baseball
Andy Thomas, a former Murrieta Mesa baseball standout, is awarded the prestigious 2019-2020 Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship by Baylor University. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Baylor University awarded Andy Thomas, a former Murrieta Mesa High School baseball standout, the prestigious 2019-2020 Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship. Thomas is the fifth Baylor University baseball student-athlete to earn the scholarship and one of two selected from the school. The two Baylor University selections were among 20 honorees, with each of the conference’s member institutions awarding two scholarships, one male and one female.

The scholarships are named in honor of the late Dr. Prentice Gautt, a former Big 12 Conference staff member and student services’ pioneer who died in March 2005. The list of all-time recipients has grown to 461 since the inception of the league in 1996-1997. Starting in 2002-2003, additional funding increased scholarship award winners to two per member institution.

A four-year letterwinner and three-year starter for the Bears, Thomas will return to the field in 2021, taking advantage an extra year of eligibility given due to the coronavirus pandemic. A career .323 hitter, he has driven in 81 runs in his career with eight home runs, 33 doubles and two triples as he has shown versatility playing multiple roles for the Bears. He was named to the 2019 All-Big 12 First Team and was a Preseason All-Big 12 pick in 2020. He also earned Second Team All-Big 12 honors in 2018 as a sophomore.

baseball
Former Murrieta Mesa baseball standout, Andy Thomas, is only the the fifth Baylor University baseball player ever to earn the Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship. Valley News/Courtesy photo

“I am thrilled and honored to receive this award,” Thomas said. “It means the world to me to be eligible and receive this. I couldn’t have done it without the support and love from my coaches, academic advisers, teammates and family and I can’t wait to make the university proud and take on a master’s program.”

Criteria for the awards includes a cumulative GPA of at least 3.200 on a 4.000 scale, participation in at least two years of intercollegiate athletics at the nominee’s respective institution. The student-athletes must graduate from their respective member institutions and enroll in graduate or professional school of their choice within 15 months of their selection of the postgraduate scholarship.

Thomas is also a three-time First Team Academic All-Big 12 honoree, completed his undergraduate degree in marketing and plans to return to graduate school in either law or sport management. He was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District 7 Team in 2019.

At Murrieta Mesa, Thomas led his 2016 team to the CIF-SS Division 1 Baseball Championship and was a three-year letterwinner. He was the 2016 Rawlings High School Gold Glove winner at the catcher position, received the 2016 Rawlings/Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American award, was a 2016 Perfect Game second-team All-California Region selection, received All-league honorable mention as junior, was a 2015 Perfect Game Underclass honorable mention, Second-team all-league as sophomore and posted a career average of .336 with 46 runs, 87 hits, 42 RBI, 20 doubles, four triples and six home runs in 88 games.

To date, the Big 12 has provided over $3.5 million for postgraduate education. The individual grants began at $2,500 in 1996-1997, were raised to $5,000 in 1999 and increased to $6,900 for 2004-2005. The awards climbed to $7,500 in 2006-2007, moved to $9,000 in 2011-2012 and have been at $10,000 since 2013-2014.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at sports@reedermedia.com.