Clean Sweep of Region Pitcher of the Year Awards for Donatella as ABCA Releases Honors
GREENSBORO, N.C. - UC San Diego's Justin Donatella completed a clean sweep Tuesday of the three West Region Pitcher of the Year awards, earning his third such distinction from the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA).
Donatella (Saugus/Saugus HS), previously tabbed the West Region Pitcher of the Year by both Daktronics, Inc., and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), was joined on the 16-player ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Division II All-West Region First Team by fellow junior Gradeigh Sanchez in the designated hitter spot. Senior second baseman Erik Lewis made the 16-player second team.
Lewis was on the first team a year ago, with Donatella on the second. Sanchez is a first-time ABCA honoree. He and Donatella will be eligible for All-America recognition from the coaches' association.
UCSD completed its 2015 campaign ranked No. 29 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll with an overall record of 36-21. The Tritons won three elimination games after a loss in their opener at the NCAA Division II West Regional last Thursday, May 14, before succumbing to top-seeded host Cal Poly Pomona in the regional championship game on Monday at Mt. SAC's Mazmanian Field in Walnut.
Donatella finished a fantastic season at 9-3 in his 14 starts, with a 1.74 ERA and league-best 111 strikeouts, a new single-season record for UCSD's Division II era. The 6-foot-6 right-hander walked only 17 in his 88.0 innings pitched, and surrendered a run in back-to-back outings just once at the very end of the year. Donatella was also the CCAA Most Valuable Pitcher and an All-CCAA First Team pick.
Sanchez is tied for sixth in the league in hitting (.357) and second in on-base percentage (.471). Lewis was one of just three Tritons to start all 57 games, with 56 at second base and one at third, batting .273 while pacing the CCAA with 47 walks.
The ABCA/Rawlings all-region teams are voted on by members of the ABCA, and the process is led by the ABCA Division II All-America Committee. ABCA/Rawlings All-Americans and Gold Glove winners will be announced on May 25.