Joey Ortiz Named WAC Player Of The Year

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

DENVER, CO - The Western Athletic Conference announced its All-WAC baseball honors, as selected by the league’s head coaches, on Tuesday. Along with leading the conference with six First-Team All-WAC selections, the New Mexico State baseball team also saw shortstop Joey Ortiz named WAC Player of the Year.

Ortiz earned player of the year accolades and a first-team selection after hitting .426 in league play and leading the WAC with 55 hits, 16 doubles, four triples and 94 total bases. In addition, the junior’s season-long total of hits (102), runs (82) and triples (10) lead the nation while his batting average (.430) and runs batted in (82) ranked third across the NCAA. As he has shown all career, the Garden Grove, Calif. native shines in the field and this year was no different as he posted a .975 fielding percentage with 175 assists, 58 putouts and 31 double plays turned.

Joining Ortiz on the First-Team All-WAC was first baseman Tristan Peterson, second baseman Nick Gonzales, third baseman Eric Mingus, outfielder Tristen Carranza and starting pitcher Chance Hroch. The Aggies six first-team honorees led the WAC by a large margin with the next highest total being two players recorded by three different teams.

After transferring to NM State, Peterson began his first season and made his name known quickly with his power at the plate and great play in the field. In league play, the slugger ranks first in slugging percentage (.838), on-base percentage (.529), runs scored (40), runs batted in (53) and home runs (13). The first baseman also led the WAC in putouts (234) and was fourth in double plays (18).

At second base, Gonzales continued to shine following a rookie season that saw him named WAC Freshman of the Year. The sophomore excelled at the dish, ranking in the top-10 in 10 different categories throughout conference action. Among the impressive totals, he also ranked in the top-5 in four of those categories that include second in walks (24) and sacrifice flies (4), third in hit by pitch (8) and fifth in runs scored (32).

Carranza closed out his senior campaign with his third WAC postseason honor, following a second-team selection in 2017 and being named the WAC Tournament MVP in 2018. The left fielder ranked among the top-5 in nine different categories during WAC play that include first in hit by pitch (12), second in sacrifice flies (4) and on-base percentage (.529), third in walks (21), triples (3) and runs scored (33), fourth in runs batted in (35) ad fifth in batting average (.396) and hits (40).

Mingus and Hroch earned their first-ever postseason honors as each earned the First-Team All-WAC at-large selections. A breakout senior season saw Mingus start in 51 games and post a .339 batting average with 50 RBI and 16 extra-base hits. On the mound, Hroch was perfect finishing the season at 10-0 and compiling a 2.51 earned run average with two complete game shutouts.

The New Mexico State baseball team now enters the Western Athletic Conference Tournament as the number-one seed giving the team a first-round bye. This sets the first matchup for the 2019 WAC Regular Season Co-Champions on Thursday, May 23, at 8 p.m. MT versus the lowest seed available in Mesa, Ariz. at Hohokam Stadium.