Brett Vertigan Named to First Team All-Big West as Seven Gauchos are Honored

Brett Vertigan (by Michael Moriatis)
Brett Vertigan (by Michael Moriatis)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara junior center fielder Brett Vertigan was named to the All-Big West First Team, the conference announced on Tuesday, one of seven total Gauchos to be honored in the annual awards.

Vertigan led the Big West in batting with a .381 mark and finished in the top-10 in slugging percentage (second), on-base percentage (second), hits (first), runs (second), triples (first), stolen bases (first) and total bases (second).

Joining the junior from Garden Grove, Calif. was Second Team All-Big West selections Brandon Trinkwon, Greg Mahle, Andrew Vasquez and Matt Vedo while Lance Roenicke was named to the Honorable Mention team.

Mitch Haniger of Cal Poly was named the conference's Player of the Year while Cal State Fullerton's Dylan Floro nabbed Pitcher of the Year honors. The Freshman Player of the Year was Fullerton's Matt Chapman while Cal State Northridge's Jerry Keel was named Freshman Pitcher of the Year. Fullerton's Rick Vanderhook was Coach of the Year and UC Irvine's D.J. Crumlich took home Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Vertigan reached base in 55 of the Gauchos' 56 games this season and opened the year with a 23-game hitting streak. The speedy leadoff batter had 27 multi-hit games and set a school record for triples in a season. Vertigan played an outstanding defensive center field and ranks in the UCSB top-10 with his 90 hits on the 2012 campaign.

Trinkwon, who finished fifth in batting, fourth in slugging and led the conference with a .460 on-base percentage, was honored as the second baseman on the Second Team. The sophomore from Tustin, Calif. had 70 hits on the season, good for eighth in the conference while his 40 walks were second.

Mahle, who tied for the team lead in RBI with 35 and who also hit .347 - same as Trinkwon - was named the utility player on the Second Team as he was also the Gauchos' closer during the season. The freshman from Westminster, Calif. was one of 20 players named to the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Wacth List.

Despite leading the Big West in earned run average and batting average against, Vasquez was only a Second Team selection. His 1.93 ERA ranks as the third-lowest in single-season history by a starting pitcher and he became the first freshman to have over 100 strikeouts in a year since Barry Zito did so for the Gauchos in 1997. Vasquez, who hails from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., had 104 strikeouts, which is the fifth-most by a freshman in Big West history.

Vedo, a senior, became the first UCSB pitcher to lead the Big West in strikeouts as his 112 also rank him third all-time in school history. The Gauchos' opening day starter, turned bullpen stalwart, is fourth in the nation with his 12.25 strikeouts per nine innings average. The Colusa, Calif. native held opponents to a .209 batting average against, which was fourth in the Big West.

Roenicke led the Gauchos with four home runs and his 35 RBI tied him with Mahle for the team lead. He had 18 doubles, ranking him 10th in single-season history, and always batting in the No. 2 spot, set the UCSB standard for sacrifice bunts with 16. The senior from Chino Hills, Calif. reached in all but seven games on the season.