PHOENIX, Ariz. (release) -- Former Carson-Newman All-American first baseman Kyle Koeneman (Seymour, Tenn.) has signed a free agent contract to play for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Koeneman will travel to Arizona this weekend to participate in the Diamondbacks’ Rookie Mini-Camp before being assigned to a minor league affiliate.
“Everyone associated with Carson-Newman Baseball is extremely happy for Kyle,” C-N head coach Tom Griffin said Friday. “We’re very disappointed he wasn’t drafted, because he deserved to be, especially after seeing who some clubs took in the draft that had talked with him and worked him out. He is well-deserving of getting an opportunity to play pro ball.”
Koeneman was selected as a First Team All-American by the American Baseball Coaches’ Association following the Eagles’ season. He was chosen by the coaches in the infielder/utility position after starting 48 games for the Eagles at first base and pitcher. He also made one start at catcher, a 6-1 win at West Georgia in April.
Koeneman will try to join a number of Eagles at various levels in professional baseball, including Miami Marlins’ reliever Steve Cishek. Cishek is 4-0 for the Marlins this season with a 1.82 ERA and a save out of the bullpen.
Koeneman carried the Eagles to a 28-26 record this season finishing the year among the nation's leaders in a number of categories. He finished the season among the nation's leaders in home runs (20), walks (51), on-base percentage (.548) and slugging percentage (.883).
The 2012 South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year was at his best late in games, hitting game-tying or game-winning home runs in the ninth inning four times. He hit game-winning home runs in wins against North Georgia, Lenoir-Rhyne, and Lander, among others.
Against Lander, Koeneman found out mid-game the NCAA had granted his fifth-year of eligibility, and came on to hit the game-winning home run in the top of the ninth, and pitched the bottom of the inning for the save. He appeared in only 12 games as a junior before suffering a season-ending wrist injury.
Koeneman led the Eagles in eight offensive categories (also doubles, runs, RBIs, and total bases) and tied for the team lead with three saves.
The senior finished the year with 18 multi-hit games and reached base at least twice in over 30 games. By then time the Eagles’ season hit the homestretch, teams stopped pitching to Koeneman. He walked 23 times in C-N’s final 12 games, including eight times in each of the Eagles’ final two SAC series.
Koeneman is the first Eagle to be named All-American since Brett Hontz earned the honor as a pitcher following the 2008 season, and is the sixth All-American for the program at the NCAA level. He is the 23rd All-American in program history.
The Seymour, Tenn. native was named Carson-Newman's 2011-2012 Eagle Club Male Athlete of the Year last month.