WEST MONROE, La (KTVE/KARD) – As it seems that award shows are all the rage these days, it would only be right to hand out midseason awards as Louisiana Tech hits the halfway point of the season. And no, don’t expect anyone to get slapped, we can all be mature about this.

Offensive Player of the Year – Taylor Young

It’s no secret that Louisiana Tech baseball as a whole goes as Taylor Young does. The senior from West Monroe has led the team all season in batting average, OPS, and doubles. Young has also been about as perfect a leadoff hitter a team could have. His 25 walks are tied for tops in Conference USA to go along with 9 stolen bases.

“He’s like that veteran quarterback or point guard that you don’t have to worry about it. He’s going to have everybody in the right place, whether he’s playing well or not,” said Bulldogs head coach Lane Burroughs.

Possibly the hottest Young has been this season was during a stretch in mid-March against Houston Baptist where he tallied 11 hits in 14 at-bats, racking up an absurd slugging percentage of 1.375.

“When he comes up and you see that lineup turn back around, we know, the other dugout knows, that there’s a chance he’s going to run into one or drive a gap or get a big hit and he’s a moment guy he runs to the moment he doesn’t run away from it,” said Burroughs.

We also can’t forget Young’s incredible pimped bases-loaded walk in the twelfth inning of a tie game to give the Bulldogs with win over No. 21 LSU in Baton Rouge.

Bulldog third baseman Logan McLeod with a hit against Tulane

Offensive Breakout Player of the Year – Logan McLeod

Since conference play has started, Logan McLeod has been Louisiana Tech’s best hitter and it’s not even close. The 5-foot-10 sophomore from Sour Lake, Texas has done nothing but hit since C-USA play started three weeks ago. His .458 average and .639 on-base percentage are good for tops on the team over that time frame and there really is no close second. Cole McConnell is second to McLeod in average and he’s hitting almost .170 points worse.

“He [McLeod] finds a way to get on base. He doesn’t swing at bad pitches like a lot of our guys have been doing. He can evaluate balls and strikes and you know you run that argument with yourself do you move him? Do you put him up at the top of the order?”

McLeod has started all 28 games for Louisiana Tech this season, and in all 28 games, he has primarily hit out of the eight-hole, which he’s done 21 times this season.

His .286 overall average and .426 on-base percentage this season is good for third on the team behind Young and McConnell. Couple this with having just 26 career at-bats before this season started, and you have a player that fans in Ruston should be very excited for.

Pitcher of the Year – Cade Gibson

This was quite possibly the hardest award to choose out of the other three. And realistically, this award could also go to Kyle Crigger, who has been electric out of the bullpen this season. But newly appointed Friday night starter Cade Gibson has elevated his role on the team astronomically through the last couple of weeks. Gibson leads all starters in ERA and WHIP while throwing the most innings out of any pitcher in the rotation.

Gibson’s 2.61 ERA also accounts for fourth in Conference USA this season, to go along with his 41.1 innings pitched which is 5th most in the conference.

“Gibson has earned the right to pitch on Friday night. He’s been our best guy all year. He’s beat some really good teams, he beat Ole Miss last year, LSU this year, and obviously pitched really well against FIU last weekend and also obviously this past weekend against Southern Miss” said Burroughs who laid out a new rotation for this weekend’s matchup with Rice.

It’s still undetermined how long Gibson will stay in his new role, but for the time being, he has been the workhorse of the Bulldog pitching staff all season.

Ryan Harland on the mound against Southern Miss

Breakout Pitcher of the Year – Ryan Harland

Ryan Harland has thrown the second least amount of innings by all qualified pitchers on Louisiana Tech’s staff, but in his 11.1 innings pitched in six appearances, the freshman from Baton Rouge has shown a ton of promise. Harland’s 0.79 ERA is second among qualified pitchers only to Kyle Crigger. His 0.53 WHIP is tops amongst qualified pitchers this season.

While the innings sample is not the best, Harland has struck out 10, walked one, and allowed just five hits in his first 39 batters faced as a college pitcher.

“He’s got a chip on his shoulder. And when he takes the mound, he throws strikes and he throws it at a high level and he works both sides of the plate,” said Lane Burroughs who compared Harland to Taylor Young in their competitive nature.

Harland’s biggest highlight of the season was a 4.1 innings pitched, 3 hits, and one run outing in relief against UTSA that kept the Bulldogs in the contest, allowing for a three-run comeback late in the game to win.

“You may see him start at some point, who knows, but he’s been great,” said Burroughs.

With 28 games remaining on the schedule, Louisiana Tech’s road to Hattiesburg is very favorable with 12 games against teams in the bottom five of the conference. That being said, Tech will still have to travel to Old Dominion, one of the favorites to win the conference come the end of May.