AZUSA, Calif.-- The Azusa Pacific baseball team had a pair of players named to the All-PacWest team, the conference office announced on Thursday. Matt Kimmel took home second team honors, while senior Richie Brown was named to the third team.
The Cougars (19-30) finished strong in their first season in the PacWest, closing the year with a four-game series sweep of Academy of Art to post a 9-4 record down the stretch with two victories against conference champion, Grand Canyon, in that span. Both Brown and Kimmel were key contributors in the run, with Brown pacing Azusa Pacific with a .353 batting average to go with nine RBIs while Kimmel tabbed three doubles, three triples and a home run in the final 13 games.
“I’m excited for both of them, and they both deserved it. Being named to an all-conference team is a testament to their hard work and process. They’re both really good players, and I’m proud of the seasons they had,” said head coach Paul Svagdis.
MATT KIMMEL: Second Team Outfielder
Kimmel was one of Azusa Pacific’s key returners from the 47-12 campaign in 2012, and after a sophomore year in which the Redmond, Wash. native batted .437 he didn’t disappoint in his junior campaign. He led the Cougars in nine offensive categories, including hits, runs, RBIs and on-base percentage. He finished second in home runs with five, and his 15 doubles ranked third in the PacWest. Kimmel reached base in 25 consecutive games, and had a team-best 11-game hitting streak during the mid-part of the season, all while recording eight outfield assists as the team’s everyday center fielder.
“I’m excited for Matt. He’s a hard working athlete, in the classroom and on the field. It’s nice to see hard work pay off. He did a good job battling through adversity being the big bat in our lineup, and he adjusted to that as the year went on. It’ll be exciting to see that carry over to next year,” said Svagdis.
RICHIE BROWN: Third Team Designated Hitter
Brown ended his career with a bang, providing the Cougars with more than his share of late game heroics. Brown ended a 0-0 stalemate with Hawai’i Hilo on March 26, driving a line drive home run into the left field net for his first of two walk off hits of the season. Nearly a month later Brown capped a three-run ninth inning comeback with a full count double into the right field gap to lift the Cougars to their second consecutive walk off victory against Hawai’i Pacific on April 23. The senior registered a .333 average with 25 RBIs (second on the team), and his 55 hits rank only behind Kimmel.
“What a great way to end his career. A few years ago Richie wasn’t enjoying the process of playing, and sort of took a baseball sabbatical. After a few conversations with him in terms of enjoying the game and being out there with his teammates he turned it around. For him to come out and finish strong... I’m proud of him. He’s a great example of enjoying the game and having the right process. Every practice it seemed like he was a kid out there enjoying it, and that’s really refreshing to see that as a coach,” said Svagdis.
Click Here to view to complete list of PacWest honors.