AZUSA, Calif.-- The NAIA announced its 2012 All-American teams and after a season that saw 4th ranked Azusa Pacific go 47-12 and win its 11th Golden State Athletic Association title the Cougars had two players receive national recognition. Matt Kimmel headlined the awards, earning first-team honors in just his second season, while Jordan Leyland was named to the second-team in his first year with the program.
“Both of these guys are terrific people and both have been a pleasure to work with; first class in every way. I’m really happy for both of them and what they’ve meant to the team,” said head coach Paul Svagdis.
MATT KIMMEL: .437 AVG, 9 HR, 60 RBI, .660 SLG, 20 2B
No player on the Azusa Pacific roster was as consistent as Kimmel, who paced the Cougars in batting average, hits, doubles, and steals. The centerfielder, who was named to the CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-American team, never went longer than two games without a hit, and recorded a base knock in 28 of the last 33 contests. 17 times he had three or more hits in a game, with four four-hit performances, while his five games with four or more RBIs led the Cougars.
“I‘m really excited for Matt; I’m proud of his progress. He really had a breakthrough season and certainly lived up to expectations this year,” said Paul Svagdis.
Kimmel was impressive in the clutch batting .467 with the bases loaded, and .438 with two outs and runners in scoring position. He hit .522 as the leadoff man and was the NAIA’s hits leader with 104.
JORDAN LEYLAND: .419 AVG, 22 HR, 74 RBI, .802 SLG, 19 2B
The Cougars got the most of their one year from Leyland as the UC Irvine transfer led the Golden State Athletic Conference in a whopping six offensive categories, including home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage, runs, on-base percentage, and walks. Leyland opened the season on a 16 game hitting streak, and recorded 31 multi-hit games. Azusa Pacific went 29-6 when he registered an RBI and 14-4 when he hit a home run.
“You never know personality wise if a transfer is going to be a fit, but he just jumped right in and was a tremendous leader. He’s a great teammate and it was a real joy to be able to work with him,” said Svagdis.
The first baseman, who was also named as the GSAC Player of the Year, hit a staggering .456 with runners in scoring position and punished right-handed pitchers, driving in 60 of his 74 RBIs and hitting 18 of his 22 home runs against them. Leyland was also effective against lefties, batting .443 against southpaws with a .528 on base percentage.
With Kimmel’s and Leyland’s honors Azusa Pacific now has a total of 32 recipients in its history, including 10 since Svagdis took over the program in 2002.
For the complete NAIA release Click Here
The National Christian College Athletics Association announced its 2012 baseball awards and Leyland headlined a talented list. The first baseman was named the 2012 NCCAA National Player of the Year. Following suit was Kimmel, who earned a spot on the second team.
Azusa Pacific renewed its membership with the NCCAA this year and will compete for NCCAA championships beginning next season. For the complete 2012 NCCAA Baseball Awards Click Here.