Oregon State was well represented on the all-Pac-12 baseball team, which was released by the conference Thursday afternoon.
For the second straight season, Luke Heimlich was voted Pac-12 pitcher of the year while shortstop Cadyn Grenier won the conference’s defensive player of the year award.
Heimlich, Grenier, pitcher Bryce Fehmel, outfielders Steven Kwan and Trevor Larnach, catcher Adley Rutschman and second baseman Nick Madrigal were all voted first-team all-Pac-12. Third baseman Michael Gretler and closer Jake Mulholland received honorable mention.
“That’s a tribute to who they are,” coach Pat Casey said. “The guy that should be on there that’s not on there is Michael Gretler, and I say that with respect to everybody that made the all-(Pac-12) team. If there’s an MVP on our team, he’s one of them, that’s for sure.”
California sophomore first baseman Andrew Vaughn was named Pac-12 player of the year. Vaughn won the conference batting title (.402) and hit 23 home runs with 63 RBIs.
Arizona State’s Spencer Torkelson, who belted a nation-leading 25 homers during the regular season, won Pac-12 freshman of the year. David Esquer of Stanford was voted coach of the year.
The awards are determined by a vote of the conference’s coaches.
Heimlich, a senior left-hander, is the Pac-12’s first back-to-back pitcher of the year since Arizona State’s Mike Leake in 2008 and 2009. Heimlich (14-1) leads the country in wins and is tied for fourth nationally with 139 strikeouts.
“That’s a heck of an honor,” Casey said. “You’ve got (Joe) DeMers up at Washington, you’ve got (Tristan) Beck down at Stanford, you’ve got (Cody) Deason down at Arizona, you’ve got some real good arms. So for him to receive that award is a tribute to what kind of year he’s had.”
Grenier is the third consecutive Beaver to win Pac-12 defensive player of the year, joining catcher Logan Ice (2016) and Madrigal (2017). In 55 starts this season, Grenier has committed just six errors with a .970 fielding percentage.
The junior is also batting .335 with 15 doubles.
“He’s really defended well there and had to go 26 games without Nick Madrigal at second base,” said Casey, who also praised Andy Armstrong’s play as Madrigal recovered from a broken left wrist. “You’re a better defender when you’ve got an All-American across from you.”
Fehmel (9-1), a junior righty, enters the NCAA tournament with a 2.81 ERA. Casey said either Heimlich or Fehmel will start Friday’s 7 p.m. Corvallis Regional opener against fourth-seeded Northwestern State (37-22).
OSU (44-10-1) is the No. 3 national seed and the Corvallis Regional’s top seed.
Rutschman carries a .391 batting average into the postseason. The sophomore’s 63 RBIs are tied for second in the Pac-12 behind Larnach’s 64.
“One thing I’m looking forward to is seeing Adley Rutschman,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, who will manage the 2018 Collegiate National Team. Rutschman is one of two catchers on the roster.
“He’s a good ballplayer, there’s no question about that. I saw enough of him in Omaha to know that I wanted to have him on our team this summer.”
Kwan, a junior center fielder, is batting .353 with 46 walks to 13 strikeouts.
Larnach is third in the Pac-12 with 17 homers. The junior right fielder is hitting .324 and has walked 40 times.
Madrigal, last year’s Pac-12 player of the year, missed 26 games earlier this season but is back at full strength. The junior is batting .395 with 27 RBIs.
Gretler, a senior, is second on the team with seven homers while Mulholland, a sophomore, has a team-high 14 saves.
Earlier Thursday, Heimlich (Collegiate Baseball), Mulholland (Collegiate Baseball), Grenier (Baseball America), Madrigal (Baseball America), Larnach (both) and Rutschman (both) were named All-Americans.
The six All-Americans are the most in program history. The 2006 and 2017 clubs had four apiece.