2022 Mountain West Outdoor Baseball Championships (copy)

Air Force sophomore Paul Skenes runs onto the field last weekend during the 2022 Mountain West Baseball Championship in San Diego. (COURTESY OF ETHAN MITO, NCAA PHOTOS)

Paul Skenes will definitely not be returning to Air Force.

The two-way standout who has been in the transfer portal since shortly after the end of the Falcons’ season said he has disenrolled from the academy, ending any chance he could return.

In a message to The Gazette he said he hasn’t decided where he will play next year.

As a sophomore this past season Skenes was named Mountain West Co-Pitcher of the Year and helped the Falcons to their first conference title and first NCAA regional appearance in more than 50 years. He went 10-3 with a 2.73 ERA while hitting .314 with 13 home runs and a 1.046 OPS as a catcher and designated hitter. He was an All-American and received the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award.

Skenes was also an all-academic selection from the Mountain West.

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Cadets can leave service academies without penalty prior to the start of classes their junior year. After that, they are committed to staying through graduation and serving in the military.

Other athletes in the past had entered the transfer portal before opting to return to Air Force. Basketball standout A.J. Walker is the most notable example.

Academic honors from Mountain West

The Mountain West announced its spring sports all-academic honors earlier this week and the list included 97 from Air Force, a program record for a non-COVID year.

That brings the 2021-22 tally to 141 for Air Force across all sports, also a record.

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The list included sophomore Sam Kulasingam in baseball, the Mountain West Player of the Year. In basketball, the list included freshmen Jake Heidbreder and Ethan Taylor from the men’s team and Nikki McDonald from the women’s program.

Another football time set

Air Force will host Northern Iowa at 11 a.m. on Sept. 3 in the football opener, with the academy announcing the kickoff time on Wednesday.

That leaves only the start time of the home finale against Colorado State on Nov. 19 in question, as Fox Sports controls that broadcast and will announce the time later.

At this point, in seven home games the Falcons will kick off at or before 1:30 p.m. four times, with only a Friday night game vs. Nevada (6 p.m. on Sept 23) and a 5 p.m. game vs. Boise State on Oct. 22 going later.

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