 41 of them, and had 13 multiple-hit games. The freshman was a first team all-NWC selection and was also named the conference player of the week once.
Hilberg, one of six seniors on this year’s club, had one of the team’s lowest ERAs at 1.89. Primarily a relief pitcher, he recorded a team-high five saves in 15 total appearances on the mound. He went 4-2 and racked up 45 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .225 batting average. In his final year at Linfield, he was named to the all-conference team for the first team, making an appearance on the first team.
The 2011 Linfield baseball team won its second-straight league crown and advanced to the NCAA regional playoffs in Abilene, Texas. The 'Cats fell to Chapman in the final game of the tournament to miss out on a berth in the NCAA finals.
All-West Region Player of the Year Honors went to Kyle Felix of Trinity (Texas) and Chapman’s Brian Rauh was chosen as the All-West Region Pitcher of the Year.
Big impact in first year at Linfield
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