Shay Whitcomb Earns First Career CCAA and NCBWA West Region Player of the Week Awards
LA JOLLA, Calif. - University of California San Diego sophomore shortstop Shay Whitcomb was, unsurprisingly, unveiled Tuesday as the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Baseball Player of the Week for the week of March 11-17.
It is Whitcomb's first career CCAA weekly honor, and second by a Triton after redshirt sophomore catcher Aaron Kim was also the CCAA Player of the Week two weeks ago on March 4. The product of Newbury Park (Newbury Park HS) was the 2018 CCAA Freshman of the Year, and garnered All-CCAA honorable mention.
Later Tuesday, Whitcomb was chosen as the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) West Region Player of the Week, also for the first time.
Whitcomb already on Monday was one of eight standouts and three position players from across all levels of college baseball, named as Collegiate Baseball Newspaper National Players of the Week. The other seven honorees were all from Division I. He also followed Kim in picking up that award.
Whitcomb was incredible in leading then-10th-ranked UC San Diego to a second straight four-game CCAA series sweep. Indeed he fit a tremendous week, into just Sunday's action, going 6-for-12 with a double, four home runs, six runs and 11 RBI in a hefty doubleheader sweep (16-4, 19-1 in seven innings) at Cal State San Marcos.
Whitcomb was no slouch to begin the split-venue set in La Jolla, hitting 5-for-10 with four doubles, two runs and two RBI in a pair of wins Thursday (7-3) and Friday (5-4). He had two doubles in each of those contests. Whitcomb doubled home the tying run in the bottom of the eighth inning on Friday night, and scored what proved to be the decider moments later on teammate Alex Eliopulos' RBI triple.
Whitcomb went 3-for-6 with two home runs and three runs scored in both ends of Sunday's twin bill. His remarkable day began with solo blasts in each of his first two at-bats over the first two innings, the initial one leading off the game. He added a third-inning grand slam, the second of his career, in the finale, with a solo shot again in the fifth. Combined with a two-run double in a seven-run second, Whitcomb wound up with a career-high seven RBI in that one, one shy of matching the program's Division II-era record. His home runs went to left, right, straightaway center (grand slam) and left center, with three of them on two-strike counts. Both the tying run on Friday, and the final two-run double on Sunday, were to the opposite field in right.
UC San Diego outscored CSUSM, 47-12, and has won a season-best 10 in a row. Whitcomb completed the weekend batting .500 (11-22) with eight runs, five doubles, four home runs, 13 RBI, 28 total bases, and just one strikeout. He slugged 1.273 with a .478 on-base percentage, and made only one error at shortstop in 24 chances (.958).
Whitcomb's season average improved 72 points over the weekend, from .237 heading into the series, to .309 coming out.
Ironically, Chico State sophomore right-hander Kenton Carruthers is the CCAA Pitcher of the Week. Whitcomb and Carruthers were classmates at Newbury Park High School, both 2017 graduates who aided the Panthers to the 2017 Marmonte League title as seniors.
Whitcomb is UC San Diego's first NCBWA regional weekly honoree for 2019, and the Tritons' first since former teammate Zander Clarke, himself a Newbury Park graduate in 2014, excelled in another four-game sweep over CSUSM to conclude the 2018 regular season last May 8.
UC San Diego (17-4, 12-4 CCAA) will await arguably the next-hottest team in the CCAA for its next bit of action, in fierce rival Chico State. The Wildcats (13-7, 9-6 CCAA) have won nine straight since opening the league campaign 0-6, and have vaulted from last place in the 12-team conference, to fourth, with the Tritons second behind leader San Francisco State (12-1-1, 10-1). The four-game series will take place at Triton Ballpark in La Jolla, March 29-31, with a primetime opener set for Friday night lights at 6 p.m.
T3: We swear we had the right intentions here. Bases full...Shay up...he couldn’t possibly do it again, could he? Well let’s break out the phone anyway. Apologies. Couldn’t quite maneuver the phone through fence. Shay...is having a day. 3 HR, 2B, 🔟 RBI. #ShayBomb #IsThatGood pic.twitter.com/x6u4IzeyAD— UC San Diego Baseball (@UCSDbsb) March 18, 2019
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With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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