TULSA, Okla. (SDSU) — Led by three-time selection Nick Smith, eight South Dakota State University student-athletes were honored Tuesday on the 2019 All-Summit League Baseball Team. The squad was announced at a banquet on the eve of the start of the Summit League Baseball Championship.
A senior from Chanhassen, Minnesota, Smith was named by the league’s coaches as a first-team outfielder after receiving recognition as a utility player in 2017 (second team) and 2018 (first team). Smith ended the 2019 regular season third in The Summit League with a .450 on-base percentage, while hitting .317 with a home run and 24 runs batted in. He also has been one of the league’s top defensive outfielders with five assists to his credit.
Sophomore shortstop Gus Steiger moved up to the first team after earning second-team honors as a second baseman a year ago. Steiger leads the league in hits (70), runs scored (43), doubles (13) and stolen bases (16), while ranking third in batting average by hitting at a .333 clip heading into postseason play. The Minnetonka, Minnesota, native has added five home runs and a team-best 41 runs batted in.
Earning first-team honors at designated hitter was junior Josh Falk. Also a Minnetonka, Minnesota, native, Falk has hit a team-best eight home runs to go along with a .271 batting average and 38 runs batted in.
Completing the Jackrabbits’ four first-team selections was sophomore relief pitcher Bret Barnett. The left-hander from Indianola, Iowa, has compiled a 5-1 record with a Summit-best seven saves. He has limited the opposition to a .142 batting average and a 1.44 earned run average while racking up 42 strikeouts in only 31 1/3 innings pitched.
Two-thirds of South Dakota State’s starting rotation was named to the all-Summit League Second Team as Tyler Olmstead and Nic McCay were honored. Olmstead, a junior from Sioux Falls, received second-team accolades for the second year in a row after filling the role of Friday starter throughout league play. The right-hander has turned in a 4-3 record with a 3.03 ERA, compiling a team-best 88 strikeouts in 89 innings.
A freshman from Carlisle, Iowa, McCay shares the team in wins after posting a 6-1 record during the regular season. McCay has tallied 81 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings and has recorded a 3.71 ERA over 13 starts.
The Jackrabbits also had the starting right side of their infield recognized on the second team as first baseman Drew Beazley and second baseman Braeden Brown were honored. A freshman from Johnston, Iowa, Beazley ended the regular season with a .273 overall batting average, although he hit .301 in league play. Beazley also tallied four home runs, 10 doubles and 19 runs batted in.
Brown won a starting role in his first season at SDSU after transferring from Southeastern Community College in his native Burlington, Iowa. A junior, Brown finished the regular season third on the team with a .288 batting average, adding two home runs and 26 RBIs.
Oral Roberts first baseman Spencer Henson was honored as Summit League Player of the Year after winning the league’s triple crown for the second year in a row with a .372 batting average, 17 home runs and 49 RBIs.
Regular season champion Omaha, which tied the Jackrabbits with eight total all-league selections, had two major award winners as Payton Kinney was selected as Summit League Pitcher of the Year and Evan Porter was honored by his peers as Summit League Coach of the Year.
North Dakota State southpaw Max Loven was selected as Summit League Newcomer of the Year.
South Dakota State is seeded second in the Summit League Baseball Championship after finishing the regular season with a 27-20 overall record and a 19-10 mark in league play. The Jackrabbits open the double-elimination tournament Wednesday by meeting host and third-seeded Oral Roberts in a 6 p.m. matchup at J.L. Johnson Stadium.