Courtesy Gonzaga athletics
SAN BRUNO, Calif. – Gonzaga University claimed three of the five major West Coast Conference end of the year awards the league announced Wednesday as head coach Mark Machtolf was named Coach of the Year, junior Marco Gonzales the Co-Player of the Year with University of San Diego's Kris Bryant and senior Tyler Olson the Pitcher of the Year in a vote of the conference head coaches.
Along with Gonzales and Olson, sophomore Cory LeBrun was named to the All-WCC team. Recognized with All-WCC honorable mention honors was senior Alex Bonczyk, junior Arturo Reyes and freshman Caleb Wood. Honored for his rookie campaign, Wood was also named to the All-WCC freshman team as well.
Gonzales is the first Bulldog in program history to be named Player of the Year twice. As a freshman in 2011 Gonzales and Bryant shared the honor. This season in WCC contests the two-way player shined on the mound and at the plate. Gonzales, with a 7-2 record with a 2.55 ERA in 99 innings, led the WCC in strikeouts (99), tied for the most shutouts (2), and was second in innings pitched. At the dish he hit a team-best .313 with two homeruns and 26 RBI.
The Fort Collins, Colo., native has cleaned up in WCC awards during his three seasons with GU. He was named Co-Player of the Year in 2011, Co-Freshman of the Year in 2011, Pitcher of the Year in 2012 and an All-WCC member each season. The lefty is also on the Golden Spikes Award Mid-Season Watch List and one of 12 players remaining on the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award list.
In his 10th season at the helm of the Bulldogs, Machtolf led the program to the WCC regular-season championship. The Bulldogs stormed through WCC play with an 18-6 record while dropping only one WCC series and under Machtolf the club reached a national ranking as high as No. 21. This is the second Coach of the Year accolade for Machtolf, he was given the award in 2009 with the first Gonzaga WCC Championship.
Deciding to return for a fifth-season with the Bulldogs for Olson proved to be great boost for Zags. Olson, who was also named WCC Pitcher of the Month for April, finished the year with team-bests in ERA (2.09), record (9-3 overall) and shutouts (1). Olson had a 19-inning scoreless streak spanning four starts in April.
Olson finished in the top five of all WCC pitchers in wins, innings pitched, strikeouts and complete games. The Spokane, Wash., native is the fifth Zag to earn the Pitcher of the Year award.
Since LeBrun transferred to Gonzaga, his bat has been a fixture in the everyday lineup. In 47 starts, LeBrun had the second-best batting average on the team (.307) but has led the team in doubles (11) and RBI (31). The Phoenix, Ariz., native went 8-for-10 on stolen bases and was a valuable offensive asset all season.
After earning his spot in the starting lineup, Wood excelled in his inaugural season with GU. With his .291 batting average, team-best three homeruns and 26 RBI, the Surprise, Ariz., native was a perfect 11-for-11 on stealing bases. Wood split time at second base and in the outfield to make the most of his 35 starts.
The speedster Bonczyk gave the club dynamic plays all season. While hitting .288 with a homerun and 12 RBI, the Las Vegas, Nev., stole 12 bases. In WCC games, Bonczyk hit .323 (21-for-65) for four extra base hits.
Another transfer, Reyes filled an important role for the Gonzaga pitching staff. Used as a starter, reliever and closer, the right-handed thrower went 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA. Reyes recorded one complete game in his four starts and notched a team-best three saves. He made 19 appearances and hurled 58.1 innings.
Jaconb Hannemann from BYU was named the Freshman of the Year and Colton Plaia was Defensive Player of the Year.