Plaia Named Defensive Player of the Year, Seven Lions Named All-WCC
Senior Colton Plaia was named 2013 WCC Defensive Player of the Year.
May 22, 2013
Senior Colton Plaia highlighted a list of seven Lion baseball players named to the West Coast Conference All-Conference teams on Wednesday, taking home a first team selection and the 2013 WCC Defensive Player of the Year award. For Plaia, the first team selection is his second in as many years, while the Defensive Player of the Year award is the first earned by an LMU player. Based on conference play, the awards are voted on by the league's nine head coaches.
In addition to Defensive Player of the Year, the WCC also handed out a number of other yearly awards. San Diego junior third baseman Kris Bryant and Gonzaga junior left-handed pitcher/first baseman Marco Gonzales were named the 2013 West Coast Conference Co-Players of the Year. Gonzales' teammate Tyler Olson was named the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year, and Bulldogs head coach Mark Machtolf was voted WCC Coach of the Year by his peers. BYU outfielder Jacob Hannemann garnered WCC Freshman of the Year accolades.
In addition to Plaia, LMU also garnered two other first team selections, as senior right-hander Aaron Griffin and sophomore righty Colin Welmon also found a spot on the first team. Griffin had earned honorable mention honors in 2011, while Welmon took home an All-Freshman team selection last year.
Four other Lions earned a spot on the honorable mention team this season, including sophomore David Edwards, junior Patrick McGrath, and seniors Zac Fujimoto and Cullen Mahoney. Fujimoto earned an honorable mention selection last year, while this season's accolade is the first for Edwards, McGrath and Mahoney.
Plaia led all Lion hitters with a .311 average, 24 runs scored, 16 doubles and three homers to the tune of 25 RBI. All three of his homers came in WCC play. He threw out 26 of 62 potential base stealers on the year (42%), including 9 of 21 in WCC play (43%). Plaia did not commit an error in WCC play.
Griffin turned in a stellar year on the hill for LMU, finishing 4-5 with a 3.07 ERA and a team-high 72 strikeouts over 13 starts and 88 innings of work, including one complete game. The right-hander was the only LMU starter to start a game every weekend this year, surrendering three-or-fewer earned runs in all but one start on the season. The native of El Cajon, Calif. managed a 3-2 record and a 3.18 ERA over eight starts and 56.2 innings against WCC foes.
Welmon served as LMU's Friday starter for the majority of the 2013 season, pitching to a 5-4 record and a team-best 2.30 ERA with 64 strikeouts over 12 starts and 78.1 innings of work. The right-hander held opponents to a .223 average against while posting one complete game and having his hand in a pair of shutouts. Welmon went 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA over seven starts against WCC teams.
Edwards hit .284 playing as LMU's shortstop in WCC play, collecting 12 runs scored, four doubles, a triple and a homer to the tune of a team-high 14 RBI. He was 10-for-11 in stolen bases in WCC play, and finished 16-for-21 for the year.
McGrath emerged as one of the most consistent starters for the Lions after beginning the year as the midweek starter and eventually earning a spot in the weekend rotation. The right-hander posted a 5-2 record with a 2.43 ERA over 12 starts and 14 appearances. He limited opponents to a .234 average against while posting 55 strikeouts and a complete game. In WCC play, McGrath went 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA in four starts, holding opponents to a .193 average and notching 29 strikeouts.
Fujimoto batted .275 in conference play, notching eight runs scored, five doubles and five RBI. He was a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen bases, helping him to an unblemished 14-for-14 mark overall in 2013.
Mahoney proved to be one of the more consistent hitters throughout the year, batting .291 with 29 runs scored, 11 doubles, four triples and 20 RBI. The native of Phoenix, Ariz. batted a team-best .313 in conference play, collecting 30 hits, 14 runs scored, six doubles, a triple and 12 RBI. He led the Lions with 18 multiple hit games in 2013.
San Diego junior Kris Bryant has put together a season to remember, hitting .326 with 13 home runs and 28 runs driven in during conference play. He earned WCC Co-Player of the Year honors after compiling an .876 slugging percentage against WCC opponents, while reaching base in 50% of his conference plate appearances. Overall in 2013, Bryant leads the nation with 30 home runs, 57 walks, and 72 runs scored through May 19.
Gonzaga junior Marco Gonzales earned Co-Player of the Year recognition after establishing himself as one of the finest two-way players in the nation. Gonzales started eight games on the mound during West Coast Conference play, posting a 3-1 record and a 3.35 earned run average. At the plate, the Zags' first baseman hit .325, driving in nine runs and scoring eight against WCC opponents. Gonzales and Bryant were Co-Players and Co-Freshmen of the Year in 2011, and Gonzales was the WCC's Pitcher of the Year last season.
Gonzaga senior Tyler Olson was selected West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2013 after putting together a sensational campaign on the mound. In eight conference starts, Olson posted a 7-1 record with a 2.35 earned run average and three complete games. Olson allowed just 50 hits and 15 earned runs over 57.1 innings, striking out 50 and walking just 14. Olson is the fourth Bulldog to earn WCC Pitcher of the Year honors in the last five years, joining Marco Gonzales last year, Ryan Carpenter in 2011 and Matt Fields in 2009.
BYU outfielder Jacob Hannemann is the 2013 West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year. Hannemann led all WCC freshmen with a .380 batting average during WCC play, ripping 15 extra-base hits and scoring 26 runs. Hannemann slugged .630, posted a .426 on-base percentage, and stole seven bases in eight attempts against WCC opponents. Hannemann is the first Cougar to earn Freshman of the Year accolades from the WCC head coaches.
After leading his team to its first West Coast Conference title since 2009, Gonzaga head coach Mark Machtolf has been named the 2013 WCC Coach of the Year by his peers. It is the second such honor for Machtolf - who also won in 2009 - and the third all-time for the Gonzaga program (Steve Hertz, 2001). After being picked to finish third in the coaches' pre-season poll, the 2013 Bulldogs posted an 18-6 West Coast Conference record en route to capturing the conference title and earning the top seed at the WCC championship, held later this week.
2013 ALL-WEST COAST CONFERENCE TEAM
Honorable Mention: Ricky Boas, Saint Mary's; Alex Bonczyk, Gonzaga; Aaron Brown, Pepperdine; Adam Cimber, San Francisco; David Edwards, Loyola Marymount; Scott Frazier, Pepperdine; Zac Fujimoto, Loyola Marymount; Austin Green, San Diego; Ben Grubb, Portland; Drew Hacker, Pepperdine; Cody Lenahan, Portland; Ranny Lowe, Pepperdine; Justin Maffei, San Francisco; Jason Mahood, San Francisco; Cullen Mahoney, Loyola Marymount; Patrick McGrath, Loyola Marymount; Markus Melgosa, Saint Mary's; Sam Meyer, Pepperdine; Matt Milke, BYU; Corey Miller, Pepperdine; Hayden Nielsen, BYU; Desmond Poulson, BYU; Arturo Reyes, Gonzaga; Michael Swanner, Pepperdine; Caleb Wood, Gonzaga
2013 WEST COAST CONFERENCE ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
Co-Players of the Year:
Pitcher of the Year:
Defensive Player of the Year:
Freshman of the Year:
Coach of the Year: