HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WLBT) - A day after breaking the school career record for home runs, junior Matt Wallner (Forest Lake, Minn.) added another honor to his long list of accolades during his three years at Southern Miss.
The Golden Eagle outfielder was named the Conference USA Hitter of the Week, Sunday, after batting .571 (8x14) over four games last week with a .684 on-base percentage and a 1.571 slugging percentage. During the week, Wallner scored seven runs, added two doubles, four home runs and seven RBI to go along with four walks and only two strikeouts during the week.
In the final game of the UAB series, he belted two home runs with his last one being No. 19 for the year – matching his freshman total – and also his 54th for his career, breaking the school previously held by Marc Maddox (2003-06).
The historic long ball from Wallner was a two-run belt in the bottom of the ninth in his final at bat at Pete Taylor Park for the year and possibly his career. Wallner is expected to be a high draft pick in next month’s MLB First-Year Player Draft.
The 6-foot-5 right fielder homered in all three UAB games and is one of only two Golden Eagles to belt double-digit homers in three-straight seasons. It was his third two-homer game of the year and fifth of his career.
He also reached base in his final 10 plate appearances of the UAB series, spanning two doubles, three homers, a hit by pitch, two walks and two intentional walks. UAB even intentionally walked him with two outs and no one on in the series finale.
The last person to reach base in at least nine-straight plate appearances for the Golden Eagles was Travis Creel, against UAB as well, in 2013.
With his four walks, he now has 133 and is tied for second on the school charts for that category. He has homered 13 times over his last 21 games. Six of Wallner’s hits in the UAB series were for extra bases.
This is the first weekly honor for Wallner this season and second for his career.
Marshall junior right-hander Michael Guerrero and UTSA senior right-hander Karan Patel were named co-Conference USA Pitchers of the Week.
The Golden Eagles return to action when they begin their defense of the C-USA Tournament title with a 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, meeting with Rice. The tournament games will take place at MGM Park in Biloxi, Miss.