DENVER – The Western Athletic Conference released its 2008 all-WAC softball team and individual awards as selected by the league’s head coaches. Nevada senior Vanessa Briones was named WAC Player of the Year. She was the first Wolf Pack player to earn the honor. Fresno State’s Morgan Melloh won the WAC Pitcher of the Year and WAC Freshman of the Year honors. Melloh was the first player to win both honors in the same season since Fresno State’s Robin Mackin in 2006. Nevada head coach Michelle Gardner earned her first WAC Coach of the Year honor.
Briones, a senior from Ontario, Calif., hit .429 in conference games this season. In a breakout season, Briones was one of only two players in the WAC to hit over .400 in conference games. She ended WAC action with 14 runs scored and 16 RBI. She is the first Wolf Pack player to earn Player of the Year honors since Nevada added softball in 2003.
Melloh, a freshman from Fishers, Ind., is the third Bulldog to win the Player of the Year honors. Amanda Scott earned the award three times; Jamie Southern was a four-time winner, while Robin Mackin earned the honor last season. Melloh is the eighth Bulldog to earn WAC Freshman of the Year honors. Melloh had a stellar freshman campaign, ending conference play with a 12-2 record and a 1.14 ERA. Melloh’s 133 strikeouts are the third most ever in conference play. She allowed only 18 earned runs in 111.0 innings.
Gardner earned her first WAC Coach of the Year honor after leading Nevada to a 16-2 WAC record. The Wolf Pack won their first WAC regular season title. Nevada also earned its first national ranking this season.
Nevada led the way with nine total players on the all-WAC team. Hawai‘i had a total of six on the all-WAC team. Nevada placed a WAC-high six players on the first team. There were four players on the first team that were either first or second team honorees in 2007. Hawai‘i’s Kaulana Gould is a four-time first-team honoree. All seven teams had at least one player on the all-WAC team.