Grambling State Marshawn Taylor, Head Coach James Cooper Earn SWAC’S Top Honors




Grambling State Sports Information


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Grambling State shortstop Marshawn Taylor has been voted the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Player of the Year, Hitter of the Year and Newcomer of the Year as the conference announced its 2017 all-conference baseball teams and individual honors on Monday. The vote was conducted by the league’s head baseball coaches and sports information directors.

Grambling along with defending SWAC champion Alabama State took home the individual honors for the 2017 season. Along with Taylor, Grambling head coach James Cooper was named the SWAC Coach of the Year after leading the Tigers to a 22-28 overall record and a 15-9 record in conference play en route to the Western Division title. For Alabama State, Tyler Howe was voted Pitcher of the Year, Austin Bizzle was voted Relief Pitcher of the Year and Cage Cox was voted Freshman of the Year.

Taylor led the conference in batting average this season. The redshirt-junior had a .397 average, and also tied for the league lead with 77 hits and drove in 36 RBI. Taylor put up stellar numbers in SWAC play, hitting .407 — which ranked fourth-best among all players against league opposition — and tied for first with 39 hits while delivering 25 RBI in SWAC contests.

First baseman Daniel Barnett, third baseman Wesley Drain and starting pitchers Tanner Raiburn and Issac O’Bear earned Second-Team All-SWAC honors.  Barnett hit .318 for the season and leads the team with 299 putouts, 42 RBI, 12 doubles and six home runs. Drain tallied a .283 batting average leads the team in runs scored with 47. Additionally, he had 29 stolen bases, eight doubles, two home runs, one triple and a .918 fielding percentage.

Raiburn started a team-high 12 games and is 4-1 with a 3.17 ERA. He ranks fourth in the conference in ERA and leads the team in innings pitched (71.0) and strike outs (82), while limiting opposing batters to a .243 batting average.

O’Bear has a 5-4 record and a 3.28 ERA in 15 appearances this season. He had 11 starts, pitched 68.2 innings and struck out 36 batters. O’Bear leads the Tigers with five wins and has the second-best ERA on the team.

Grambling goes into this week’s SWAC Tournament as the No. 1 seed in the Western Division. The Tigers open tournament play at 6 p.m. on Wednesday when the take on No. 4 Alcorn State of the Eastern Division. The tournament runs from May 17-21 and will be played at Wesley Barrow Stadium in New Orleans, La.

The entire 2017 baseball postseason awards list is below:

Individual Awards
Player of the Year Marshawn Taylor (Grambling State)
Pitcher of the Year – Tyler Howe (Alabama State)
Relief Pitcher of the Year – Austin Bizzle (Alabama State)
Hitter of the Year – Marshawn Taylor (Grambling State)
Newcomer of the Year Marshawn Taylor (Grambling State)
Freshman of the Year – Cage Cox (Alabama State)
Coach of the Year James Cooper (Grambling State)

First Team All-Conference
C – Chris Biocic (Alabama State)
1B – Gustavo Rios (Alabama State)
2B – Wallace Rios Jimenez (Alcorn State)
3B – Jesus Santana (Jackson State)
SS – Marshawn Taylor (Grambling State)
DH – Cage Cox (Alabama State)
OF – Cody Den Beste (Prairie View A&M)
OF – Lamar Briggs (Jackson State)
OF – Bryce Brown (Jackson State)
SP – Miguel Yrigoyen (Jackson State)
SP – Tyler Howe (Alabama State)
RP – Brandon Marsonek (Alabama A&M)

Second Team All-Conference
C- Jason Sanez (Alcorn State)
1B – Daniel Barnett (Grambling State)
2B – Carlos Ocasio (Alabama State)
3B – Wesley Drain (Grambling State)
SS – Kevin Macias (Prairie View A&M)
DH – John Pope (Southern)
OF – CJ Newsome (Jackson State)
OF – Olajide Oloruntimilehin (Texas Southern)
OF – Diandre Amion (Alabama State)
SP – Issac O’Bear (Grambling State)
SP – Tanner Raiburn (Grambling State)
RP – Austin Bizzle (Alabama State)

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