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Lamar's Ryan Snell named Southland Conference Player of The Year

Snell's dream season continues with SLC Player of The Year honors

FRISCO, Texas — Lamar University senior catcher Ryan Snell has been named Southland Conference Player of the Year announced league officials Monday evening. Snell's honor headlines of list of three Cardinals receiving five honors on the 2023 SLC All-Conference team, and comes less than 24 hours prior to the start of the conference tournament in Lake Charles, La.

A first-team all-conference selection, Snell was also named to the league's all-defensive team and is joined on the squad by pitchers Brooks Caple (second team) and Hunter Hessletine (second team).

Snell becomes just the second Cardinal to be named SLC Player of the Year and the first since Collin Delome (2006).

A native of Hardin, Texas, Snell started all 53 games hitting .318 with 17 home runs, 15 doubles, 58 RBIs and 42 runs scored. He ended the regular season ranked second in home runs and RBIs, third in slugging percentage and OPS, seventh in doubles and 12th in batting average.

As dominant as he was at the plate, Snell may have brought more value to the team for his efforts behind the plate. Snell eliminated the majority of baserunners who attempted swiping an extra bag throwing out 20-of-34 (.588) would-be base stealers to rank among the nation's elite.

Snell enters the postseason just one home run shy of tying the school's single season record of 18 held by Michael Ambort (2005) and Reid Russell (2016).

Both Caple and Hesssletine were honored as starting pitchers on the second team. Originally starting the year as the Friday night starter, Caple finished the season posting a 5-0 record with a 3.40 earned run average and a 1.17 WHIP. He ended the regular season with 48 strike outs to just 15 walks in 55.2 innings pitched. Caple managed to post those numbers despite an injury early in the season, and a move to the closer role late in the year to help the team.

When Caple went down with the injury, Hesseltine stepped in to solidify the Cardinals' Saturday spot and never went back to the bullpen. Hesseltine made 14 appearances on the season with nine starts and posted a 4-1 (.800) record with a 3.53 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. The Topeka, Kansas native had a 2-to-1 strike out to walk ratio in 51 innings pitched, and recorded a complete game victory at UIW where he allowed just one run on three hits with nine strike outs. All of UIW's baserunners came in just one inning as Hesseltine sat the league's other Cardinals down in order in the other eight innings.

The Cardinals will open conference tournament play Wednesday against No. 4 New Orleans. The game against the Privateers is slated for a 2:30 p.m. first pitch from Joe Miller Ballpark and will be streamed live on ESPN+.

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