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This Week in WAC Baseball - March 18

This Week in WAC Baseball - March 18

Complete Release (PDF)

 
GCU'S QUIGGLE NAMED WAC HITTER OF THE WEEK
Grand Canyon's Kona Quiggle has been named WAC Hitter of the Week for March 11 through March 17. Quiggle, a junior utility player from Phoenix, Ariz. (Greenway HS), helped the Lopes bounce back from a series-opening loss against Xavier to take the series with three-straight wins over the Muskateers. His best game came on Friday as the Lope went 3-for-5 from the plate with four RBIs in a 7-2 win. On the week, he was 8-for-19 from the plate with seven RBIs, six runs scored and five extra-base hits.
 
Other Hitter of the Week nominees: California Baptist's Chad Castillo hit .545 on the week, going 6-for-11 from the plate … CSU Bakersfield's Jake Ortega hit .381 on the week with six RBIs as the 'Runners earned a win over Farleigh Dickinson before taking 3-of-4 at Hawai'i … NM State's Noah Haupt had a home run at Arizona State and went 2-for-4 at the plate against Xavier … Sacramento State's Martin Vincelli-Simard helped lead the Hornets to a 4-0 week, recording four RBIs and three runs scored … UT Rio Grande Valley's Conrado Diaz extended his hittting streak to 12 games, finishing with a .500 average on the week … Utah Valley's Alexander Marco was 8-for-19 from the plate as the Wolverines dropped 4-of-5 at home.
 
CSUB'S BARCLAY NAMED WAC PITCHER OF THE WEEK
CSU Bakersfield's Edgar Barclay has been named Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week for March 11 through March 17. Barclay, a junior left-hander from Hilo, Hawai'i (St. Joseph HS/GateWay CC), was dominant in his return to his home state, throwing a complete-game shutout in a 2-0 win over Hawai'i. Against the Rainbow Warriors, he gave up just one hit while striking out 10 to give the 'Runners the victory. It marked the second-straight start with double-digit strikeouts for the southpaw after he struck up 11 against Fairleigh Dickinson on March 10. He leads the WAC with 39 strikeouts this season and his .167 opposing batting average is second-best in the league this season. 
 
Other Pitcher of the Week nominees: California Baptist's Matt Mogollon earned his second save of the season, throwing four no-hit innings in a 5-1 win at nationally-ranked UC Santa Barbara … Grand Canyon's Kade Mechals continued his outstanding year, striking out 11 batters over six innings in a 6-0 win over Xavier on Thursday … NM State's Chance Hroch held Xavier to just one run over five innings in a 6-4 win on Sunday … Sacramento State's Scott Randall was brilliant for the Hornets on Sunday, striking out eight and allowing one walk and two hits over eight innings in a 7-0 win over Rider … UT Rio Grande Valley's Trevelle Hill went eight innings on Friday at Kansas State, striking out eight in a 3-1 loss.
 
ON DECK
After a number of non-conference games, the WAC schedule begins this weekend. In a sampling of non-league play, Grand Canyon hosts Utah on Monday, Chicago State opens up its home schedule on Tuesday against Northern Illinois, NM State travels to Arizona on Tuesday, and California Baptist takes on 10th-ranked Arizona State on Wednesay. In WAC play, CBU will remain in Phoenix to take on Grand Canyon. Chicago State will make the trip to Northern Colorado while Utah Valley heads to Seattle U. CSU Bakersfield will test its strikeout-leading pitching staff against the top offensive team in the WAC  at NM State and UT Rio Grande Valley heads west to take on Sacramento State.
 
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
NM State continues to lead the WAC both at the plate (.386 batting average) and in the field (.978fielding percentage). California Baptist has the low staff ERA at 2.95. Individually, NM State sophomore Nick Gonzales is the top player at the plate, boasting a .529 batting average and also leads the WAC in hits (45), runs scored (35), RBIs (44), total bases (87) and is tied with teammate Tristen Carranza for the lead in home runs with 11. GCU's Kona Quiggle is the doubles leader with nine while three players are tied for the lead in triples with three each. SU's Jake Prizina has the low ERA at 1.32 while CSUB's Darius Vines is the strikeout leader with 44 through 31.0 innings pitched.
 
HANA HOU
After striking out 11 batters against Fairleigh Dickinson on March 10, CSU Bakersfield lefthander and Hilo, Hawai'i native Edgar Barclay struck out 10 Hawai'i batters and allowed just one hit in a complete game shutout on March 17 in Honolulu.
 
FREE BASEBALL
California Baptist's 3-2 walk-off win over Pacific on March 8 was the 12th 15-inning game in WAC history, tying the Lancers for fifth on the all-time list of longest games by innings in league history. It is also the longest featuring two teams from the same state since Fresno State beat San Diego, 3-2, in a WAC-record 22 innings on March 26, 2011.
 
STINGERS UP
Sacramento State earned a marquee win on March 3, knocking off seventh-ranked UCLA, 2-1, in Los Angeles. It was the WAC's first win over a top-10 opponent since Feb. 18, 2018 when Grand Canyon beat ninth-ranked TCU, 9-8, in 12 innings.
 
