DAVIS, Calif. — In addition to earning a spot on the All-Big West Conference second team, freshman shortstop Tanner Murray became the first Aggie in program history to earn the league’s Freshman Field Player of the Year award. First-time all-conference honoree, junior outfielder Ryan Anderson, represented UC Davis as a first-team selection, freshman Joseph Myers collected second-team honors in his debut season, and the trio of third baseman Brad Pluschkell, middle reliever Brett Erwin and senior closer Connor Loar each earned honorable mention awards when the conference announced its postseason accolades on Wednesday, as voted upon by the league's head coaches.
The Aggies' six All-Big West honorees is the most since 2015, and ties the third-highest total in school history, behind the team's seven award winners in 2015 and eight in 2008.
Murray enjoyed a breakout freshman season for UC Davis, finishing second on the team in three different categories: batting average (.333), hits (64) and stolen bases (6-for-9). Stepping in at shortstop, Murray paced the defense with 157 assists across 50 appearances, making 45 starts.
Season highlights included his Big West Player of the Week 5-for-5 performance against Hawai’i, and his walk-off homer against San Francisco on Apr. 24 that lifted UC Davis to a 12-inning victory over the Dons. With his effort at the plate vs. the Rainow Warriors, he became the eighth Aggie in the program’s Division I era to collect at least five hits in a game—just one shy of the single game record set by David Popkins at CSU Bakersfield in 2012—and tied the school record for doubles in a single game (3).
With three seasons now in the books as an Aggie, Anderson recorded yet another stellar performance in 2018. One of just two Aggies to start all 53 games, the first-team honoree ranked tied for first in the Big West at the end of the regular season, batting a team-high .345, while his 76 hits, 36 runs scored, six home runs, 36 RBI and 111 total bases all ranked among the top 10 in the league. His 5-for-5 effort at UC Riverside on Mar. 29 was the first by an Aggie since Tanner Bily finished 5-for-5 against CSUN in 2016, making him the seventh Aggie in the program’s Division I era to collect at least five hits in a single game.
Senior third baseman Pluschkell completed his final season as an Aggie swinging a career-high .276 in 51 games. He earned his first career Big West Player of the Week nod in the first week of play after slugging a perfect 10-for-10 effort in the opening series at CSU Bakersfield. His team-leading 16 doubles ranked him fourth in the league against conference opponents at the end of the regular season and placed him tied for seventh on the UC Davis single-season records list for the Division I era.
Right-hander Loar, another Aggie who wrapped up his collegiate career at UC Davis, ended the year on a high note, securing his third and fourth saves of the season in the final weekend of play against UC Irvine, helping lift the Aggies to their first series win over the Anteaters since 2012. The Danville, Calif. native ended the year with an even 3-3 mark on the mound and a stunning 1.74 ERA, limiting opposing batters to a .242 average after allowing just eight earned runs on 36 hits, walking 11 and striking out 32.
Freshman right-hander Erwin tossed 45.1 innings on the mound as a middle reliever for UC Davis in his debut season—the fourth highest total innings on the staff—en route to his career-first all-conference nod. He helped UC Davis to a 3-0 shutout over Long Beach State after allowing just two hits and struck out three over two innings of work. Ending the year with an 0-2 mark and a 3.38 ERA, Erwin recorded three saves and allowed 17 earned runs on 44 hits, struck out 35 batters and held opposing teams to a .251 average against over a team-high 20 appearances.
Myers was yet another newcomer to see significant innings for UC Davis this season, logging 32 starts in 39 appearances. He concluded his first year as an Aggie with 40 hits, 15 runs, five doubles, one triple, and 10 RBI, along with nine drawn walks, a .376 on-base percentage, and ended the year third on the team with a .328 average.
UC Davis finished the season with an 18-35 overall mark and a 9-15 record in Big West play after logging series victories over UC Santa Barbara (second in as many seasons), Long Beach State, and UC Irvine. Series victories vs. the 49ers and Anteaters were the first since 2014 and 2012, respectively.
ABOUT UC DAVIS
Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley.
The No. 6-ranked public university in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal, and among the top 10 public universities nationwide according to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and animal science programs.
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