SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara junior first baseman Austin Bush has been named to the All-Big West First Team while three of his teammates, Colton Burns, Sam Cohen, and JJ Muno each received an All-Big West honorable mention, the league revealed on Wednesday morning.
It was the second career All-League nod for Bush and Muno, who were both named to the All-Big West Second Team in 2016. Burns, a junior infielder, and Cohen, a sophomore DH, both received All-Big West honors for the first time.
A year after breaking out with a number of clutch hits en route to UCSB's first-ever trip to the College World Series, Bush became one of the most feared power hitters in the country in 2017. The 6-6, 265-pound slugger set a new school single-season record with 20 home runs, a figure which ranked seventh nationally and led the conference by a wide-margin at the end of the regular season.
The Turlock, Calif. native had an especially torrid month of May, clubbing 10 home runs and slugging 1.000 over 15 games. With his 20-homer season, he is now tied for fourth all-time in UCSB's record book with 34 career roundtrippers.
Though his big flies grabbed the most attention, Bush also set new career highs this season in batting average (.303), on-base percentage (.372), RBIs (60), and doubles (14).
A College of the Canyons transfer, Burns had a rock-solid first season at the Division I level. The Valencia, Calif. native batted .308 with a .422 on-base percentage, and he ranked at or near the top of the conference in those two categories for the majority of the season before picking up an injury in the UC Riverside series, limiting him to eight games in May. UCSB's leadoff hitter when healthy, Burns had a .366 batting average while averaging a walk per game over the season's first two months.
The Gauchos' Super Regional hero in 2016, Cohen continued his development as a middle-of-the-order bat this year, swatting eight home runs and slugging .459 over 44 games. Cohen's home run total ranked fifth in the conference. He stepped up his game in Big West play, hitting six home runs (third in the league) and slugging .581 (sixth).
An All-Big West second baseman in 2016, Muno was tasked with moving to the other side of the diamond this year after an elbow injury claimed UCSB All-American shortstop Clay Fisher for the year. Despite having some big shoes to fill, Muno impressed with his defense up the middle and turned his hitting around in league play after a slow start to the year.
Elsewhere in the conference, UCI's Keston Hiura was named the 2017 Big West Field Player of the Year while Long Beach State ace Darren McCaughan was named Pitcher of the Year.
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