To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior or graduate student and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in Schoolthe Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Thomas, a fifth-year senior from Keller, Texas, went 4-4 on the 2022 campaign with a 2.45 ERA before suffering a season-ending injury. The lefty struck out 51 batters and walked just nine while holding opponents to a .215 batting average. He did not allow more than three earned runs in any of his nine starts this season.
For his career, Thomas posted a 13-11 record with a 3.26 ERA and 229 strikeouts across 207.1 innings. He earned spots on the 2018 All-Big 12 Freshman Team and 2021 All-Big 12 Second Team and was previously named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week on March 7 after his career outing against No. 23 UCLA. Additionally, he garnered Most Outstanding Player recognition at the Shriners Children’s College Classic after going 8.2 innings with four hits allowed, one run and a career-high 10 punchouts against the Bruins.
Each year of his career, Thomas has logged multiple hours of community service, including serving with the NACC Disaster Relief, participating in Baylor’s Community Clean Up Day, volunteering with Veteran’s One Stop and dedicating time to the local Boys & Girls Club.
In the classroom, Thomas graduated with a degree in health, kinesiology and leisure studies and is now working towards his master’s in sport management. He is a three-time Academic All-Big 12 selection, having earned first-team honors last season.
Most notably, Thomas overcame Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and returned to full health to pitch the best baseball of his career. Earlier this season, he logged a scoreless innings streak of 19.2 before his season was unfortunately cut short due to injury. He’ll undergo Tommy John surgery in May before graduating from Baylor and pursuing a professional career.
On March 22, Thomas was named one of 30 candidates among NCAA baseball student-athletes in consideration for the award. Since then, the list has been narrowed to 10 finalists who have been placed on the official ballot. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately, and fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through June 6. Fan votes will then be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner.
The 2022 Senior CLASS Award recipient will be announced during the College World Series in June. More information on each of the candidates can be found at SeniorCLASSAward.com.
Thomas is the third Baylor finalist in program history, joining Richard Cunningham (2019) and Andy Thomas (2021), who both earned second-team recognition.
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2022 Senior CLASS Award Finalists
Dominic Keegan, Vanderbilt
Jake Kuchmaner, East Carolina
Austin Peterson, UConn
Christian Policelli, Navy
RJ Schreck, Duke
Tanner Smith, Oregon
Kolby Somers, Oregon
Mitchell Verburg, Oregon State
Alex Williams, Stanford