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Red Wolves baseball standouts Ben Klutts & Tyler Duncan land on All-Sun Belt team

The new Sun Belt Conference logo was revealed in May 2020.
The new Sun Belt Conference logo was revealed in May 2020.(Source: Sun Belt Conference)
Published: May. 24, 2021 at 3:10 PM CDT
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Following a vote of the conference’s 12 head coaches, Georgia Southern’s Mason McWhorter, Little Rock’s Hayden Arnold, Troy’s Garrett Gainous, Louisiana’s Drake Osborn and South Alabama’s Mark Calvi received the Sun Belt Conference’s baseball postseason honors. The conference office also announced the 2021 Baseball All-Sun Belt teams Monday.

Georgia Southern’s McWhorter was named the Sun Belt Baseball Player of the Year; Little Rock’s Arnold was selected as the Pitcher of the Year; Troy’s Gainous was tabbed as the Freshman of the Year; Louisiana’s Osborn was dubbed the Newcomer of the Year and South Alabama’s Calvi was honored as the Ron Maestri Coach of the Year.

McWhorter paced the Sun Belt with a .371 batting average, 144 total bases, 78 hits and 16 home runs, while ranking second in the conference with a .686 slugging percentage, .449 on-base percentage, 48 RBIs, 47 runs scored and 16 doubles. The Cumming, Ga., product is also a semifinalist for the 2021 Dick Howser Trophy.

Arnold posted a 7-3 record, while maintaining a 2.85 ERA and 1.02 WHIP over 82.0 innings pitched. The Rison, Ark., native struck out 80 and held opponents to a .226 batting average on the season. Arnold ranked among the Top 10 in the Sun Belt in wins, innings pitched, earned run average, walks allowed, earned runs allowed, runs allowed, strikeouts and opposing batting average.

Gainous tallied a 9-4 record, with a 4.04 ERA and 1.29 WHIP over 82.1 innings pitched. A native of Cairo, Ga., the freshman led all Sun Belt hurlers with nine victories on the hill, while ranking among the Top 10 in games started, innings pitched and strikeouts.

Osborn, a transfer from Texas A&M Corpus Christi, hit .333 with 75 total bases, 22 RBIs, 21 runs scored, 16 doubles and a pair of home runs. The Sandia, Texas, product ranked second in the conference in doubles, fourth in batting average and seventh with a .410 on-base percentage.

Calvi guided South Alabama to a 29-20 record, including a Sun Belt leading 15-9 mark in conference play to earn the Sun Belt East Division title. Entering the 2021 Guardian Credit Union Sun Belt Baseball Championship presented by Troy University, the Jaguars sit at No. 74 in the RPI—the highest of any Sun Belt program. This is Calvi’s third Sun Belt Coach of the Year nod (2013, 2015 & 2021) since taking the helm of the South Alabama program in 2012.

Louisiana was the lone program to produce three All-Sun Belt First Team selections, while App State, Georgia Southern and Troy also claimed multiple First Team honorees.

App State (3), Coastal Carolina (3), Georgia Southern (3), Louisiana (3), South Alabama (3), UTA (3), Little Rock (2), Arkansas State (2), Georgia State (2), ULM (2) and Troy (2) each had multiple All-Sun Belt recipients. 11-of-12 Sun Belt programs were represented on the two All-Sun Belt teams.

Player of the Year

Mason McWhorter, Georgia Southern (Gr., OF – Cumming, Ga.)

Pitcher of the Year

Hayden Arnold, Little Rock (Sr., P – Rison, Ark.)

Freshman of the Year

Garrett Gainous, Troy (Fr., P – Cairo, Ga.)

Newcomer of the Year

Drake Osborn, Louisiana (Sr., C – Sandia, Texas)

Ron Maestri Coach of the Year

Mark Calvi, South Alabama

All-Sun Belt First Team

Connor Cooke, Louisiana (So., P – Sulphur, La.)

Hayden Arnold, Little Rock (Sr., P – Rison, Ark.)

Carlos Tavera, UTA (Jr., P – Fort Worth, Texas)

Nick Jones, Georgia Southern (Sr., RP – Johns Creek, Ga.)

Drake Osborn, Louisiana (Sr., C – Sandia, Texas)

Robbie Young, App State (Sr., 1B – Louisville, Ky.)

Luke Drumheller, App State (Jr., 2B – Charlotte, N.C.)

Drew Frederic, Troy (Sr., SS – Niceville, Fla.)

Ben Klutts, Arkansas State (Jr., 3B – Poteau, Okla.)

Mason McWhorter, Georgia Southern (Gr., OF – Cumming, Ga.)

Logan Cerny, Troy (So., OF – Lawrenceville, Ga.)

Ethan Wilson, South Alabama (Jr., OF – Andalusia, Ala.)

Cameron Jones, Georgia State (Fr., UT – Kathleen, Ga.)

Ben Fitzgerald, Louisiana (Jr., DH – Mason City, Iowa)

All-Sun Belt Second Team

JoJo Booker, South Alabama (Sr., P – Brewton, Ala.)

Tyler Tuthill, App State (Jr, P – Clayton, N.C.)

Jeremy Lee, South Alabama (Fr., P – Valley Grand, Ala.)

Aaron Barkley, Little Rock (Gr., RP – El Cajon, Calif.)

BT Riopelle, Coastal Carolina (Jr., C – Marietta, Ga.)

Dylan Paul, UTA (RS Sr., 1B – Allen, Texas)

Travis Washburn, ULM (So., 2B – Conroe, Texas)

Eric Brown, Coastal Carolina (So., SS – Bossier City, La.)

Grant Schulz, ULM (Jr., 3B – Mereaux, La.)

Tyler Duncan, Arkansas State (Sr., OF – Sooke, British Columbia, Canada)

Parker Chavers, Coastal Carolina (RS Jr., OF – Montgomery, Ala.)

Josh Smith, Georgia State (So., OF – College Park, Ga.)

Andrew Miller, UTA (Sr., UT – Frisco, Texas)

Noah Ledford, Georgia Southern (Jr., DH – Buford, Ga.)

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