Andy Lopez is the Pac-12 Coach of the Year. Photo by Anthony Gimino, TucsonCitizen.com
Major Pac-12 honors came Wednesday after the Arizona baseball team earned its first conference co-championship in 20 years.
Junior shortstop Alex Mejia was selected the Pac-12 Player of the Year — as well as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. And Andy Lopez, in his 11th year with the Wildcats, was chosen as the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the first time.
Mejia, who is hitting .357 with a Pac-12-best 81 hits, is the first conference player of the year for Arizona since 2005, when outfielder Trevor Crowe won it. Mejia was one of six Arizona players named to the 25-player all-conference team.
The others are: designated hitter Bobby Brown, outfielder Johnny Field, pitcher Kurt Heyer, third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean and outfielder Robert Refsnyder. Outfielder Joey Rickard earned honorable mention all-conference honors.
For Lopez, this is his ninth conference coach of the year award, having won once at Florida, four times at Pepperdine and three times at Cal State Dominguez Hills. He won national coach of the years honors in 1992 (when he won the national title at Pepperdine) and Florida.
Arizona (38-17 overall) tied with UCLA for the league title with a 20-12 conference record.
The Wildcats will play host to a four-team double-elimination NCAA regional this weekend at Hi Corbett, starting with two games on Friday. Louisville and New Mexico State will play at 4 p.m., with top-seeded Arizona taking on Missouri at 8 p.m.