SAN DIEGO – After clinching a share of the Mountain West regular-season championship, the San Diego State baseball team collected seven conference honors on Thursday, highlighted by TJ Fondtain (Clovis, Calif.), who was named MW Pitcher of the Year, while Mark Martinez was tabbed MW Co-Coach of the Year.
The Mountain West postseason awards were voted by the league's seven head coaches and take into account MW games only. The announcement was made by the conference in advance of the MW Championship in Fresno, California.
Joining Fondtain on the list of first-team all-honorees were juniors Cole Carrigg (Turlock, Calif.), Poncho Ruiz (Tijuana, Mexico) and Kelena Sauer (Mililani, Hawaii), while sophomore Shaun Montoya (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) received second-team recognition.
With his award, Fondtain garnered the Aztecs' eighth MW Pitcher of the Year accolade since the league's inception in 2000 and second in a row after Troy Melton was a co-winner in 2022. San Diego State's other honorees were Aztec Hall of Famer and 2019 World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg (2008, 2009), Scott Shoemaker (2004), Bruce Billings (2005), Brett Seeburger (2017) and Garrett Hill (co-2018).
Against MW competition, Fondtain posted a stellar 7-1 record, leading league in victories, ERA (2.27), opposing batting average (.157) and innings pitched (67.1) while ranking second in strikeouts (73) and earned runs allowed (17).
Fondtain tossed the eighth no-hitter in program history vs. Nevada on April 23, posting a career-high 14 strikeouts while issuing just one walk to the leadoff batter in the ninth after tossing eight perfect innings. With his feat, the Clovis, California, native received multiple honors from national outlets, including Pitcher of the Week recognition from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and D1Baseball.com, along with his selection as Peak Performer of the Week from the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award.
Fondtain, who merited all-MW distinction for the second straight year after earning second-team plaudits in 2022, leads the conference for all games in ERA (2.80), opponent batting average (.193) and innings pitched (86.2) while occupying the second spot in strikeouts (93).
On the national level, Fondtain ranks 19th in hits allowed per nine innings (6.23) and 33rd in ERA (2.80) while tying for 47th in strikeouts (93).
Not to be outdone, Fondtain has also displayed his prowess at the plate, posting a .279 batting average with a team-high nine home runs. The Aztec junior also topped the squad with a .902 OPS and ranked second with 35 RBIs.
Martinez earned MW Coach of the Year honors for the first time in his career, becoming the second Aztec skipper to merit such distinction after the late Tony Gwynn earned the award in 2004.
Martinez marshalled SDSU's dramatic turnaround in 2023, as the Scarlet and Black (18-11) posted eight more victories in conference play than the previous year to capture a share of the Mountain West regular-season title, its first such championship since 2004.
In his ninth season on The Mesa, Martinez oversaw an Aztec squad that led the Mountain West for all games in ERA (4.72), opponent batting average (.247), strikeouts (475), fewest hits allowed (411) and stolen bases (71).
Under Martinez's direction, SDSU garnered six MW postseason accolades, and the Aztecs' four first-team all-conference selections were the most of any league school in 2023.
Meanwhile, Carrigg received first-team all-MW recognition for the second year in a row after batting .340 in conference action with one homer, 20 RBIs and 23 runs scored while adding a league-leading 14 stolen bases. The SDSU center fielder tied for second in the league with four triples in MW play and ranked seventh in batting average.
Carrigg garnered MW Player of the Week accolades on April 24 after leading the Aztecs to a 1-0 triumph over USD and a series victory against Nevada. In that stretch, the Turlock, California, product led the Scarlet and Black in batting average (.455), on-base percentage (.571), slugging percentage (1.091) and RBIs (6) last week while tying for the top spot with five hits, four of which went for extra bases. He hit safely in all four games and drove in at least one run in all four contests.
For the season, Carrigg leads the MW with 17 stolen bases and 24 attempts while sharing the top spot with five triples, which is tied for 25th nationally. Overall, he tops the squad with a .313 batting average, racking up two homers, 27 RBIs and 30 runs scored.
Additionally, Carrigg currently owns the team's longest hitting streak at seven games. He previously recorded the Aztecs' longest hit streak of the season at 12 games from March 24-April 23.
