LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – The best baseball player in the country is a New Mexico State Aggie.
Infielder Nick Gonzales was named the 2020 National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper on Tuesday. He is the first student-athlete in program history to earn the accolade from the national publication, which has handed out the honor annually since 1984.
Gonzales also scooped up First Team All-America recognition in the process, landing on CB Newpaper’s 17-man squad. It’s the third straight year he has received praise from the publication, which also named him a 2019 First Team All-American after crowning him as a Freshman All-American in 2018.
A unanimous Preseason All-American entering 2020, the native of Vail, Ariz., was on pace for one of the greatest offensive seasons in collegiate baseball history before the campaign was suspended due to coronavirus.
The Western Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year hit .448 through 16 games, ranking first nationally in home runs (12), runs (28), runs batted in (36) and total bases (67). He was named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) National Player of the Month for February.
Gonzales, who owned a nation-best on-base streak of 82 consecutive games when the season was suspended, put up eye-popping numbers during the abbreviated campaign. He hit for the cycle, including two home runs, against Iona on Feb. 23 before smashing five home runs in a single day against Purdue Fort Wayne on Feb. 29, knocking out two dingers in game one of the doubleheader before swatting three more, including an inside-the-park grand slam, in the nightcap.
He has also been recognized for his achievements off the field this year. Gonzales was named to the 2020 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District Team earlier in May.
Gonzales, who was a 2019 Academic All-WAC honoree and is majoring in individualized studies, maintained a 3.33 GPA in the classroom while he was turning heads with his play on the field this past year.