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May 29, 2012

Haniger Third Mustang to Earn Big West Baseball Player of the Year Honor

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly junior outfielder Mitch Haniger has become the third Mustang to earn Big West Conference Player of the Year honors.

Haniger, the runaway conference leader in home runs (13), RBI (64), slugging percentage (.626), total bases (132) and sacrifice flies (7), joins catcher Kyle Blumenthal (2005) and outfielder Grant Desme (2007) as Mustangs who earned top honors in the Big West.

Haniger is one of seven Mustangs to earn first-team All-Big West honors.

Joining Haniger on the all-conference first team are sophomore catcher Chris Hoo, sophomore third baseman Jimmy Allen, senior shortstop Mike Miller (he was an honorable mention a year ago), sophomore designated hitter Tim Wise, junior starting pitcher Joey Wagman and redshirt freshman relief pitcher Reed Reilly.

Sophomore outfielder David Armendariz and senior starting pitcher Kyle Anderson earned second-team honors while no Mustangs earned honorable mention praise.

Haniger (6-2, 215, Santa Clara,CA/Archbishop Mitty HS) hit .346 with 18 doubles and a triple while stealing six of 12 bases. He is 11th in the nation in RBI, 13th in RBI per game (1.14), 30th in slugging percentage, 42nd in total bases, 32nd in home runs, 44th in home runs per game (0.23) and 21st in sacrifice flies.

After three years with the Mustangs, Haniger is fourth all-time with 26 career home runs, tied for No. 3 with 47 career doubles and tied for No. 5 with 137 career RBI. Haniger is expected to be selected in the first three rounds of the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on June 4.

Haniger had a 10-game hitting streak snapped by Long Beach State on March 30, going 16-for-36 (444) during the streak to lift his average 64 points. He threw out nine runners from center field this season, where he started all 56 games.

Haniger produced 22 multiple-hit games, including a five-hit contest vs. Cal State Northridge and seven three-hit games. He hit two homers in the Metrodome and went 8-for-13 in the Cal State Northridge series and 8-for-18 in the Loyola Marymount series with nine RBI and five runs scored, earning Big West Field Player of the Week honors both times.

Hoo (5-9, 185, Cupertino, CA/St. Francis HS) led the conference in two categories -- picking five runners off base and throwing out 22 would-be base stealers -- and committed just five errors in 375 chances behind the plate.

Hoo, fifth in the conference in fielding chances and seventh in putouts, went 26-for-69 (.377) in the final six weeks of the season to boost his batting average 75 points to .259. He drove in 23 runs with 10 doubles, a triple and two home runs and produced 11 two-hit games, including three in the season-ending UC Riverside series.

Allen (5-11, 185, Vista, CA/Rancho Buena Vista HS) hit .345 and led the Mustangs with 20 doubles and four triples to go along with three home runs. He finished second in the Big West with 44 RBI and finished the year with a nine-game hitting streak to go along with a pair of seven-game streaks earlier in the season.

Allen went 7-for-13 with six RBI in the Pacific series, 7-for-14 in the Cal State Northridge series, 10-for-19 in the four-game Loyola Marymount series and closed out the season with five hits in the UC Riverside series -- four doubles and a triple.  

Allen hit a walk-off solo home run in the 10th inning against Pepperdine on May 1 and contributed a two-run single in the eighth inning to cap Cal Poly's rally from a 7-1 deficit against UC Santa Barbara on May 20. He had six three-hit games and 21 two-hit contests while stealing nine of 13 bases.

Miller (5-8, 170, Concord, CA/De La Salle HS/Cuesta College) had Cal Poly's longest hitting streak of the season -- 14 games -- and also led the Mustangs with his .354 batting average, 87 hits and 56 runs scored, all figures in the top three in the Big West.

Miller had 16 doubles, four triples and three home runs, two in the Pacific series when he went 7-for-11 with five RBI. He also was 8-for-17 with five RBI in the San Diego State series, 11-for-21 in the Loyola Marymount series and 10-for-18 in four games against CSU Bakersfield.

Miller compiled 27 multiple-hit games, including 5-for-5 contest against Pacific, a four-hit game against Loyola Marymount and 10 three-hit contests, including back-to-back three-hit games against Cal State Fullerton. He reached base safely in 25 straight contests and started all 56 games at shortstop.

