Mathias, Hoo, Lee earn top Big West Conference baseball honors

Six Mustangs from conference champs named to the first team, and four more are voted onto the second team

sports@thetribunenews.comMay 27, 2014 

Big West Conference baseball champion Cal Poly was well-represented Tuesday on the all-conference lists, and had Mark Mathias, Chris Hoo and Larry Lee win three of the top individual awards.

Mathias, who led the Big West in hitting, is the Field Player of the Year, Hoo is the Defensive Player of the Year and Lee is the Coach of the Year for the first time in his 12 seasons leading the Mustangs.

Cal Poly players joining Mathias and Hoo on the first team are starting pitcher Matt Imhof, relief pitchers Taylor Chris and Reid Reilly and outfielder Nick Torres.

No. 5 Cal Poly, which will host an NCAA Tournament regional for the first time beginning Friday, won its first Big West title this season with a 19-5 record and is 45-10 overall, already breaking the single-season Division I school record for wins by four.

Mathias, a sophomore second baseman, joins Kyle Blumenthal (2005), Grant Desme (2007) and Mitch Haniger (2012) as Cal Poly’s Field Players of the Year. Mathias, who had 17- and 14-game hitting streaks earlier this year, leads the Big West with a .378 average. He also has 13 doubles, one triple, two home runs, 36 RBI and 11 steals in 14 attempts.

Hoo, a senior catcher, is on the Big West first team for the second time in three seasons. Hoo leads the Big West by throwing out 21 runners trying to steal. He’s also picked off seven base runners, has allowed only one passed ball and committed one error in 493 fielding attempts. The Mustangs are also on a Division I school-record pace for fewest wild pitches in a season. Offensively, Hoo is hitting .320 with 13 doubles, two triples, one homer and 37 RBI. He also only has 19 strikeouts in 212 plate appearances.

Lee has led Cal Poly to its third Division I NCAA regional appearance in school history this season, and all three of those appearances have been in the past six seasons. He is 394-282-2 in 12 seasons and is the Mustangs’ all-time winningest coach.

Reilly is a first team selection for the third straight season, Torres is a two-time first-team pick and Imhof and Chris are on the first team for the first time, as is Mathias.

Reilly, a junior, has 10 saves this year and a career school record of 25. He is 3-1 this year with a 1.67 ERA, 52 strikeouts in 43 innings and is allowing opponents a .147 batting average.

Chris, a junior left-handed set-up man, has four wins, five saves and a 0.91 ERA. In Big West games, his ERA was 0.33.

Imhof, the junior ace of the starting rotation, is 9-4 with a 2.55 ERA. He has 120 strikeouts, ranking third nationally, in 91 2⁄3 innings. He has had multiple double-digit strikeout games this year, including a school-record 15 at Seattle in March.

Torres, a senior, is hitting .323 with a team-high 16 doubles, a team-high 47 RBI and five homers. He’s had 21 multiple-hit games and 13 multiple-RBI games.

Representing Cal Poly on the second team are senior third baseman Jimmy Allen, sophomore shortstop Peter Van Gansen, sophomore designated hitter Brian Mundell and sophomore starting pitcher Casey Bloomquist. Junior outfielder Zack Zehner was an honorable mention selection.

UC Irvine’s Andrew Morales is the Pitcher of the Year, Cal State Fullerton’s Phil Bickford is the Freshman Pitcher of the Year and Long Beach State’s Garrett Hampson is the Freshman Field Player of the Year.

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