McCaughan, Hampson Lead Dirtbags' All-Big West Honors
Sophomore Darren McCaughan was named Pitcher of the Year and junior Garrett Hampson the Defensive Player of the Year in the Big West.
Long Beach, Calif. - Following its winningest season since 2008, Long Beach State was heavily represented on the 2016 All-Big West teams, which were released Wednesday by the conference office. A pair of Dirtbags picked up major awards, with sophomore SP Darren McCaughan earning Big West Pitcher of the Year and junior SS Garrett Hampson winning Defensive Player of the Year honors.
There were a whopping six Long Beach State players named First Team All-Big West, making up a sizeable portion of the elite 15-player group. Joining McCaughan and Hampson on the first team are sophomore C David Banuelos, senior 3B Zack Domingues, sophomore DH Luke Rasmussen and junior RP Austin McGeorge. Two more Dirtbags picked up second-team recognition: junior 1B Daniel Jackson and sophomore OF Brock Lundquist.
The last time a Long Beach State had six players make the first team was way back in 1992, and the Dirtbags haven't had more than four first-teamers since. The Dirtbags also had eight total players recognized following the 2012 season, but half were honorable mention selections. The last time LBSU had eight players on the first and second teams combined was in 2004, when six future big leaguers (John Bowker, Troy Tulowitzki, Jason Vargas, Jered Weaver, Brad Davis and Cesar Ramos) led a group of nine Dirtbags named All-Big West.
Hampson earns All-Big West honors for the third straight season, making him the 14th player in program history to be named all-conference three times and the first since future big leaguers Danny Espinosa and Shane Peterson in 2008. Hampson leads a strong Dirtbags defense, boasting a .988 fielding percentage with just three errors playing every inning at shortstop. This is the second major award for Hampson, who was the 2014 Big West Freshman of the Year. He becomes Long Beach State's first ever winner of the Big West Defensive Player of the Year award.
McCaughan was rewarded for leading the Big West in ERA with a pristine 1.98 mark. The sophomore righty was second in opponent's batting average (.191), second in wins (10), third in innings pitched (104.1) and tied for seventh in strikeouts (79). He delivered quality starts in 13 of 15 outings and was a two-time Big West Pitcher of the Week throughout the season. The Downey, Calif. native is the seventh player in LBSU history to be named Big West Pitcher of the Year and the first since Andrew Liebel in 2008, who was one of three pitchers to win that year. Abe Alvarez was the Dirtbags' last outright winner of the award back in 2002. (Alvarez and Weaver were co-Pitchers of the Year in 2003)
Sophomores Lundquist and Rasmussen earn All-Big West for the second time in as many years, with Lundquist landing on the second team again, at a different position. He was recognized as a DH as a freshman, but makes the team as an outfielder this time. Rasmussen checks in as the first-team DH after he was an honorable mention selection as a freshman. Banuelos, Domingues, Jackson and McGeorge are all first-time All-Big West recipients.
LBSU leads the conference with its six first-team selection, double the next closest team, Cal State Fullerton, with three.
Despite the postseason honors, the season is far from over for the Dirtbags, who are in Miami this weekend for the Coral Gables Regional. Long Beach State faces Florida Atlantic in its postseason opener on Friday at 10 a.m. PT. All games from the regional are available live on ESPN3.
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