2015 Rawlings Prospects NC Player Justin Kunz
Gardner-Webb catcher Justin Kunz was selected to the 2016 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America Team Wednesday, as announced by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
Kunz (Wake Forest, N.C. / Heritage HS) is the first GWU freshman to earn a spot on the team since current teammate Matt Simmons did so in 2014. He is the sixth Runnin' Bulldog rookie to be selected to the Freshman All-America team since 2003.
Kunz earned first-team All-Big South Conference honors in 2016, finishing the season with a .333 batting average, six home runs, 11 doubles and 23 RBI in 37 starts. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound catcher ranked third on the team in average, was tied for third in doubles and ranked second in home runs. His .389 on base percentage also ranked third on the team by season's end.
His home run total was the top mark for any freshman in the Big South Conference.
He became the primary option behind the plate in mid-March, bursting onto the scene by tying a single-game record in Gardner-Webb's 16-14 loss at Western Carolina (March 16). Kunz went 4-for-5 that day and blasted three home runs in Cullowhee – the first three of his career.
Defensively, Kunz led Gardner-Webb with three runners picked off at first base and threw out 11 potential base thieves – which also led the team. He helped manage a pitching staff that ranked second in the Big South with a 3.90 team ERA and boasted three All-Big South selections in starters Brad Haymes (11-3, 2.20 ERA) and Jeremy Walker (9-5, 3.77 ERA) and closer Wil Sellers (3.33 ERA, 12 saves).
Kunz is busy honing his game this summer in the Southern Collegiate Baseball League (SCBL), playing well so far for the Carolina Vipers. He is batting .385 with six runs scored, two doubles and a pair of RBI in four games.