Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina's Justice Bigbie was today selected Freshman All-America by Collegiate Baseball newspaper. The first-year utility player played in all 58 of WCU's games in his rookie campaign making 57 appearances among the starting lineup on his way to earning Southern Conference All-Freshman team honors.
Bigbie is the seventh Catamount all-time to earn Freshman All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball -- and the first since Bryan Sammons collected plaudits back in 2014. He is the fourth first-year player to receive honors under 11-year head coach Bobby Moranda. Bigbie joins the list that includes Sammons, first baseman Jacob Hoyle (2012), and second baseman Ross Heffley (2009), each under Moranda. Other Catamount honorees include Steven Strausbaugh (2005), Chris Moore (1996) and Phillip Grundy (1991) among the first-year elite in WCU history. Five of WCU's selections were later drafted by Major League Baseball squads.
Bigbie saw the bulk of his action in the outfield, making 33 of his 57 seasonal starts in right field with 13 starts coming at second base, eight at third, and three times starting as the designated hitter. He finished the season ranked second on the team among the regulars with a .324 batting average, collecting a team-best 73 hits in 225 at bats with 20 hits going for extra bases -- 14 doubles, a triple, and five home runs. He led the team in hitting most of the season until a hand/wrist injury slowed his production over the final month.
In addition to pacing the Catamount squad with 46 runs driven in, Bigbie tallied a team-best 14 multi-RBI games while also leading the squad with 22 multiple hit games including 14, two-hit outings and collecting eight, three-hit games. He finished the year ranked third in SoCon-only games with 34 runs driven in during league play. With a career-long hitting streak of 15-straight games, Bigbie compiled a 21-game reached base safely streak which was only surpassed by Spencer Holcomb's 30-game streak that he carried through the end of the year.
A product of Chesapeake, Va., Bigbie collected his first collegiate base hit on a ninth-inning infield single in game two of the season-opening three-game set at East Carolina. His first career extra-base hit came five games into the season with a fourth-inning double against Canisius.
Bigbie was additionally among seven players from the Southern Conference to receive the first-year player All-America honor. He was joined by LHP Samuel Strickland and designated hitter Brooks Carlson from Samford, Mercer shortstop R.J. Yeager and designated hitter Le Bassett, Wofford outfielder Colin Davis, and Furman outfielder Ben Anderson.
A combined 119 freshmen nationwide were honored with the list including 27 starting pitchers, 23 relief pitchers, and 69 position players.
WCU's All-Time Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America Selections:
1991 -- Phillip Grundy
1996 -- Chris Moore
2005 -- Steven Strausbaugh
2009 -- Ross Heffley
2012 -- Jacob Hoyle
2014 -- Bryan Sammons
2018 -- Justice Bigbie