BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Grambling State shortstop Marshawn Taylor has been voted the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Player of the Year, Hitter of the Year and Newcomer of the Year as the conference announced its 2017 all-conference baseball teams and individual honors Monday. The vote was conducted by the league’s head baseball coaches and sports information directors.
Grambling State along with defending SWAC champion Alabama State took home the individual honors for the 2017 season. Along with Taylor, Grambling State head coach James Cooper was named the SWAC Coach of the Year after leading the Tigers to a 22-28 overall record and a 15-9 record in conference play en route to the Western Division title. For Alabama State, Tyler Howe was voted Pitcher of the Year, Austin Bizzle was voted Relief Pitcher of the Year and Cage Cox was voted Freshman of the Year.
Taylor led the conference in batting average this season. The redshirt junior totaled a .397 average, and also tied for the league lead with 77 hits and drove in 36 RBIs. Taylor also had stellar numbers in SWAC play, totaling a .407 batting average — which ranked fourth-best among all players against league opposition — and tied for first with 39 hits while delivering 25 RBIs in SWAC contests.
Howe led the Hornets with a 7-4 record and finished the regular season with a 3.46 ERA. The seven wins ranked tied for third in SWAC this season. He also finished second in the conference in strikeouts with 83.
Bizzle led the Hornets and the SWAC with a 1.92 ERA. The senior also had a perfect 6-0 record, in 24 appearances. He allowed just 13 earned runs and picked up three saves along with striking out 63 batters.
Cox finished the season ranked fifth in the SWAC in batting average (.356). The Cairo, Ga. native with 69-194 from the plate, including 17 doubles, with 45 runs scored, 40 RBIs and five home runs.
Alabama State had the most players earn all-conference honors with seven. Jackson State and Grambling State each had five. Prairie View A&M and Alcorn State each had two, while Alabama A&M, Southern, and Texas Southern each had one player earn all-conference honors.
The entire 2017 baseball postseason awards list is below:
Player of the Year – Marshawn Taylor (Grambling State)
Pitcher of the Year – Tyler Howe (Alabama State)
Relief Pitcher of the Year – Austin Bizzle (Alabama State)
Hitter of the Year – Marshawn Taylor (Grambling State)
Newcomer of the Year – Marshawn Taylor (Grambling State)
Freshman of the Year – Cage Cox (Alabama State)
Coach of the Year – James Cooper (Grambling State)
First Team All-Conference
C – Chris Biocic (Alabama State)
1B – Gustavo Rios (Alabama State)
2B – Wallace Rios Jimenez (Alcorn State)
3B – Jesus Santana (Jackson State)
SS – Marshawn Taylor (Grambling State)
DH – Cage Cox (Alabama State)
OF – Cody Den Beste (Prairie View A&M)
OF – Lamar Briggs (Jackson State)
OF – Bryce Brown (Jackson State)
SP – Miguel Yrigoyen (Jackson State)
SP – Tyler Howe (Alabama State)
RP – Brandon Marsonek (Alabama A&M)
Second Team All-Conference
C- Jason Sanez (Alcorn State)
1B – Daniel Barnett (Grambling State)
2B – Carlos Ocasio (Alabama State)
3B – Wesley Drain (Grambling State)
SS – Kevin Macias (Prairie View A&M)
DH – John Pope (Southern)
OF – CJ Newsome (Jackson State)
OF – Olajide Oloruntimilehin (Texas Southern)
OF – Diandre Amion (Alabama State)
SP – Issac O’Bear (Grambling State)
SP – Tanner Raiburn (Grambling State)
RP – Austin Bizzle (Alabama State)