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Van Gansen and Bloomquist Earn Top Mustang Team Awards

Van Gansen and Bloomquist Earn Top Mustang Team Awards

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly junior shortstop Peter Van Gansen earned the Cal Poly baseball team's Ozzie Smith Most Valuable Player Award for 2015 while junior right-hander Casey Bloomquist captured the Mike Krukow Outstanding Pitcher Award for the second straight year.

Mustang 13th-year head baseball coach Larry Lee announced the team award winners Monday.

Van Gansen (5-9, 170, San Fernando, CA/Alemany HS), named 2015 Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year and an All-Big West first-team selection, committed just four errors in 240 fielding chances, the lowest number of errors for a shortstop in the Big West this season, while batting .314 with 10 doubles, three triples, a pair of three-run home runs and 28 RBI.

Named to the Brooks Wallace Award watch list as the nation's top Division I shortstop earlier this season, Van Gansen produced hitting streaks of eight and 11 games, hit .340 against right-handed pitchers, reached base 20 times in 46 opportunities as the leadoff hitter (43.5 percent) and played every inning of every game at shortstop this season.

Van Gansen scored a Big West-leading 43 runs this season.

Bloomquist (6-3, 185, Bakersfield, CA/Bakersfield Christian HS) won his final eight decisions as the Mustangs' Friday night starter after an 0-2 start, including a 6-0 mark in Big West games, and Cal Poly was 10-2 in his last 12 starts of the season. Bloomquist is 26-6 in three seasons with the Mustangs, No. 4 all-time on Cal Poly's career wins list, while his 2.79 career ERA ranks No. 9.

Bloomquist matched his career high with 10 strikeouts against UC Riverside on May 15 and went the distance with a four-hitter in an 8-1 win at Oregon State on March 27 en route to All-Big West second-team honors.

A year ago, Bloomquist, who shared the Mike Krukow Outstanding Pitcher Award with Matt Imhof, compiled a 12-2 record, one victory shy of the school mark for wins in a season, and sported a 1.56 ERA, a school Division I record, with 74 strikeouts in 98 innings. He notched his first complete game with a 3-0 shutout (three hits, eight strikeouts) against Cal State Fullerton and compiled a career-high 10 strikeouts against both Wagner and UC Santa Barbara.

Junior second baseman Mark Mathias (6-0, 205, Fremont, CA/Irvington HS) earned the team's Monty Waltz Big Stick Award for the second year in a row. Named Big West Field Player of the Year in 2014 and to his second straight All-Big West first team honor this spring, Mathias hit safely in 23 of his last 24 games (a 19-game hitting streak was snapped by UC Riverside on May 16).

In his last 29 games of the 2015 season, Mathias hit .400 (48 of 120) to lift his average 54 points to .356 with seven doubles, three triples, one home run and 28 RBI. He led the Mustangs with nine steals in 13 attempts and was Cal Poly's batting champion for the second straight year, hitting .386 as a sophomore with 14 doubles, one triple and a pair of home runs, knocking in 37 runs.

Mathias, also presented with the Jason Maas Captain's Award this year, stole 12 bases in 16 attempts in 2014, produced 17- and 14-game hitting streaks, hit safely in 44 of his last 48 games and led the team with 24 multiple-hit contests. Mathias went 77-for-185 (.416) during his last 48 games and struck out just 18 times in 250 plate appearances in 2014.

Van Gansen earned the John Orton Gold Glove Award for the third straight year while senior right-hander Danny Zandona earned the Jim Newkirk Fireman's Award as he compiled seven saves with 63 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings.

Other award winners include senior left fielder Zack Zehner, who collected the Dave Oliver Hustle Award for the second straight year; senior third baseman Tommy Pluschkell, the Robin Baggett Scholar-Athlete Award winner for the fourth time in as many seasons; sophomore catcher Brett Barbier (Dick Morrow Coaches Award) and freshman southpaw Kyle Smith (Scott Kidd Rookie Award).

Zehner (6-4, 215, San Diego, CA/Torrey Pines HS/Santa Barbara CC) was Cal Poly's No. 1 player in home runs with nine and RBI with 43. He hit .304 for the season after hitting safely in 15 of 16 games late in the year, including a 12-game hitting streak. A first-team All-Big West selection, Zehner went 25-for-65 (.385) during the run to lift his average 48 points.

Pluschkell (6-3, 220, Pleasanton, CA/Amador Valley HS). Cal Poly's Big West Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2013 and Cal Poly's Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2014, landed a spot on the CoSIDA Capital One District 8 All-Academic Team earlier this spring. The general engineering major hit .283 with three doubles, a triple, one home run and drove in 13 runs this season en route to All-Big West honorable mention praise.

Barbier (5-11, 190, Danville, CA/San Ramon Valley HS) hit .253 with nine doubles, four triples and three home runs and produced several key hits for the Mustangs, knocking in 34 runs for the season, including 28 in his last 22 games. Smith (5-10, 165, Torrance, CA/Torrance HS) posted a 5-7 record and 3.95 ERA as Cal Poly's Saturday starter, striking out 60 batters in 84 1/3 innings.

Cal Poly finished the 2015 season 27-27 overall, overcoming a 1-6 start by winning 17 of its last 26 games and hitting .303 over its last 23 contests. The Mustangs claimed fourth place in the Big West at 14-10, finishing in the upper half of the standings for the 12th time in the last 14 seasons.

Cal Poly has posted 13 non-losing seasons since 2000, won 13 of its last 15 home games this year and claimed six of 14 weekend series (two sweeps) in addition to splitting four games with Sacramento State.

Photos of Peter Van Gansen and Casey Boomquist courtesy of Ray Ambler | RA Photos