GONZALES NAMED NCBWA PLAYER OF MONTH FOR FEBRUARY
New Mexico State sophomore infielder Nick Gonzales has been named the National Player of the Month for February. The NCAA leader in hits (28), homers (six), hits per game (3.11) and RBI (27) during February, Gonzales has shined under Coach Brian Green's tutelage at New Mexico State. He hit .636 (28-for-44) during the month, with four doubles, one triple, a 1.182 slugging percentage and a .630 on-base clip, stealing two bases. A native of Vail, Ariz., Gonzales was named the Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year after hitting .347 with 17 doubles, nine homers and 36 RBI in 2018. Through his first 13 starts of 2019, Gonzales has hit .590 (36-for-61) with six doubles, one triple, 10 homers and 37 RBI.
 
QUITE A DEBUT
In their first season playing NCAA Division I, the California Baptist Lancers got off to a 9-0 start and were the first team in the country to reach nine wins.
 
GUNS BLAZING
The NM State offense came out firing on opening weekend, scoring 98 runs in a four-game sweep of Texas Southern. In a Saturday doubleheader, the Aggies outscored the Tigers, 62-14, including a 38-6 win in the nightcap that came within a run of the WAC record set by NM State in 2018.
 
WAC COACHES SELECT GCU, COTTON, WHITTLESEY AS PRESEASON FAVORITES
Grand Canyon is the preseason favorite to win the 2019 Western Athletic Conference baseball title while GCU's Quin Cotton and NM State's Brock Whittlesey were selected WAC Preseason Player and Pitcher of the Year respectively in a vote of the league's 10 head coaches, who could not vote for their own team or players.
 
The Lopes, the 2018 WAC regular season champions, received five first place votes to finish atop the preseason poll with 75 points. NM State, the 2018 WAC tournament champions, were just one point back of GCU, taking three first-place votes for 74 total points. Sacramento State was selected third, picking up the final two first-place votes to total 69 points. Seattle U was selected fourth with 54 points, followed by California Baptist and UT Rio Grande Valley tying for fifth place with 37 points each. CSU Bakersfield is picked seventh, followed by Northern Colorado, Utah Valley and Chicago State.
 
Cotton and Whittlesey highlight the Preseason All-WAC squad. NM State leads the way with six players as the Aggies' Braden Williams, Caleb Henderson, Nick Gonzales, Joey Ortiz and Tristen Carranza join Whittlesey on the list. Seattle U had three honored as Austin Lively, Justin Mazzone and Jake Prizina represent the Redhawks. Cotton is joined by GCU teammate Pikai Winchester. Sacramento State had two selections as well as pitchers Scott Randall and Tanner Dalton were each honored. Northern Colorado's Jack Pauley rounded out the 14-member team.
 
GCU'S COTTON EARNS PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN NODS
Grand Canyon outfielder Quin Cotton has earned a pair of preseason honors as the WAC Preseason Player of the Year has been named a second team preseason All-American by Perfect Game and third team preseason All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Cotton was named the 2018 WAC Player of the Year for a breakout sophomore campaign in which he hit .390 with 29 extra-base hits and 43 RBIs. 
 
The Parker, Colo., native's statistics flooded the national leaderboards last season to rank 14th in batting average (.390), 11th in hits (94) and 27th in runs per game (1.09). Following up the breakout spring season, Cotton succeeded at the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League over the summer and was named an All-Star there.
 
WELCOME TO THE WAC
California Baptist joins the Western Athletic Conference as a full-time member in 2018-19. The Lancers won the NCAA Division II Learfield Cup in 2017-18. They will begin their four year transition process to Division 1. This will make them ineligible to compete in post season tournaments (WAC and NCAA) until 2022-2023 season. The Lancers made it to the NCAA Division II West Regionals each of the last five years.
 
COMING SOON
Dixie State will join the Western Athletic Conference as a full-time member in 2020-21 in conjunction with CSU Bakersfield leaving the conference. The Blazers will begin their four-year transition process to Division I in July 2020, making them ineligible to compete in post season tournaments (WAC and NCAA) until the 2024-25 season.
 
WAC TOURNAMENT RETURNS TO HOHOKAM STADIUM
For the fifth straight season, the WAC Baseball Tournament will head to Hohokam Stadium, preseason home of the Oakland Athletics. Renovated prior to spring training in 2015, improvements to Hohokam Stadium are immediately noticeable as the exterior and entrance gates has been painted and re-branded with the familiar Oakland Athletics green and gold color scheme.  Managed by hall of famer Mark Gallo, the stadium also features refurbished seating, a state-of-the art scoreboard and a new and expanded clubhouse.  The bleachers along the left field and right field foul lines have been replaced with party decks. The top six teams from the WAC's regular season standings will advance to the tournament.The WAC Baseball Tournament is no stranger to the state of Arizona and the City of Mesa. The league's championship has been played in Arizona 17 times (1963, 65, 67, 69, 71, 73, 75, 76, 78, 2010, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18) and the event was held in Mesa in 1971, 1973, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.  NM State won the 2018 tournament, earning the WAC's automatic qualification to the NCAA Tournament.