Harden named SLC Baseball Student-Athlete of the Year

FRISCO, Texas – McNeese outfielder Payton Hardenthe Southland Conference Player of the Year, has been named the 2022 SLC Baseball Student-Athlete of the Year, the league announced on Wednesday along with the all-academic teams.

A native of Atascocita, Texas, Harden boasts a 3.82 GPA in mass communications-public relations. He becomes just the fifth Cowboy to earn the top honors from the league and the first since 1994 (Deron Hofstetter). The 2022 All-Conference first-team selection and ABCA All-South Region Team member led the Southland in hitting (.378), total hits (85), triples (4) and stolen bases (26). His 85 base-hits ranked tied as the second-most in a single season in school history while his 252 career hits are two away from matching the school’s all-time mark of 254.

He was one of four all-academic first team members for the regular-season champion Cowboys. Shortstop Reid Bourque joined Harden on the first team after posting a 4.00 GPA in H&HP/sports and wellness management. Cameron Fosterthe league’s Relief Pitcher of the Year, also earned first team accolades with a 4.00 mark in behavioral sciences while outfielder Julian Gonzales, a 2022 CoSIDA Academic All-American, rounded out the Cowboys’ first team selections after he recorded a 4.00 GPA in biology/pre-med. This is Gonzales’ second time to earn all-academic honors in his career.

Pitcher Chance Stone earned a nod on the second team after recording a 3.66 GPA in H&HP/pre-physical therapy.

Foster, who earlier in the month was named a third team All-American by the NCBWA, led the Southland in 2022 in six categories including saves (12), ERA (1.86), strikeouts (84), batting average against (.164) , hits allowed (35) and runs allowed (17). He ranked second in the conference in walks allowed (20).

Gonzales started in all 57 games for the Cowboys and hit .280 with nine home runs with 44 RBI, ranking him tied as the team leader on the season while Bourque, who became McNeese’s all-time stolen bases and games played leader this season, hit .276 on the year with four homers, 25 RBI and 24 stolen bases, ranking second on the squad.

Stone ranked third on the team with 50.1 innings pitched and posted a 3-3 record with a 5.01 ERA. He started a team-high 15 games and made 17 overall appearances.

Southland All-Academic teams are elected on by the head coach, sports information director and an academic staff member from each member school. Student-athletes must possess a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA and have completed one full academic year at the nominating institution to qualify. Nominees who were on the all-conference first team are automatically named Southland All-Academic.

The Southland Conference awards committee, which consists of one administrator from each of the eight member schools, votes for the Student-Athlete of the Year. Student-Athlete of the Year candidates must have earned at least a 3.20 GPA and demonstrated athletics achievement for at least two years at the nominating institution.

2022 Southland Conference Baseball Student-Athlete of the Year: Payton HardenMcNeese

2021 Southland Conference Baseball All-Academic First Team

Name School Class GPA Major
Jared Burch HBU Mr. 3.53 Business Administration
Ridge Rogers3 UIW Mr. 3.91 Rehabilitative Science
Grant Smith* UIW Jr. 3.60 Biology
Reid Bourque McNeese Mr. 4.00 HHP-Sports & Wellness Management
Cameron Foster* McNeese Mr. 4.00 Behavioral Sciences
Julian Gonzales*2 McNeese Mr. 4.00 Biology Pre Med
Payton Harden^* McNeese Mr. 3.82 Mass Communication-Public Relations
Tyler LeBlanc New Orleans So. 3.54 Finance
Alec Paz Nicholls Gr. 3.00 Master’s, Higher Education
Drayton Brown Northwestern State So. 4.00 Business Administration
Alex Makarewich Northwestern State So. 3.92 Industrial Engineering Technology
Evan Keller2 Southeastern Mr. 3.79 Chemistry
Rhett Rosevear Southeastern So. 4.00 Occupational Safety, Health & Environment (OSHE
Brandon Petkoff Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Mr. 3.86 Mathematics

2022 Southland Conference Baseball All-Academic Second Team

Name School Class GPA Major
Brennen Bales HBU Mr. 3.53 Interdisciplinary Studies
Andrew Reitmeyer HBU Mr. 3.40 Kinesiology-Sport Management
Nixon Brannan UIW Jr. 3.85 Business Administration
Chance Stone McNeese Mr. 3.66 HHP-Pre-Physical Therapy
Kasten Furr New Orleans Jr. 3.19 Finance
Collin Kullivan New Orleans Gr. 3.83 Master’s, Finance
Parker Coddou Nicholls So. 3.58 Business Administration
Devin Desandro Nicholls So. 3.51 Health Sciences
Nico Saltaformaggio Nicholls So. 3.80 Business Administration
Dane Simon Nicholls Mr. 3.71 Health Sciences
Daunte Stuart Northwestern State Jr. 3.20 Electronics Engineering Technology
Will Kinzeler Southeastern So. 3.49 Kinesiology
Gage Trahan Southeastern Gr. 3.33 Master of Business Administration
Josh Caraway Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Mr. 3.50 Finance

^ Student-Athlete of the Year
* Automatic selection

2 Two-time all-academic selection
3 Three-time all-academic selection

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