After helping lead CSUN Baseball to its second consecutive 33-win season, senior Branden Berry has earned an All-Big West Conference Honorable Mention, the league office announced Wednesday. Transferring from the University of Washington, Berry concluded his only season with CSUN tied for the Big West lead in home runs (9) while finishing tied for second in RBI (44) and third in slugging percentage (.508).
“Branden was the heart of our lineup all year,” said head coach Greg Moore. “He provided the protection to make others in our offense better.”
The native of San Diego, CA, transferred to CSUN after a successful three seasons on the field for the Huskies. Berry capped off his time with the team with a Pac-12 Honorable Mention in 2015 during his junior campaign. After earning his degree with Washington, Berry made the move to CSUN to play out his final year of collegiate baseball in 2016.
A career .275 hitter with Washington, Berry made a seamless transition to the middle of the Matador lineup as he provided consistency and plenty of production all season long. Achieving career highs in batting average (.294), runs scored (31), doubles (13), home runs (9), RBI (44), walks (22) and on-base percentage (.403) in 2016, Berry also supplied steadiness at first base with a .988 fielding percentage.
Berry wasted little time making an impact for CSUN in the early going of the season. On opening day, Berry hit two home runs and drove in all five of the Matadors’ runs against CSU Bakersfield. He went on to post a team-high 10 multiple-RBI games including driving in a season-high six RBI against UCLA on March 8 in a 20-12 victory.
The slugger also showcased his ability to come through with the game on the line throughout the season as he drove in game-winning runs in five contests against the likes of UCLA (March 8), Houston Baptist (March 18 and 19), Portland (March 25) and Cal Poly (May 7). He also belted a game-tying home run in the eighth inning against Connecticut on March 13 in a CSUN 2-1 victory.
Leading the team in RBI against non-conference opponents with 22, Berry matched that production with 22 RBI in 24 Big West games. He also led the team in home runs (3), slugging percentage (.443) and doubles (7) against conference foes.
A constant threat to hit the ball over the wall, Berry maintained his consistency getting on base. During the season, he sported a team-high 30-game on-base streak while posting a 10-game hit streak. He also finished third on the team in multiple-hit performances with 15.
Berry concluded his collegiate career with 210 hits, 20 home runs, 125 RBI and a .280 batting average to go along with all-conference honors in back-to-back seasons from different conferences.