It hasn’t been a particularly strong season on the field for Arizona, which finished tied for eighth in the Pac-12 and must win this week’s conference tourney in Scottsdale in order to make the NCAA Tournament.
But the Wildcats still had several standout individual performances this year, both at the plate and with the glove. Topping that list is shortstop Nik McClaughry, who on Tuesday was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
McClaughry, a senior, is Arizona’s first DPOY since shortstop Alex Mejia in 2012. It was a worthy honor, as he led the Pac-12 with 162 assists and committed just four errors in 229 chances, and last week he was named a semifinalist for the Brooks Howard Award given to college baseball’s top shortstop.
With McClaughry at the forefront, Arizona was second in the Pac-12 in fielding this season.
McClaughry was one of four UA players on the Pac-12 All-Conference team, joined by outfielders Mac Bingham and Chase Davis and first baseman Kiko Romero. Third baseman Tony Bullard was an honorable mention selection.
In addition to his defense, McClaughry batted .327 with three home runs and 33 RBI. He was one of four Wildcats with at least 70 hits, behind Bingham (a conference-best) 83, Davis (73) and Romero (73).
Romero led the Pac-12 with 80 RBI, including 43 in conference play, tying a school record, and he’s six RBI shy of the Arizona single-season mark. He had 17 homers, tied for third in the league, with Davis’ 19 topping the conference.
Davis (.371) ranks seventh in the Pac-12 in batting, with Bingham (.364) eighth and Romero (.346) 12th. Davis is also a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, which goes to the top overall player in college baseball.
All other Pac-12 individual awards went to members of regular-season champ Stanford. Alberto Rios was Player of the Year, Quinn Matthews Pitcher of the Year, Malcolm Moore Freshman of the Year and David Esquer Coach of the Year.