GREENSBORO, N.C. – Eight players from six ASUN Conference Baseball clubs were named to the 2022 ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Division I All-Region Teams that were announced on Wednesday. The teams are voted on by members of the American Baseball Coaches Association and the process is led by the ABCA NCAA Division I All-America Committee.
Matt Higgins of Bellarmine (Midwest; First Team), Tyler Cleveland of Central Arkansas (South; First Team), Will Brian (Midwest; First Team) and Kendal Ewell of Eastern Kentucky (Midwest; Second Team), FGCU's Alejandro Figueredo and Ian Farrow (Southeast; Second Team), Isaiah Magwood of Jacksonville State (Southeast; Second Team) and Josh Hatcher of Kennesaw State (Southeast; Second Team) all represented the league on All-Region squads. ABCA/Rawlings All-Region First Team selections are nominated for ABCA/Rawlings All-America honors. The ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Division I All-America Teams will be announced Friday.
Higgins, the ASUN Player of the Year, was tied for eighth nationally in home runs (a program-record 22) and was ninth in slugging percentage (.770), both of which topped the ASUN. Additionally at the end of the regular season, the product of Trinity (Ky.) High School was tied for second in the conference in RBIs (61), tied for third in doubles (20) and runs scored (61), tied for fifth in hits (78), ranked sixth in on-base percentage (.469) and seventh in batting average (.366), tied for ninth in steals (15) and tied for 13th in walks (34). He did not commit an error in the outfield, and Higgins set the all-time program records for career homers (45) and RBIs (185).
Cleveland, from East End, Ark., was one of four starting pitchers named to the First Team. He was named the ASUN Pitcher of the Year and led the ASUN in strikeouts with 101 in the Bears' first year in the league. He also tied for the lead with seven victories (7-2 record) and was third in earned run average with a 2.93. Cleveland started 14 games as UCA's Friday starter, had four complete games and struck out at least five batters 11 times, including 12 against Jacksonville State and 10, twice, against Eastern Kentucky and Bellarmine. His 192 career strikeouts places him in the top five in UCA history in just two seasons.
Brian went 3-0 in 2022 with a 1.83 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 39.1 innings pitched. The redshirt junior allowed only eight runs and 16 hits all season and broke EKU's single season saves record of 12. He was first in the ASUN in appearances (31) and third in strikeouts among pitchers who did not start a game. Brian made five appearances against RPI top-100 teams, including then-No. 2 Tennessee, without allowing a hit or a run and striking out nine in 5.1 innings. Ewell was a First Team All-ASUN outfielder and one of 31 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award, which is given each year to the top amateur baseball player in the country. The Calumet City, Ill., native hit .361 with 10 doubles, 14 home runs, 51 RBIs and 55 runs scored. He had 11 steals, posted a .607 slugging percentage and a .482 on-base percentage.
Figueredo started all 58 games for the Eagles this season and hit .392 with 13 home runs, 21 doubles, 62 RBIs and 49 runs scored en route to being named All-ASUN First Team. He is also currently ninth in the NCAA with 91 hits while his batting average is in the top 20. Figueredo's .659 slugging percentage also led the Eagles by over 30 points. Farrow started all 58 games in left field for FGCU and was one of just a handful of players across the nation to have both 70 runs scored and 70 RBIs. He set new Eagle single-season records with 21 home runs and 75 RBIs while also hitting .322. Figueredo and Farrow become just the seventh and eighth players in FGCU's Division I era to be named All-Region and the first since Nick Rivera in 2017.
Magwood collected an earned run average of 2.60 against ASUN foes. The Hazel Green, Ala., right-hander pitched 53.0 innings, allowed 15 earned runs and gathered 58 strikeouts. Magwood tallied double-digit strikeout totals in three of his nine ASUN starts. He fanned a career-high 11 against North Alabama on March 25. He pitched four-plus innings in all nine outings in the ASUN. Overall, Magwood posted a 7-2 mark in the regular season with an ERA of 2.58 along with 78 strikeouts in 69.2 innings of work. He was named to the All-ASUN First Team after collecting six wins against league competition.
Hatcher ended the year with a team-high .391 batting average that included three triples, 15 home runs and a program-record 26 doubles. He became the first player in KSU history to hit for the cycle and two games later, became only the third player in NCAA history to hit for two cycles in the same season. At the ASUN Championship, the center fielder was named First Team All-ASUN and collected the ASUN Tournament Most Valuable Player award. Hatcher helped lead the Owls to their first ASUN Championship crown and NCAA Regional appearance since 2014, where he continued to dominate at the NCAA Hattiesburg Regional, and was selected to the All-Tournament Team. Hatcher finished 6-for-12 (.500) with two home runs, one double, four RBIs and six runs scored.
The ABCA, founded in 1945, is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. Its over 13,000 members represent all 50 states and 23 countries. Since its initial meeting of 27 college baseball coaches in June 1945, Association membership has broadened to include eight divisions: NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, NJCAA, Pacific Association Division, High School and Youth.
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The ASUN, a Division I conference member of the NCAA, boasts a membership of institutions that share visionary leadership, bold ambition and creative innovation. As a nimble adaptive conference, unafraid to blaze a national pathway for better service to our student-athletes, teams, and institutions, the ASUN has a proud history of firsts, national academic and athletic achievements and a conference culture that walks the walk with its four ASUN Beams. Students First! Rise. Connect. Impact. #ASUNBuilt by Bellarmine (Louisville), Central Arkansas (Conway), Eastern Kentucky (Richmond), FGCU (Fort Myers), Jacksonville (Fla.), Jacksonville State (Jacksonville, Ala.), Kennesaw State (Ga.), Liberty (Lynchburg, Va.), Lipscomb (Nashville), North Alabama (Florence), North Florida (Jacksonville, Fla.), and Stetson (DeLand, Fla.). Austin Peay, based in Clarksville, Tenn., and Queens University, based in Charlotte, N.C., are set to join the league in the 2022-23 academic year.