Ruiz collected all-MW honors for the first time in his career after hitting .330 against league foes with four homers and a team-high 27 RBIs, the latter of which ranked ninth in the conference. His 37 hits in MW action led the squad while his .916 OPS was good for second.
Ruiz was twice named MW Player of the Week during the 2023 campaign, winning his second award after playing a key role in the Aztecs' sweep of New Mexico, which propelled the Scarlet and Black into a share of the Mountain West regular-season title. The SDSU catcher batted .600 vs. the Lobos (6-10) with two doubles, one triple, four RBIs and two runs scored. He drove in a run in each of the three games and finished with multiple hits in the first two contests.
For the season, Ruiz is batting .274 with six home runs and a team-best 40 RBIs. The Tijuana, Mexico, native also leads the squad with multiple hits in 18 games and has had two or more RBIs in 11 outings.
Likewise, Sauer received all-MW recognition for the first time as a collegian after posting nine saves in conference play to lead all MW relievers. In 16.0 innings, he issued just two walks against 16 strikeouts and finished with 11 scoreless appearances.
For the season, Sauer leads the conference with 12 saves, which is tied for fifth nationally in that statistic. The Mililani, Hawaii, product recorded back-to-back saves in SDSU's victories over UNLV on April 28-29 to earn MW Pitcher of the Week honors for the first time in his career.
With his efforts this year, Sauer became the first Aztec to record double-digit saves in a single season since CJ Saylor notched 13 during the 2017 campaign. In addition, he climbed into sixth place on the school's all-time charts with 18 saves for his career.
Rounding out SDSU's extensive list of all-conference honorees is Montoya, who also merited such distinction for the first time in a Scarlet and Black uniform.
In MW play, Montoya batted .304 with a homer and eight RBIs, finishing second on the team in those games with 35 hits, three triples and 25 runs scored.
For the season, Montoya ranked second on the squad with the same .304 hitting clip, compiling two homers, 14 RBIs and 16 stolen bases, the latter of which was good for second in the MW. Additionally, the SDSU outfielder led the Scarlet and Black with 55 hits and 36 runs scored and was tops among Aztec regulars with a .398 on-base percentage. He tied for second on the squad with multiple hits in 14 games.
Second-seed San Diego State opens the 2023 Mountain West Championship on Thursday afternoon against No. 3 seed Air Force at Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium in Fresno, California. First pitch is slated for 1:30 p.m. PT.
2023 Mountain West Baseball Honors
Pitcher of the Year: TJ Fondtain, LHP, Jr., San Diego State
Tony Gwynn Player of the Year: Sam Kulasingam, INF, Jr., Air Force
Freshman of the Year: Murf Gray, INF, Fresno State
Co-Coach of the Year: Mark Martinez, San Diego State
Co-Coach of the Year: Brad Sanfilippo, San José State
Cole Carrigg, OF, Jr., San Diego State
TJ Fondtain, LHP/OF, Jr., San Diego State
Poncho Ruiz, C, Jr., San Diego State
Kelena Sauer, RHP, Jr., San Diego State
Sam Kulasingam, INF, Jr., Air Force
Trayden Tamiya, INF, Sr., Air Force
Jay Thomason, INF, Jr., Air Force
Ixan Henderson, LHP, Jr., Fresno State
Tommy Hopfe, INF, Jr., Fresno State
Reed Spenrath, INF, Jr., New Mexico
Theo Hardy, INF, Jr., San José State
Charles McAdoo, UTL, Jr., San José State
Jack White, LHP, Sr., San José State
Jacob Sharp, C, Jr., UNLV
Shaun Montoya, OF, So., San Diego State
Sawyer Hawks, RHP, So., Air Force
Jacob Sansing, RHP, Sr., Air Force
Roman Angelo, LHP, Sr., Fresno State
Bobby Blandford, OF, So., Fresno State
Matt Clayton, C, Sr., Nevada
Jesse Pierce, INF., Sr., Nevada
Lenny Junior Ashby, OF, Jr. New Mexico
Dylan Ditzenberger, INF., Sr., New Mexico
Hunter Dorraugh, INF, Jr., San José State
Jack Colette, OF, Sr., San José State
Micky Thompson, LHP, Jr., San José State
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