LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) - The Western Athletic Conference announced its All-WAC baseball teams and major awards as selected by the league’s nine head coaches on Tuesday night. New Mexico State saw Jonathan Groff earn Pitcher of the Year and Nick Gonzales earn Freshman of the Year as the team also tied for the lead in All-WAC honorees with seven and led the conference with six first-team nods.
Joining Groff and Gonzales on the All-WAC First-Team are catcher Mason Fishback, first baseman Caleb Henderson, shortstop Joey Ortiz and starting pitcher Kyle Bradish. Centerfielder Marcus Still also earned a second-team honor.
Groff, a left-hander from Castroville, Texas, went 5-1 in WAC play, posting a 2.26 earned run average in eight appearances. Over 51.2 innings pitched, he allowed opponents to hit just .234 against him and struck out 42 batters while allowing 46 hits. The seniors 10 wins overall led the WAC this season and tied him with five other Aggies for the most single-season wins in program history. This marks the first WAC Pitcher of the Year honor in NM State history.
Gonzales separated himself from the pack as he hit .373 in his first season in the WAC, driving in 24 runs batted in on 31 hits with seven doubles, two triples and six home runs. His .723 slugging percentage in WAC play was second best in the conference and his four sacrifice flies led the WAC. Gonzales becomes the first rookie to win WAC Freshman of the Year in program history.
During his senior season, Fishback earned the first-team honor after hitting .250 over 20 games with three home runs and 18 runs scored. The catcher also added a .397 slugging and .386 on-base percentage in 68 at-bats.
In his first season on the field for the Aggies, Caleb Henderson had a standout junior campaign winning the Triple Crown in WAC games as he led the league in batting average (.419), home runs (8) and runs batted in (38). The first baseman also led the conference with a .796 slugging percentage.
Ortiz had a stellar sophomore campaign both on the field and at the plate. The shortstop had a .971 fielding percentage with 69 assists and 33 putouts. At the dish, Ortiz batted .272 with seven extra-base hits, including three home runs. The Garden Grove, Calif. native also had a WAC single-game high with seven RBI against Utah Valley on May 6.
Ace Kyle Bradish rounded out the Aggies first-team honorees after a strong junior season that saw the right-hander go 5-2 in WAC play with 55 strikeouts and he held opposing batters to a .233 batting average. Bradish also set an NM State single-season strikeouts record with 116, topping the previous high of 107 set back in 1991.
Outfielder Marcus Still was named to the All-WAC Second-Team following his final collegiate season where he hit .342 with 12 RBI and 16 runs scored. Still posted a .412 on-base percentage in WAC games and was the only Aggie starter with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
The third-seeded New Mexico State baseball team is in Mesa, Ariz., this week for the WAC tournament and is scheduled to face the sixth-seeded Runners of CSU Bakersfield at Hohokam Stadium this Wednesday, May 23, at 8 p.m. (MDT)/7 p.m. (MST) local. All games can be seen on the WAC Digital Network or on the radio with Adam Young on the call via 91.5 FM KRUX.