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Baseball: Osborn Named Newcomer of the Year, Three Make All-Sun Belt First Team

LAFAYETTE - Louisiana Baseball's Drake Osborn has been named Sun Belt Conference Newcomer of the Year, while Osborn, Connor Cooke and Ben Fitzgerald were all named to the All-Sun Belt First Team, the league announced on Monday afternoon. 

Louisiana paced the conference with the most selections on the All-Sun Belt First team with three. 

Osborn is the first Ragin' Cajun to receive Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year honors since Nolan Gisclair in 2007. Osborn is one of 16 catchers across the country to be named a semifinalist and one of seven non-Power 5 catchers to be on the list, joining Danny Massiatte as the only other Louisiana catcher to be named a Buster Posey Semifinalist.

The Sandia, Texas, native is hitting a team-high .333, leads the Sun Belt Conference in doubles (16) among catchers and ranks in the top seven in batting average (.333) and on-base percentage (.410) among all players.

The senior backstop has also locked up becoming the first Ragin' Cajun to walk more than they have struck out since 2017.

Cooke was incredible all year, posting a 2.04 overall ERA in 67.1 innings pitched. The righty has dominated Sun Belt hitters, posting a 1.64 ERA in Sun Belt Conference play. Cooke also ranks first in opposing batting average (.146) and second in strikeouts (60) among pitchers in league play. 

The sophomore owns a two-hit, complete-game shutout against Arkansas State where he posted 12 strikeouts and zero walks, earning himself Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week recognition.

Fitzgerald, who saw the majority of his time at designated hitter, is one of the best overall hitters in the Sun Belt, ranking in the top of the conference in slugging (3rd), doubles (7th), home runs (4th) and total bases (5th). 

Fitzgerald is one of three Ragin' Cajuns in the last 10 years to hit .300, record 10 home runs and knock more than 15 doubles, while ranking second in extra-base hits (26) among Ragin' Cajuns over the last five years.

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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