Cal Poly

Six Cal Poly baseball players earn Big West Conference postseason recognition

Cal Poly’s Brett Barbier was chosen as a first-team all-Big West Conference utility player Wednesday.
Cal Poly’s Brett Barbier was chosen as a first-team all-Big West Conference utility player Wednesday. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Six Cal Poly baseball players received postseason recognition from the Big West Conference on Wednesday morning.

Fourth-year junior Brett Barbier was chosen as a first-team all-conference utility player, having spent time at catcher, first base, left field and centerfield throughout the 57-game season.

Standout catcher Nick Meyer earned Big West Freshman Field Player of the Year honors and was also named a second-team all-conference performer. Junior right-handed pitcher Justin Calomeni and junior third baseman Michael Sanderson joined Meyer on the second team.

Freshman second baseman Kyle Marinconz and senior right fielder John Schuknecht received honorable mention accolades.

Barbier was among the most consistent players in the Big West this spring and owned the third-highest batting average in the conference at .352. The Danville native led the conference in on-base percentage (.492) and was second in walks (41), hit-by-pitches (17) and plate appearances (262).

Barbier reached base safely in 56 of Cal Poly’s 57 games, and had hitting streaks of 16, 12 and 11 games to his credit.

Meyer took over for Barbier behind the plate early in 2016 and never looked back.

He became the third Mustang to earned Big West freshman of the year honors, following in the footsteps of former Cal Poly standouts Matt Jensen (2009) and Mitch Haniger (2010).

Meyer hit .301 for the year and increased his average to .337 against Big West opponents. He led the conference by picking off 10 base runners and threw out 22 more would-be base stealers, the second-highest total in the Big West.

Sanderson, who transferred to Cal Poly from Feather River College, started all 57 games at third base and hit .296 with 33 RBI. He was projected to be the second-string first baseman before the season began, but Sanderson proved to be a durable option at third in an ever-rotating infield.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Calomeni seemed to get stronger as the year progressed.

His eight saves ranked third in the Big West, and he finished the year with a 2.95 ERA. Calomeni’s only start came May 15 against UC Irvine, and he struck out a career-high 11 batters in a rout of the visiting Anteaters.

Like Sanderson and Barbier, Marinconz started all 57 games — 30 at shortstop and 27 at second base. He hit .284 with 64 hits and tied for the team lead with 15 doubles. Marinconz’s 21 multi-hit games were the most by a Mustang this season.

Schuknecht, who was named the Big West Player of the Week three times this spring, rounded out Cal Poly’s all-conference selections.

The senior from Palm Desert led the Big West with 49 runs driven in and tied for the team lead with 15 doubles, two triples and six home runs. He made 51 of his 54 starts in right field and was at his best during the Mustangs’ home sweep of UC Santa Barbara.

Schuknecht tallied multiple hits in all three games against the Gauchos, finishing the series 6 for 12 with five RBI and four runs.

Conference champion Cal State Fullerton and runner-up Long Beach State collected most of the top individual honors.

Cal State Fullerton senior outfielder Dalton Blaser was named the Big West Field Player of the Year, and Colton Eastman earned Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year honors.

For the second-straight year and fourth time overall, Rick Vanderhook garnered Big West Coach of the Year honors after leading the Titans to their 21st conference championship.

Long Beach State sophomore Darren McCaughan was picked as the Big West Pitcher of the Year, and junior shortstop Garrett Hampson took Big West Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Big West Conference Honors

  • Field Player of the Year: Dalton Blaser, Cal State Fullerton
  • Pitcher of the Year: Darren McCaughan, Long Beach State
  • Defensive Player of the Year: Garrett Hampson, Long Beach State
  • Freshman Field Player of the Year: Nick Meyer, Cal Poly
  • Freshman Pitcher of the Year: Colton Eastman, Cal State Fullerton
  • Coach of the Year: Rick Vanderhook, Cal State Fullerton
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