Wise (6-4, 180, Camarillo, CA/Westlake HS) finished the year reaching base safely in 32 consecutive games. He compiled a .308 batting average, lifting his average 49 points in the last seven weeks of the season by going 34-for-97 (.351) with hits in 21 of Cal Poly's last 23 games.

Wise started 46 games and appeared in seven others, playing in the outfield, at first base and designated hitter. He drove in 28 runs and hit a two-run single with the bases loaded in a win over San Francisco on March 4. He produced 10 two-hit games and a quartet of three-hit games, including back-to-back three-hit games in the UC Davis series when he went 7-for-15.

Wise's first 25 hits of the season were singles; he finished with 10 doubles, one triple and three homers -- a three-run shot against Pacific, a two-run blast at UC Davis and a solo shot vs. CSU Bakersfield -- and was 11-for-15 in stolen bases.

Cal Poly's Friday night starter as a junior, Wagman (6-0, 180, Danville, CA/Monte Vista HS) compiled a 9-3 record and 2.33 ERA. He opened the season with eight scoreless innings against Oklahoma State, allowing two hits and striking out five and tossed eight scoreless frames for the win against UC Irvine.

His first career complete game was a five-hitter in a 5-1 win over UC Santa Barbara on May 18 and Wagman followed with a six-hitter over eight innings and a career-high 11 strikeouts in an 11-2 win over UC Riverside on May 25.

Wagman also has earned wins against Washington, Minnesota, Pacific and CSU Bakersfield. He compiled 79 strikeouts in 108.1 innings, including 10 strikeouts in a no-decision against San Diego State and 10 more in a win against CSU Bakersfield.

Reilly (6-4, 210, Dana Point, CA/JSerra Catholic HS) compiled a 5-2 record and 2.80 ERA in 25 appearances primarily as Cal Poly's middle reliever. He tossed four scoreless innings in relief with just one hit for the win against Cal State Fullerton and three scoreless frames with a career-high four strikeouts for another win against Pepperdine.

Reilly, who also pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings in two appearances against Long Beach State and 3.0 scoreless innings in two stints against UC Irvine, struck out 45 batters in 54.2 innings and allowed just six earned runs in his last 16 appearances on the mound (1.47 ERA).

On the second team, Anderson (6-2, 195, Aptos, CA/Aptos HS) earned a 10-1 record and 3.40 ERA, becoming the first Mustang to win 10 or more games since Thomas Eager won 11 in 2007. Anderson struck out 61 batters in 92.2 innings and his only loss of the season was at Minnesota on March 18.

Anderson recorded two complete games, including a six-hit shutout with a career-high 11 strikeouts against Washington on March 10, Cal Poly's first complete-game shutout in five years. His other complete game was a 7-4 win over San Diego State on March 24, scattering 10 hits with five strikeouts.

Armendariz (6-1, 210, Sherman Oaks, CA/Notre Dame HS) won back-to-back Big West Field Player of the Week honors in the final two weeks of the season after going 14-for-23 with eight runs scored and 15 RBI in seven games.

He finished with a .312 average with 12 doubles, two triples, 36 RBI and a team-leading 13 steals. He had four-hit games against UC Irvine and UC Riverside, quartet of three-hit games and 10 two-hit contests.

A trio of Cal State Fullerton players earned half of the top Big West baseball honors. Right-hander starter Dylan Floro was named 2012 Big West Pitcher of the Year, shortstop Matt Chapman earned Big West Freshman Player of the Year distinction and first-year Titan coach Rick Vanderhook was named Big West Coach of the Year.

Shortstop D.J. Crumlich of UC Irvine was the Big West Defensive Player of the Year selection and Jerry Keel of Cal State Northridge nabbed the Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year award.

Cal State Fullerton earned its 25th Big West Conference championship overall and 10th in the last 14 years with a 17-7 mark, one game over Cal Poly and two ahead of third-place Long Beach State. Along with the conference title came an automatic bid into the 2012 NCAA Tournament, which gives the Titans their 21st consecutive appearance in the postseason, the third-longest active consecutive streak in the nation behind Miami (40 years) and Florida State (35 years).

Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton dominated the All-Big West First Team selections, with the Mustangs receiving seven nods and the Titans five. Long Beach State, UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara also made the list with each team earning one selection.