Three Tigers Earn Freshman All-America Honors

by Bill Franques
Three Tigers Earn Freshman All-America Honors

BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU outfielder Daniel Cabrera, pitcher Ma’Khail Hilliard and pitcher AJ Labas received Freshman All-America recognition Wednesday from Collegiate Baseball magazine.

Cabrera, a Baton Rouge, La., product batted .315 this season with 18 doubles, two triples, eight homers and 54 RBI. A Freshman All-SEC selection, he is fifth in the league in RBI and sixth in the conference in doubles.

He was named SEC Freshman of the Week on May 14 after he enjoyed an incredible week in leading LSU to three wins in four games, including an SEC series victory over Alabama. Cabrera hit .769 (10-for-13) in four games (May 9-13) with two doubles, one triple, two homers and 10 RBI. In the Tigers’ series victory over Alabama (May 11-13), he hit .700 (7-for-10) with two doubles, one triple, one homer and six RBI.

Cabrera, who posted a 12-game hitting streak – LSU’s second-longest of the season – from May 9 through May 25, batted .320 in the SEC Tournament with two doubles, five RBI and three runs.

Hilliard, a native of Central, La. was 9-5 this season with a 3.79 ERA in 17 appearances (12 starts). The right-hander is fifth in the SEC in wins, and he worked 76 innings, allowing 32 earned runs with 31 walks and 70 strikeouts. He began his collegiate career by firing 17 consecutive scoreless innings and did not allow a run until the first inning of a start versus Missouri on March 18.

Hilliard defeated Auburn on May 18, outdueling Casey Mize, the No. 1 selection in this week’s MLB Draft. Hilliard limited Auburn to two runs on seven hits in 7.1 innings with two walks and seven strikeouts, firing 97 pitches.

He was named SEC Co-Freshman of the Week on April 2 after delivering a brilliant outing on March 31 versus Mississippi State, firing six shutout innings and allowing just three hits with two walks and a career-high nine strikeouts.

Labas, a product of Fleming Island, Fla., posted a 6-2 record and a 3.48 ERA in 13 appearances (10 starts). He worked 54.1 innings, allowing 21 earned runs with seven walks and 32 strikeouts.

He was named SEC Freshman of the Week on May 7 after defeating fourth-ranked Arkansas – the SEC’s No. 1 offensive team – on May 6 with a brilliant effort, limiting the Razorbacks to one run on four hits in six innings with no walks and three strikeouts. The outing marked the first career start in an SEC game for Labas, who retired 13 of the first 14 batters he faced, and the only run he allowed was a solo homer by Arkansas leftfielder Heston Kjerstad in the fifth inning.

Labas fired a complete-game shutout against Lamar on April 24, allowing just six hits with one walk and a career-best nine strikeouts. He became the first LSU pitcher to throw a nine-inning shutout since Alex Lange versus Auburn on May 11, 2017.