FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Infielder Casey Martin and outfielder Heston Kjerstad picked up more postseason hardware earlier this week, earning First Team Freshman All-America honors by the National College Baseball Writers’ Association (NCBWA).
Martin and Kjerstad have been, arguably, the best freshman hitting duo in the nation as they have both notched more than 55 starts each and are hitting .340 or higher. Martin’s .344 average is tops on the team, while Kjerstad is hitting .340 with a team-leading 14 home runs and 54 RBIs. Both averages are the highest among all freshmen in the SEC and top 20 in the country.
With their new distinction, Martin and Kjerstad become the 20th and 21st Freshman All-Americans in program history, following teammate Dominic Fletcher, who was the lone Freshman All-American on last year’s squad. It’s also the first time since 2011 that Arkansas has had two or more players named Freshman All-Americans in the same season.
Kjerstad, who has been at or near the top of all offensive categories this year, was tabbed as the SEC’s Freshman of the Year in May after hitting .322 in conference play with five home runs, 21 RBIs and seven walks. Overall, his .340 average is good for 10th in the league and he has top 10 totals in runs scored (61), hits (81), slugging (.576), RBIs (54), home runs (14) and total bases (137).
Last week in the NCAA Fayetteville Super Regional, Kjerstad hit his 13th and 14th home run of the year, setting an Arkansas freshman record for home runs passing Zack Cox, who hit 13 in 2009. He’s also set freshman records in hits, total bases, and hit by pitches (18).
As for Martin, the Lonoke, Arkansas native has burst onto the scene with similar numbers to Kjerstad. Entering the College World Series, Martin has played in 61 games and has registered 77 hits, 12 doubles, 13 home runs and 46 RBIs. In seven of his last 12 games dating back to May 19, Martin has notched a multi-hit game and is hitting .373 during that span, leading all Razorbacks. He was named to the SEC All-Tournament Team after going 4-for-12 (.333) at the plate with three of his hits being home runs.
Martin was named to the All-SEC Second Team and SEC All-Freshman Team at the end of the regular season as his .333 average in conference play was best among all league freshmen.
Kjerstad, Martin and the Razorbacks head to Omaha, Nebraska this week to play in the College World Series with their first game set for Sunday against Texas at 1 p.m. Arkansas will be playing in its ninth College World Series in program history and fifth under head coach Dave Van Horn.