Jun 04, 2018
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- For the second straight year, Cal Poly junior center fielder Alex McKenna earned the Cal Poly baseball team's Ozzie Smith Most Valuable Player Award.
Senior southpaw Trent Shelton captured the team's Mike Krukow Outstanding Pitcher Award.
Mustang 16th-year head baseball coach Larry Lee announced the team award winners Monday.
Named to Collegiate Baseball's NCAA Division I All-American third team last Thursday, McKenna is the fifth Mustang to earn Big West Conference Field Player of the Year honors. He is the 11th Cal Poly player in Division I to claim All-American accolades and the 25th overall.
A two-time All-Big West first team selection, McKenna hit .339 this season and led the Mustangs with 81 hits, 51 runs scored and 15 doubles.
McKenna (6-2, 200, Canyon Country, Calif./Alemany HS) produced 23 multiple-hit games, including his third, fourth and fifth four-hit games of his Mustang career. He had a 12-game hitting streak near the end of the season and also compiled 17- and 20-game reached base streaks.
In Big West games only, McKenna was No. 1 in the conference with a .406 average and led the league overall in runs scored (51), hits (81), plate appearances (276) and at-bats (239) and was second in total bases (121), third in triples (5) and fifth in doubles (15) and average (.339).
McKenna committed just one error in 155 fielding chances this spring.
Shelton (6-4, 205, Lafayette, Calif./Campolindo HS/Oregon State) posted a 5-1 win-loss record in Big West games and 6-3 overall with a 3.33 ERA. He was sixth in the conference in wins and strikeouts (68) and eighth in ERA en route to second-team All-Big West honors.
McKenna also earned the team's Monty Waltz Big Stick award for the second consecutive year.
Junior catcher Nick Meyer, the 2016 Big West Conference Freshman Field Player of the Year, a second-team All-Big West selection in both 2016 and 2017 and the conference's Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Big West honoree earlier this week, earned the John Orton Gold Glove award for the third year in a row.
Meyer (6-0, 195, Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic HS) has thrown out 49 runners trying to steal and has picked off 16 other base runners in his three-year Mustang career. He is No. 3 in the conference and 49th in the nation in toughest to strike out (once every 11.3 at-bats) and, in three Mustang seasons, has struck out just 49 times in 600 at-bats (once every 12.2 at-bats).
Meyer's .344 batting average is No. 3 in the Big West, .001 behind the co-leaders, while his 43 runs scored is No. 2 and his 74 hits No. 4. Over his last 27 games this season, Meyer went 47-for-116 (.405) to lift his average 70 points. He earned Cal Poly's lone Big West Player of the Week accolade following an explosive week as he hit .529 (9-for-17) with five runs scored and three RBI while slugging .706 over the four games against Pepperdine and UC Santa Barbara.
Freshman infielder Tate Samuelson was named winner of the Scott Kidd Rookie of the Year award while senior designated hitter/first baseman Elijah Skipps captured the Jason Maas Captain's Award.
Samuelson (6-2, 195, San Diego, Calif./Serra HS) led the Mustangs and was sixth in the Big West with his 38 RBI and finished with a .280 average with 10 doubles and five home runs, sharing the team lead with McKenna. The team leader in multiple-RBI games with 11, Samuelson started 41 games at first base and 14 at third.
After missing the first half of the season due to an elbow injury, Skipps (6-3, 225, Cypress, Calif./Cypress HS/Arizona/Cypress College) hit .305 with 10 doubles, four home runs and 22 RBI in 27 games. A .355 hitter in Big West games only, Skipps started 17 games as designated hitter and eight at first base.
Other award winners include sophomore infielder Dylan Doherty, who collected the Dave Oliver Hustle Award; fourth-year junior right-hander Austin Dondanville (Robin Baggett Scholar-Athlete Award) for the third year in a row, senior outfielder Josh George (Dick Morrow Coaches Award) and freshman right-hander Taylor Dollard (Jim Newkirk Fireman's Award).
Doherty (5-10, 170, Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill HS) drove in 19 runs with 24 hits, including four doubles and a triple, and led the team and was fifth in the Big West with his 10 sacrifice bunts. Dondanville (6-0, 190, Walnut Creek, Calif./De La Salle HS) earned four saves and a 2-1 win-loss record, two of the saves and one of the victories during the final series of the season at UC Riverside. He finished with a 3.05 ERA and, over his last six appearances on the mound covering 15 innings this season, allowed one unearned run and 14 hits with two walks and 12 strikeouts.
George (5-11, 190, Hollister, Calif./San Benito HS) hit .284 overall with 31 hits, including four doubles, and played in 47 games with 29 starts. Dollard (6-2, 175, Encino, Calif./Crespi HS) posted a 3-0 record and 2.43 ERA with three saves. He struck out 37 batters over 40 2/3 innings and held opposing hitters to a .236 average in his first season as a Mustang.
Cal Poly earned its second straight and fifth second-place Big West finish since joining the conference in 1997, posting a 15-9 mark. After losing three of their first four games of the season, the Mustangs battled to reach the .500 mark for the next 13 weeks, finally surpassing the standard by winning seven straight and 11 of their last 14 games to finish 30-27 overall.
Cal Poly has posted 13 winning seasons since 2000, won 19 of 30 home games this year, surpassed the 30-win mark for the ninth time in Lee's 16 seasons at the helm of the Mustangs and claimed six weekend series, including sweeps over Dartmouth, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside. The Mustangs have finished in the upper half of the conference standings 14 times in Lee's 16 seasons at the helm.