SDSU earns Pitcher of the Year honors for the second consecutive year
Photo: Granite Hills alum Jordan Verdon courtesy goaztecs.com
May 24, 2018 (San Diego) - Six players from the San Diego State baseball team earned All-Mountain West honors, the league announced Thursday afternoon. Junior right-handed pitcher Garrett Hill was named Mountain West Co-Pitcher of the Year and was joined on the first team with senior outfielder Chase Calabuig and junior infielder, Granite Hills product and El Cajon native Jordan Verdon. SDSU's three second-team selections included junior designated hitter Chad Bible, sophomore outfielder Julian Escobedo, and senior left-handed pitcher Jacob Erickson.
Hill gave SDSU its second consecutive Mountain West Pitcher of the Year honor, with Brett Seeburger earning the honor last season. It's the first time since 2008-09 that SDSU has won two consecutive Pitcher of the Year awards, when Stephen Strasburg won the honor in back-to-back seasons.
Hill's 3.51 earned run average is fifth best in the Mountain West this season and owns a 7-2 overall record this year, leading the way to a 10-3 SDSU record during his starts this season. Hill has particularly thrived in the later stages of games, owning a 2.02 ERA in the fifth inning and later of games. He earned Mountain West Pitcher of the Week honors after his start against Air Force on March 11, where he held the Falcons to one hit over 6.2 innings of work while striking out eight.
The start of Hill's 2018 campaign ranked as one of the best in the nation, as at the end of March, he was the only pitcher in the country to have six wins, no losses, and an ERA under 1.30. The Petaluma, Calif. native became the first player in Aztec history to earn five wins in a single calendar month (March) and became the first Aztec since Addison Reed in 2010 to earn a win in five consecutive starts. Hill earns the award a year after being named Big 8 Co-Pitcher of the Year at Santa Rosa Junior College in 2017.
All six of SDSU's All-MW selections were first-time honors for each student-athlete.
Calabuig caps his four-year career with a first-team selection and earned Google Cloud CoSIDA Academic All-District Team honors earlier this month. Calabuig has provided a sense of stability to the SDSU lineup, having reached base in 51 of 55 games this season and reached base in 51 consecutive home games, good for the longest streak in Tony Gwynn Stadium history.
Calabuig leads the Mountain West with 50 hits in conference play and is third in the league with a .397 conference batting average. The Mission Viejo, Calif. native leads the Mountain West with three triples and is fifth in the league with 72 total bases.
Verdon has been SDSU's primary power threat for the 2018 season, leading the team with 12 home runs and 26 doubles. Verdon's 37 extra-base hits are the most by an Aztec since Chris Gwynn's 59 in 1984 and his 26 doubles rank third nationally and are the fourth highest single-season total in school history.
The Granite Hills HS product is one of just 10 players in the nation to have won multiple Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week awards, having done so on both March 19th and May 7th.
A season after being diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma, Bible's comeback season resulted in All-MW second team honors. Bible was one of just two players to win Mountain West Player of the Week honors multiple times this season, joined by his teammate Verdon.
Bible's .333 batting average is 10th best in the Mountain West, while his .549 slugging percentage is also 10th best in the league. The Valencia, Calif. native has been one of the conference's most potent power threats, owning nine home runs -- the sixth highest total in the Mountain West.
One of just two sophomores to earn All-MW honors, Escobedo has been one of SDSU's best all-around players this season, owning the 10th best on-base percentage in the Mountain West at .422. Escobedo has patrolled centerfield for the majority of the 2018 season, and among players in the MW, Escobedo's 144 fielding chances are the most among players with no errors. Escobedo currently rides an on-base streak of 19 games and a Mountain West on-base streak of 26 games.
In his final season at SDSU, Erickson has been a staple of the SDSU pitching staff, having made significant starts and relief appearances this season. Erickson set both the Mountain West and San Diego State pitching appearance records this season and ranks first among all active college baseball players in Division I, II, or III with 117 pitching appearances.
Erickson's 2.37 Mountain West ERA is the second-best in the league among qualified pitchers. Erickson also owns the Mountain West's best walks and hits per innings pitched (WHIP) at 1.19, strikeout-to-walk ratio at 6.63, and walks allowed per nine innings (1.17). Erickson's walks allowed per nine innings is 14th best in the nation while his strikeout-to-walk ratio is 21st best in the country.
The San Diego State baseball team begins Mountain West play tonight at 6:00 p.m. against San Jose State.
2018 ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST BASEBALL FIRST TEAM
Nic Ready, Jr., 1B, Air Force
Edgar Gonzalez, Jr., RHP, Fresno State
Grant Fennell, Sr., UTL, Nevada
Kaleb Foster, Jr., C, Nevada
Mark Nowaczewski, Sr., RHP, Nevada
Joshua Zamora, Fr., 3B, Nevada
Chase Calabuig, Sr., OF, San Diego State
Garrett Hill, Jr., RHP, San Diego State
Jordan Verdon, Jr., 1B, San Diego State
Brett Bautista, Sr., LF, San José State
Andrew Mitchel, Jr., LHP, San José State
Kyle Isbel, Jr., CF, UNLV
Bryson Stott, So., SS, UNLV
2018 ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST BASEBALL SECOND TEAM
Rob Dau, Jr., C, Air Force
Zach Ashford, Jr., CF, Fresno State
Korby Batesole, Sr., SS, Fresno State
Mike Echavia, Sr., OF, Nevada
Jake Jackson, Fr., RHP, Nevada
Chad Bible, Jr., DH, San Diego State
Jacob Erickson, Fr., LHP, San Diego State
Julian Escobedo, So., OF, San Diego State
Fineas Del Bonta-Smith, Jr., RHP, San José State
Shane Timmons, Sr., 1B, San José State
Nick Ames, Jr., 1B, UNLV
Bryan Menendez, Sr., RHP, UNLV
Nick Rodriguez, Sr., 2B, UNLV
Alan Strong, Sr., RHP, UNLV
Tony Gwynn Player of the Year: Grant Fennell, Sr., UTL, Nevada
Co-Pitcher of the Year: Garrett Hill, Jr., RHP, San Diego State
Co-Pitcher of the Year: Andrew Mitchel, Jr., LHP, San José State
Freshman of the Year: Joshua Zamora, 3B
Coach of the Year: T.J. Bruce, Nevada