KODAK, Tenn. – Senior Paul Kirby was named the South Atlantic Conference's Elite 18 award winner Friday evening at the 2017 Baseball Championships taking home the plaudit awarded by the league for outstanding work not only in the field of competition, but also in the classroom around the community.
"It's a lot of hard work, late nights and studying on the bus during road trips," Kirby said. "It's not always easy balancing your friends, keeping up with school and playing baseball. It just goes to show that all of that effort and hard work paid off. It's an honor to earn this."
This is the first year that the conference has handed out this award as Kirby, a 4.0 student, is a pre-med major studying biology and health professions. Since arriving on Carson-Newman's campus in the fall of 2015, the Goodlettsville, Tenn. native has been an Eagle Scholar every semester thus far into her C-N career. A student-athlete who meets or surpasses a GPA of 3.25 is recognized by the University as an Eagle Scholar and is given a patch to wear on their uniform during competition.
The senior won the SAC and Tennessee Sportswriters' Association's Player of the Week laurels on April 18 going 6-for-15, a .400 batting average, at the plate with three home runs, 12 RBIs while scoring six times in four games. He is hitting .357 with eight home runs and 41 RBIs. On the season, Kirby is 48th nationally and sixth in the league in doubles with 16, fourth in slugging percentage at .664, ninth in total bases with 93 and triples with three while ranking 10th with eight roundtrippers.
From Feb. 8 to March 17, the first baseman hit safely in a career-long 16 straight games where he hit .410 with three bombs, 15 RBIs, 20 runs scored with seven doubles and a triple. It marks the longest hitting streak by any Eagle player in 2017.
During his two seasons in the Orange and Blue, Kirby has posted a .315 batting average with 14 long balls, 81 RBIs and 108 knocks.
Kirby and the Eagles are playing Tusculum in an elimination game that begins at noon from Smokies Stadium in the SAC Baseball Championships as the outing will air on cneagles.com/live with video and audio streams available.
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