NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Philadelphia University's Fernando Garza (Laredo, Texas/Alexander) was voted as the 2016 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Baseball Player of the Year, as voted by the conference's 11 head coaches, to highlight the All-CACC team that was released on Monday.
Garza—who is joined on the All-CACC first team by first baseman Steven Wells (Yardley, Pa./The Hun School)—is the baseball team's first CACC player of the year since Tyler Mentzer earned the honor in 2010.
A tremendous force at the plate during the 2016 season, Garza is leading the CACC in seven statistical categories: batting average (.400), hits (72), runs scored (48), doubles (22), total bases (127), on-base percentage (.469), and slugging percentage (.706). He is also sitting second in the conference in runs batted in (46) and home runs (9), and third in total bases (20).
Garza had two nine-game hitting streaks this year.
Against the CACC, Garza hit .419 with 10 doubles and a CACC-best seven home runs, drove in 23 runs and scored a conference-high 27 times. He managed to get on base in 19 of the 20 conference contests, hitting safely in 16 of them.
In addition to his offensive production, Garza is the ace of the Rams' pitching staff, going 3-3 with a team-best 3.14 earned run average and 59 strikeouts in 63.0 innings. He is ranked seventh in the conference in strikeouts and eighth in ERA.
In six CACC starts, Garza was 1-1 with a 3.89 ERA and struck out 41 batters in 39.1 innings of work. He struck out 10 batters in 7.0 innings against Chestnut Hill on March 30.
An All-CACC selection for the first time, Wells has been strong in the batter's box this season, setting career-highs and leading the CACC with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs. He drew a team-high 31 walks to rank second in the conference and is fourth with a .579 slugging percentage. Through 47 games, Wells is hitting .289 with 46 base hits, including 13 doubles.
Philadelphia (21-26) will take on Felician in the first round of the double-elimination CACC Tournament on Thursday, May 12 at 9 a.m. on Wilmington University's Wilson Field.