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BILOXI, Mississippi – After leading Conference USA in the triple crown stat categories of batting average, home runs and RBI through the regular season, WKU junior OF Jake Sanford, was named the 2019 C-USA Player of the Year.  Rice junior RHP Matt Canterino, the league’s leader in strikeouts, was named C-USA Pitcher of the Year.  The league’s baseball awards were announced on Tuesday in Biloxi, Mississippi, site of The First 2019 C-USA Baseball Championship presented by Air Force Reserve. 

Old Dominion OF Andy Garriola was named C-USA Freshman of the Year, while Florida Atlantic junior C Pedro Pages won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award.  Florida Atlantic’s John McCormack was named the Keith LeClair Coach of the Year, while FAU Hitting Coach Greg Mamula earned the Assistant Coach of the Year honor.


Sanford is the second consecutive C-USA Player of the Year that was also named C-USA Newcomer of the Year.  The transfer from McCook CC (Neb.), burst onto the scene with one of the most productive offensive showings in league history.  Sanford enters the C-USA Championship batting .402 with 22 home runs and 65 RBI, while posting a .488 on-base and an .828 slugging percentage, all tops in the league.  A rare back-to-back C-USA Hitter of the Week and a National Player of the Week honoree this season, Sanford’s home run total is the most by a C-USA player since 2010 National Player of the Year Anthony Rendon of Rice hit 26.

Canterino leads C-USA in opposing batting average (.203) and is second in strikeouts (112) while walking just 21 batters in a league-high 93.0 innings pitched.  He owns a record of 6-5, with five of those wins coming in C-USA play.  In conference play, he has struck out 82 batters in 69.0 innings.  Canterino struck out 10 or more batters in four games (all against conference opponents) and is among the NCAA leaders in strikeouts-per-nine innings at 10.8.  Canterino is the fourth different Rice hurler to be named C-USA Pitcher of the Year.

Garriola exploded on the C-USA scene with a powerful bat this spring, ranking in the top 10 in six key offensive categories.  He led all C-USA freshmen in batting average (.326), doubles (18), home runs (10) and RBI (61), tying for fourth among all league players in doubles and placing second in RBI.  Garriola also placed sixth in hits (72) and eighth in slugging percentage (.561), while posting a team-high 24 multiple-hit games and 18 multi-RBI outings for the Monarchs.  He is the first Old Dominion player to earn C-USA Freshman of the Year honors.

Pages, a semifinalist for the Buster Posey Award as the top collegiate catcher, becomes the third Florida Atlantic player in four seasons to win the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year award.  His defensive prowess is punctuated by throwing out 41% of base stealers this season (17-of-41).  Pages also has three pickoffs and has committed just three errors in 410 chances behind the plate, while adding 35 assists.

After leading Florida Atlantic to its second Conference USA regular season championship in the past four years, McCormack earned the Keith LeClair Coach of the Year honor.  The Owls finished 22-8 in conference play, giving them an 80-36-1 league mark over the past four seasons.  FAU, which has played in NCAA Regionals three of the past four years, has won 35 or more games for the fifth consecutive season under McCormack.  This year’s Owls team won eight of 10 series’ in C-USA play and have non-conference wins at in-state rivals Miami, Florida and UCF on its resume.  This is his McCormack’s first C-USA Coach of the Year honor and the second conference coach of the year award (Sun Belt in 2010).

Mamula, the Owls’ recruiting coordinator, hitting coach, infield coach and third base coach, earned the Assistant Coach of the Year award.  Under Mamula’s tutelage, Florida Atlantic leads the league in hitting (.298), hits (588), runs and scoring (391 and 7.1 runs per game), home runs (56) and slugging percentage (.443).  The Owls’ improvement in hitting is over 25 points higher than it was in 2018, and the OBP is nearly at that plateau as well, up from .366 to .388.  Eight of the team’s regulars are hitting .299 or higher, eight have five or more HR, and seven have 31 or more RBI.

Florida Atlantic had the most first-team All-Conference selections with four, while Southern Miss was next with three.  Charlotte, Florida Atlantic and Louisiana Tech led the way with five total all-conference choices.  Nine of the league’s teams had at least one representative on the first team unit, while eight had second-team selections.  FIU, Louisiana Tech, Rice and UTSA each had two players on the All-Freshman team.  Voting was done by a panel consisting of each head coach, each team’s media relations director and a media representative from each city.


Jake Sanford, Jr., OF, WKU

Matt Canterino, Jr., RHP, Rice

Andy Garriola, Fr., OF, Old Dominion

Jake Sanford, Jr., OF, WKU

Pedro Pages, Jr., C, Florida Atlantic

John McCormack, Florida Atlantic

Greg Mamula, Florida Atlantic

IF               Bryan Arias, Sr., UTSA
IF               Mason Mallard, Sr., Louisiana Tech
IF               Elvis Peralta, Jr., Marshall
IF               Vinnie Pasquantino, Jr., Old Dominion
OF             Andy Garriola, Fr., Old Dominion
OF             Jake Sanford, Jr., WKU
OF             Matt Wallner, Jr., Southern Miss
C                Harris Yett, Sr., Charlotte
DH             Andrew Dunlap, Sr., Rice
UT             Logan Allen, So., FIU
SP             Matt Canterino, Jr., Rice
SP             Karan Patel, Sr., UTSA
SP             Walker Powell, Jr., Southern Miss
SP             Blake Sanderson, Sr., Florida Atlantic
RP             Braxton Smith, Sr., Louisiana Tech
RP             Zach Schneider, Sr., Florida Atlantic

IF               Trei Cruz, So., Rice
IF               Austin Shenton, Jr., FIU
IF               Hunter Slater, Sr., Southern Miss
IF               Bryce Windham, Sr., Old Dominion
OF             Parker Bates, Jr., Louisiana Tech
OF             Gabe Montenegro, So., Southern Miss
OF             Andru Summerall, So., Florida Atlantic
C                Pedro Pages, Jr., Florida Atlantic
DH             Bryant Bowen, Jr., Southern Miss
UT             Peyton Wigginton, So., Middle Tennessee
SP             Joshua Shapiro, Sr., Marshall
SP             Evan Kravetz, So., Rice
SP             Matt Miller, Sr., Louisiana Tech
SP             Ryne Moore, So., Old Dominion
RP             Hunter Gregory, So., Old Dominion
RP             Colby Bruce, Jr., Charlotte

3B              Josh Haney, Charlotte
IF               Danny Lynch, Southern Miss
OF/IF         Luke Edwards, Marshall
OF             Jarrett Ford, FIU
OF             Mitchell Hartigan, Florida Atlantic
OF             Andy Garriola, Old Dominion
OF             Ryan Teschko, Old Dominion
OF             Jess Davis, UAB
OF             Jackson Swiney, WKU
LHP           Jonathan Fincher, Louisiana Tech
RHP           Josh Young, Middle Tennessee
SS/RHP     Jacob Josey, Florida Atlantic