Sandlin, Wallner named Preseason All-American

By FROM SOUTHERN MISS,

HATTIESBURG A pair of Southern Miss baseball players garnered preseason All-America accolades Tuesday by Perfect Game.

Junior right-handed relief pitcher Nick Sandlin garnered a spot on the Perfect Game first-team preseason squad, while sophomore outfielder/pitcher Matt Wallner collected second-team honors at utility player.

Sandlin posted a 10-2 record with eight saves and a 2.38 earned run average for the Golden Eagles last season. Sandlin fanned 80 and walked just 29 in 56 2/3 innings of work as he appeared in 29 games. 

Sandlin was named to the Conference USA All-Academic Team for his 4.0 GPA while majoring in construction engineering technology. He also garnered a third-team CoSIDA Academic All-American nod. His 20 career saves places him sixth and 10 behind the all-time record holder at the school.

Sandlin’s collected three All-America accolades last summer, being named to the first team by Perfect Game/Rawlings and second team by both Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA.

Wallner registered a .336 batting average during his initial season with the Golden Eagles in 2017, while putting together Southern Miss freshman records for home runs (19) and runs batted in (63). His home run total was the most by any freshman in the country while his RBI total ranked second. The 6-foot-5 outfielder/pitcher also added 14 doubles, two triples and four stolen bases.

His offensive numbers included a .463 on-base percentage along with a .655 slugging percentage for a Golden Eagle squad that won a school-record 50 games in 2017 that included a C-USA regular season championship and the school hosting just their second-ever NCAA regional.

Wallner garnered the Freshman Hitter of the Year accolade by the National Collegiate Baseball Association (NCBWA) and Freshman of the Year award by Baseball America. In addition, he made the Freshman All-America teams by Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game/Rawlings and earned the Conference USA’s Freshman of the Year nod.

He also has earned spots on five All-America teams last summer, which also includes first-team honors by D1Baseball.com and the NCBWA and second-team nods by Baseball America and Perfect Game/Rawlings and third team accolades by American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings.

The duo were also named preseason All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball, both collecting second-team honors.

The Golden Eagles open the season Feb. 16, when they play in the Mississippi Farm Bureau Classic, hosting Mississippi State in a three-game set at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.