USM’s Wallner named 1st-team All-America

USM’s Wallner named 1st-team All-America
Southern Miss junior Matt Wallner celebrates after hitting an RBI double in the Golden Eagles' 5-4 win over ULM on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. (Source: Patrick Clay)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) _ Baseball America likes what it sees when it looks at University of Southern Mississippi outfielder Matt Wallner.

For the second time in three years, the publication accorded Wallner All-America honors Monday, naming him a 2019 first-team selection.

The honor marked the first time in his career Wallner was named to the distinguished magazine’s first-team. It is Wallner’s first national accolade of 2019 and the eighth of his career.

In 2017, Wallner was named Baseball America’s Freshman of the Year as well as second-team All-America.

Wallner was joined on Baseball America’s 16-man first team by Mississippi State left-hander Ethan Small.

Voted a co-captain this spring by his teammates, Wallner hit .323 with 12 doubles, 23 home runs and 60 runs batted, earning a first-team Conference USA slot.

He tied USM’s single-season home run mark, joining Fred Cooley (1989), Bill Selby (1992), Jeff Cook (2003) and Clint King (2003) atop the list.

Wallner became the school's career home run leader on the final day of the regular season with a pair of homers versus the University of Alabama-Birmingham, helping him earn C-USA “Hitter of the Week” honors for the final week of the regular season.

He added two more round-trippers in both the C-USA tournament and the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional to finish with 58 homers for his career. Wallner was named to the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional all-tournament team and was the C-USA tournament’s Most Valuable Player, which included a 10th-inning, game-winning two-run homer against Rice University in the C-USA opener. It was his second game-winning homer of his career and third game-winning hit.

Wallner enjoyed a season-high nine-game hitting streak late in the season, ending in the first LSU regional contest. He finished first on the team with 16 multi-RBI games (nine two-RBI, three three-RBI, three four-RBI and one five-RBI) and third with 23 multi-hit games (17 two-hit, five three-hit and one four-hit).

Wallner played in all 189 games during his three-year career as a Golden Eagle, making 188 starts (10 in left field, 93 in center field, 67 in right field and 18 at designated hitter, including once as designated hitter/pitcher). Wallner finished fifth on the career charts for RBI (190), sixth in slugging percentage (.652), seventh in total bases (449) and first in walks (141).

Last week, the Forest Lake, Minn., native became the highest-ever draft pick by a USM baseball player after the Minnesota Twins took him with the 39th overall selection, a Competitive Balance Round A pick sandwiched between the first and second rounds.

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