The announcement Wednesday morning spoke to the greatness that was UNLV junior Erick Fedde’s season.
He didn’t take the mound the final three weeks, but he was so dominant the rest of the regular season that he was named the Mountain West Pitcher of the Year.
“I’m really glad all the coaches felt that way,” Fedde said. “It’s nice to honor me with that. It shows the work I did put in that I was the top pitcher in the league. I’m glad to be reassured of that.”
Fedde, who went to Las Vegas High School, went 8-2 with a 1.76 ERA, striking out 82 batters in 76 2/3 innings. His season came to an early end because of an elbow injury that will require Tommy John surgery.
Fedde is still considered a first-round draft prospect, though most likely will go late in the round rather than the top 10.
UNLV’s Buddy Borden was named Mountain West Co-Pitcher of the Year in 2013, then was a seventh-round draft pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“I’m just glad to win (the award), especially since Buddy Borden won it last year, and we can keep it in Las Vegas,” Fedde said. “I’m excited, especially since I didn’t pitch at the end of the year.”
Fedde wasn’t the only Rebel honored. Tim Chambers was named Coach of the Year.
“In reality, it really doesn’t mean anything to me, I promise you that,” Chambers said. “It’s nice for my wife and my daughters. They think it’s neat. But for me, you get Coach of the Year when your players play, and our players played.”
Chambers led the Rebels to a 33-21 record, including 20-10 in the conference to tie New Mexico for the regular season co-championship. UNLV has the No. 1 seed in the Mountain West tournament and will play at 7 p.m. today at Wilson Stadium after receiving a bye through Wednesday’s first three games.
Being named top coach and winning a share of the league championship probably won’t hurt Chambers’ argument for an increase of his $110,000 salary. He has one year left on his contract and turned down a five-year extension that didn’t come with a raise.
Chambers didn’t comment on where future talks might go.
He certainly has been able to recruit talented players. A school-record eight Rebels made the all-conference first and second teams.
Along with Fedde, junior pitcher John Richy and senior designated hitter/utility player Patrick Armstrong made the first team. Chambers said the accomplishments by Fedde and Richy were so clear that league coaches didn’t even cast a vote on those players for their honors, including Fedde for top pitcher.
Richy has moved into Fedde’s No. 1 spot in the rotation, and he has a conference-best 10 victories to go with a 2.72 ERA. He also has 93 strikeouts in 106 innings.
Armstrong batted .317 with team highs of seven home runs and 43 RBIs. He was placed at DH/utility on the all-conference team because UNR’s Austin Byler was selected for first-team first baseman, which is Armstrong’s position.
“Both deserved to be first team,” Chambers said. “(Armstrong’s) our MVP. He’s our leader. He’s our captain. He’s our everything.”
On the second team from UNLV were junior first baseman Morgan Stotts, sophomore second baseman Justin Jones, junior third baseman T.J. White, senior shortstop Matt McCallister and junior outfielder Edgar Montes.
The conference’s two other major awards went to Fresno State junior outfielder Jordan Luplow for Player of the Year and New Mexico outfielder Danny Collier for Freshman of the Year.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at email@example.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.