Pacific baseball's junior catcher, James Free, was named as the Rawlings West Coast Conference Player of the Week today for his weekend performance against Seattle that helped the Tigers to two wins.
Free was crucial Saturday's come from behind win with five RBIs which was the most in a game at Klein Family Field since 2017. Each game this weekend was a multi-hit one for Free.
He went 2-5 on Friday night in the series opener with a run scored. On Saturday, he plated all five of his RBIs of the weekend by going 2-3 at the plate which included a towering home run to left field that would have left any ballpark in America. The three-run homer ended up being pivotal as Seattle built a comeback but lost by three runs.
On Sunday, he ripped a leadoff double to left-center that hit off the top of Klein Family Field's tall left field fence. He went 2-4 in Sunday's loss. He was the only Tiger in the game with two hits. Free also caught two of the three runners that attempted to steal against him this weekend. His five RBIs this weekend gave Free the team lead in RBIs with 12. He's hitting .372 through the first 11 games.
This is Free's first Rawlings West Coast Conference Player of the Week honor of his career, but it is far from the first accolade of his career though. Free was a Freshman All-American in 2016 and picked up All-West Coast Conference honors in 2017 and 2018. He followed that up with Preseason All-Conference Honors this year. He was named to Johnny Bench Award Watchlist in 2018 as well which put him in the conversation surrounding who the nation's best catcher is. He was a Preseason All-Conference and preseason All-American in 2018 as well.
Free's selection makes him the first Tiger to be named as the West Coast Conference Player of the Week since April of 2016 when Gio Brusa, who is now playing in the San Francisco Giants organization, earned the honor. Shelby Lackey did pick up the honor of Rawlings West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week in 2018.
Free and the Tigers are back in action this weekend when the Tigers head to Cal Baptist, which has also had a great start to the season at 9-3.