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Sonny DiChiara named 2022 SEC Co-Player of the Year

Auburn slugger Sonny DiChiara was named the Southeastern Conference Co-Player of the Year and First Team All-SEC
Credit: AP

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. —  Sonny DiChiara was named the Southeastern Conference Co-Player of the Year and First Team All-SEC, while Blake Burkhalter earned Second Team All-SEC honors and Blake Rambusch was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team, the league office announced Monday.

DiChiara becomes the third player in program history to earn the league's highest award, joining Tim Hudson (1997) and Hunter Morris (2010) on the short list, and Auburn's three honorees in 2022 are the second most in a season since 2010.

DiChiara, who has already been named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, finished the regular season as the league leader in on-base percentage (.561) and slugging percentage (.782) while ranking second in batting average (.382). His on-base clip is also good for the national lead, while his slugging percentage is the fifth best in the country.

A native of Hoover, Alabama, DiChiara is tied for third among active Division I players with 58 career home runs and has homered 17 this year, matching Edouard Julien's total from 2018 for the most by an Auburn player since 2010. He has drawn 62 walks this season, the most in the country and the second most in the team's single-season history, and has reached base in all but one game, including multiple times on 43 occasions.

Burkhalter is Auburn's first relief pitcher to earn first or second team honors since John Madden in 2005. The junior right-hander's 13 saves, including 10 in league play, are three more than any other pitcher in the SEC, the fourth most in the country and tied for the most among Power Five pitchers.

Burkhalter, who has also been named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year midseason watch list earlier this season, has earned a win or a save in 17 of his team-high 25 appearances. He earned a save in each game of Auburn's three-game sweep against South Carolina to not only become the first pitcher in program history to accomplish the feat, but also become the first SEC pitcher to do so since 2017.

In his first season with the Auburn program, Blake Rambusch is one of two players to start every game this season and has held down the hot corner in 51 of the team's 55 contests. He has turned in a .964 fielding percentage and has started 12 of the team's 44 double plays, which rank third in the league.

The redshirt junior also got it done at the plate this season, leading the league with 80 hits and turning in a .351 average in his first year on the Plains. Rambusch also ranked tied for third in the league with 16 stolen bases.

No. 20 Auburn (37-18, 16-13 SEC) begins its postseason push at the SEC Tournament, set to take on Kentucky (30-24 12-18 SEC) Tuesday night in Hoover.

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