HOOVER, Ala. — Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad was named the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Year, the league office announced Monday, as he leads six other Razorbacks that were named to the All-SEC, All-Freshman, and All-Defense teams.
Kjerstad was awarded the conference’s highest honor for a freshman by the league’s head coaches at the conclusion of the regular season and is the first player in program history to earn SEC Freshman of the Year honors. He’s also the third Razorback to win a major conference award in school history joining Andrew Benintendi (Player of the Year, 2015) and Nick Schmidt (Pitcher of the Year, 2006)
In addition to being named the league’s top freshman, Kjerstad was also named to the All-SEC Second Team and SEC All-Freshman team for the outfield. He’s joined by third baseman Casey Martin, who completed an equally stellar freshman campaign with the Hogs, making the All-SEC Second Team and All-Freshman Team also.
As for the veterans, second baseman and redshirt senior Carson Shaddy earned All-SEC First Team honors, right-handed pitcher Blaine Knight and junior outfielder Eric Cole both were named All-SEC second teamers. Junior catcher Grant Koch and sophomore centerfielder Dominic Fletcher were named to the SEC All-Defense team.
OF Heston Kjerstad | SEC Freshman of the Year, All-SEC Second Team, SEC All-Freshman Team
- Is the program’s first SEC Freshman of the Year.
- Is the third Razorback to win a major SEC award (Andrew Benintendi – 2015; Nick Schmidt – 2006)
- Hitting .348 for the season, leading all SEC freshmen and 12th-highest average among freshmen nationwide.
- His 11 home runs is two away from tying the Arkansas all-time freshman single-season record (13 by Zack Cox – 2009)
- Needs three hits to set the Arkansas single-season freshman record (75 by Dominic Ficociello – 2011; Jeff King – 1984)
- Hit .322 in conference play with 21 of his 46 RBIs coming against SEC opponents.
- .360 in the month of March with six home runs and 22 RBIs.
- Reached base safely in 49 of 54 games, tallying a team-leading 21 multi-hit games along with 11 multi-RBI games.
- Currently ranks top-12 among nation’s freshmen in average (.348 – 11th), runs scored (49 – 4th), total bases (119 – 3rd), slugging (.575 – 9th), hits (72 – 4th), RBIs (46 – 7th), and home runs (11 – 7th).
- Ranks best among SEC freshmen in average, runs scored, total bases, hits, and home runs, while ranking second in slugging, and third in RBIs.
- Is one of five freshmen in the nation and the only player in the SEC with a batting average of .345 or higher and a slugging percentage of .575 or higher.
INF Carson Shaddy | All-SEC First Team
- Led the team with a .354 batting average overall with a career-best 10 home runs, along with 37 RBIs.
- Also led the team with a .395 average in conference play with a .716 slugging percentage and a .474 on-base percentage in 24 conference games.
- Ranks second in the SEC in conference batting average, slugging, and on-base percentage.
- Ranks fourth in the league in batting, slugging, and on-base percentage through all games.
- On pace for career-bests in batting average, doubles, RBIs, home runs, slugging, and on-base percentage.
- Is currently on an eight-game hitting streak, the longest active streak on the team.
- Has a hit in seven-straight games since returning from a hand injury on May 6. Since then, is hitting .346 with eight RBIs, three doubles, nine hits, and five runs scored.
OF Eric Cole | All-SEC Second Team
- Hit .333 for the year, while starting all 54 games in the outfield.
- Led the team with a career-high 12 home runs, good for ninth in the SEC.
- Finished the regular season with 74 hits, tying for sixth most in the league and most for a season in his career.
- Had the second-highest batting average on the team in conference play (.346), while eight of his 12 home runs came against SEC opponents.
- Drove in a team-leading 28 runs in conference play, 17 over the last month.
RHP Blaine Knight | All-SEC Second Team
- Finished the regular season with a perfect 9-0 record and a 2.88 ERA over 81.1 innings pitched and 14 starts.
- Was the only pitcher in the SEC with an undefeated record and an ERA under 3.00.
- Arkansas went 11-3 this year in games that Knight started.
- Went 6-0 in conference starts, allowing just 24 earned runs in 58.1 innings (3.70 ERA) and a team-leading 61 strikeouts.
- Finished the year with the fifth-lowest ERA in the SEC in all games and struck out 31 batters looking, the second most among all conference pitchers.
- His nine wins were second most among SEC pitchers and ties for 16th-most in the nation.
- Needs one more win to crack into the top nine of the Arkansas all-time chart for wins in a season.
- Currently has 224 career strikeouts ranking seventh all time in school history.
INF Casey Martin | All-SEC Second Team, SEC All-Freshman Team
- Hit .344 during the regular season over 52 games, third-highest average on the team and second highest among all SEC freshmen.
- Notched 64 hits with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs. Was one of four Razorbacks with 10 or more home runs this season.
- His .333 average in conference play was third-highest on the team and best among SEC freshmen.
- Went 4-for-6 in his second collegiate game, driving in five runs off a double and a home run against Bucknell (Feb. 17).
- Earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors twice (March 5 & March 19).
- One of three Razorbacks with 20 or more multi-hit games this year and one of two players with multiple games of four hits or more.
- Went on a 13-game hitting streak in the month of March, second-longest streak on the team. Ended up with seven multi-hit games during that streak.
C Grant Koch | SEC All-Defense
- Made only one error in 51 games caught (.998 fld%)
- Caught six of 16 base stealers, four in conference play. Tied for the lowest steal attempts against in the SEC.
- His .998 fielding percentage ties for his highest in a single-season as a Razorback.
- Is only catcher in school history to be named All-SEC and SEC All-Defense in a career.
- Is first Razorback catcher since Jake Wise (2014) to be named SEC All-Defense.
OF Dominic Fletcher | SEC All-Defense
- Made 118 putouts in 125 chances (.968 fld%), leading the team.
- Completed three outfield assists and one double play while starting 52 of 54 games in centerfield.
- Only made one error in 30 conference games.
- Is the first Razorback outfielder named SEC All-Defense in school history.
For more information on Razorback Baseball, follow @RazorbackBSB on Twitter.