CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Written by Jacob Stansell
Xavier baseball star Andre Jernigan unanimously earned BIG EAST Player of the Year in addition to Xavier's coaching staff who also received recognition as BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year as the team claimed a BIG EAST regular season title this year.
Jernigan helped power the Musketeers as they turned the season around from a 14-26 overall record (1-3 in the BIG EAST conference) to a 27-28 record behind Jernigan's 12 homers and 110 total bases, which rank him among national leaders.
The senior from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, leads the team in slugging percentage (.564), doubles (16) and triples (4). His efforts at the plate in BIG EAST play generated a batting average of .274, three homers, 15 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .382.
His defense has been integral for Xavier as well as the shortstop ranks nationally in double plays turned.
Xavier's coaching staff comprised of head coach Scott Googins, Nick Otte, Billy O'Connor and Kyle Sprague garnered coaching staff accolades for the first time in the program's history.
Googins became Xavier's winningest coach with 300 wins as he was the man in charge of Xavier's turnaround this season, ending with 13 victories within the final 15 games to close out the season.
Xavier added a sum of four players to the All-BIG EAST First Team other than Jernigan, including senior catcher Dan Rizzie, sophomore designated hitter Nate Soria and sophomore third baseman Rylan Bannon. The team had three other players named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team, which topped the league having seven players honored in total. Those candidates were sophomore pitcher Zac Lowther, sophomore pitcher Garrett Schilling and redshirt sophomore first basemen Joe Gellenbeck who has blasted three walk-off hits in his last six games.
The Musketeers are scheduled to face St. John's Thursday in the BIG EAST tournament as the No. 4 seed. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.