San Antonio – Candidly, St. Mary’s star pitcher Rene Solis will tell you he didn’t expect any of this.

Not this quick.

But in his first season as a starting pitcher, the Rattlers’ sophomore left-hander from San Antonio has already emerged as one of the game’s best.

Solis has been named one of six finalists for the 2012 Tino Martinez Award, handed out annually by College Baseball Lineup to the most outstanding player in NCAA Division II college baseball, it was announced this week.

The award is named after former Major League Baseball star Tino Martinez, a graduate of D-II University of Tampa.

Solis, who was 1-0 with a 3.12 ERA in 12 appearances last year, has burst onto the scene this season, posting a 13-2 record with 106 strikeouts and a 1.55 ERA. Most recently, his 145-pitch, eight-inning, seven-strikeout performance in the second round of the NCAA Division II South Central Regional helped lead St. Mary’s (48-9) to the regional crown.

As if that wasn’t enough, Solis volunteered himself available in the bullpen two days later in the regional championship, though his services ultimately were not needed.

He has helped fellow starting aces Carl O’Neal (Jr., San Antonio) and Skye Severns (Sr., Claremont, Calif.) anchor a pitching staff that anchored the nation’s top ERA entering the regional tournament.

Solis was named a Daktronics All-Region First Team selection and also made the NCBWA All-Region Team as a second-team selection.

Fellow Rattler pitcher Jonathan Perez (Jr., San Antonio) had been named a semifinalist for the Tino Martinez Award. Former star closer Sammy Rivas also was a semifinalist last season.

The winner will be announced after the conclusion of the D-II College Baseball Championship on June 2.

St. Mary’s will play Delta State in the opening round of the College World Series at 4 p.m. (CDT) Sunday in Cary, N.C.

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