KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Wigberto Nevarez of Lubbock Christian (Texas) has been named the NAIA National Baseball Player of the Week and Cole Swanson of Concordia (Calif.) has been tabbed National Pitcher of the Week, the national office announced Tuesday. Nevarez and Swanson were selected based on their performances from March 25 – 31 and were chosen out of a pool of conference/independent/unaffiliated group winners.
Nevarez, a native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, led Lubbock Christian to three wins in four games against Sooner Athletic Conference rival St. Gregory’s (Okla.) last week, as he hit .571 (8-for-14) with 11 RBI, five home runs, five runs scored, one walk and one stolen base. The senior first baseman/catcher finished the week with a 1.643 slugging percentage.
Nevarez became the first player in Lubbock Christian history to hit four home runs in a game, blasting four in the second game of the four-game series on March 28. He is the first player in the NAIA to hit four home runs in a single game since Eduardo Fernandez accomplished the feat against NCAA Division III Le Tourneau (Texas) on March 6, 2012. Nevarez, whose four home runs included two three-run, a two-run and a solo shot, had a career-high nine RBI in the game, one shy of tying the school record. The next day, Nevarez went deep for a fifth time with a solo blast in the third inning to give the Chaparrals a 2-1 lead.
On the season, Nevarez ranks amongst the top 10 nationally in home runs (10), total bases (88) and RBIs (38). His .372 batting average (45-for-121) is fifth on a team that paces the NAIA in eight offensive categories.
Swanson, a junior from San Diego, Calif., led Concordia to a 2-0 victory against then-No. 5 The Master’s (Calif.) on March 28. The 6-5 left-hander tossed nine innings, ultimately allowing four hits and three walks while striking out five to earn his second complete-game shutout win of the season and improve to 8-1 on the year. Only one Mustang runner advanced beyond first base against Swanson, who faced 30 batters in the contest, three more than the nine inning minimum.
Swanson’s eight victories are second in the NAIA. He also ranks third in innings pitched per game (7.5), ninth in total innings pitched (67.1) and 13th in strikeouts (60). Swanson’s 1.87 earned run average is second on the club amongst pitchers who have thrown at least 20 innings.
For a complete listing of all the national statistical leaders, click here.
The next NAIA Baseball Pitcher and Player of the Week announcement will be on April 9.
Pitcher Nominees: Daniel Cloteaux, Sterling (Kan.); Kody Mcfarland, Bellevue (Neb.); Paul Roers, Jamestown (N.D.); Josh Brown, Martin Methodist (Tenn.); Johnny Shuttlesworth, Faulkner (Ala.); Daniel Puckett, Indiana Tech; Ben Neyen, Lyon (Ark.); Matt Smith, Georgetown (Ky.); Dennis Neal, Texas College; Corey Rhoney, Tennessee Wesleyan; Cassidy Key-Darlington, Mount Marty (S.D.); Jordan Coffey, Taylor (Ind.); Eric Musselman, Ashford (Iowa); Isaiah Bell, Asbury (Ky.); Jayme Mueller, William Penn (Iowa); Sean Callegari, British Columbia; Craig Johnson, West Virginia Tech; Steven Beckham, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.); Alex Greener, Webber International (Fla.); John Alford, Tougaloo (Miss.); Adam Burns, Benedictine (Kan.); Brandon Bargas, Rogers State (Okla.); Steve Thompson, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).
Player Nominees: Vito Perna, William Carey (Miss.); Henry Yates, Texas Wesleyan; Clayton Brandt, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.); Spencer Flaten, Jamestown (N.D.); Rob Holley, Martin Methodist (Tenn.); Martin Lemus, Georgetown (Ky.); Brendan Miller, McPherson (Kan.); R.J. Roberts, Ashford (Iowa); Derek Kinzer, Taylor (Ind.); Camaren Gause, Concordia (Neb.); Michael Penny, Aquinas (Mich.); Ricky Alvarez, William Penn (Iowa); Tyson Popoff, British Columbia; Blake Cilwick, South Carolina Beaufort; Jose Soto, West Virginia Tech; Trevor Ramos, York (Neb.); Marlon Leyva, Point Park (Pa.); Zack Hebert, Tougaloo (Miss.); Tyler Latham, Bryan (Tenn.); Ryan Kern, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.); Chris Booth, Park (Mo.); Cade Gotta, San Diego Christian (Calif.); Chad Kruse, Houston-Victoria (Texas).
2013 Composite Award Winners (Pitcher; Player)
Week 1 (March 12): Jeremy Gooding, Madonna (Mich.); Nerio Barreto, Talladega (Ala.)
Week 2 (March 19): Elliott Engle, Doane (Neb.); Brady Steiger, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)
Week 3 (March 26): Rey Rodriguez, Robert Morris (Ill.); Justin Moore, Georgetown (Ky.)
Week 4 (April 2): Cole Swanson, Concordia (Calif.); Wigberto Nevarez, Lubbock Christian (Texas)