NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Following a return from an injury that sidelined him for most of last season, shortstop Brett Balkan earned a spot on the 2014 Big West All-Conference team as an Honorable Mention, the league office announced Tuesday afternoon. The honor is the first for the senior at CSUN, who recently wrapped up his career with the Matadors.
This season Balkan finished fourth in the Big West Conference with 12 sacrifice bunts, a figure that ranks second all-time in a single season at CSUN. He also was hit by a pitch 11 times this year, tying for the team lead and ranking eighth in the conference.
Against Big West opponents Balkan was a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts, ranking in a tie for fourth in the league. Known for his defensive ability, Balkan had an impresive .982 fielding percentage in 2014 with just four errors in 227 chances at shortstop. He helped the Matadors turn 27 of the team's 42 double plays as well.
The Carlsbad, Calif., native also saw a vast improvement at the plate in his senior season. After hitting .195 in 32 games two years ago, Balkan finished this year third on the team with a .285 batting average in 54 games. He collected 51 hits, including five doubles, and drove in 22 runs while scoring 20 others.
In conference games Balkan led the team with a .329 average and had 11 RBIs, which tied for the most on the squad. At UC Riverside, he had a career-high three hits and drove in a pair of runs in a CSUN victory. Balkan followed up that performance with a 3-for-5 day against UC Davis, including two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Balkan is currently completing his degree in Communications.