March 14, 2017
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mike Montoro
Western Michigan's Smith, Gonzaga's Morgan honored
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DALLAS (NCBWA) – The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association released its National Player of the Week awards for the period ending March 12. Western Michigan sophomore shortstop Connor Smith was named National Hitter of the Week, while Gonzaga junior right-handed pitcher Eli Morgan was named National Pitcher of the Week. The NCBWA Board reviews candidates from each Division I Conference each week and names winners each Tuesday throughout the season.

Smith had an outstanding week for the Broncos, who went 2-1 at the Snowbird Classic and finished 5-1 on the spring break trip. The Midland, Mich., native either led the team or tied for the team lead in most major stat categories, including a .714 (10-for-14) batting average and 1.429 slugging percentage. During the week, he also led the team in runs (6), triples (2), RBI (10), on-base percentage (.750) and stolen bases (2-for-2) while tying for the team lead in home runs (1) and assists (8) placing second in doubles (3). He also had a perfect fielding percentage in one of the toughest positions in baseball.

Smith had multiple hits in all three games this week, including a perfect 5-for-5 game against Villanova where he finished a home run shy of the cycle. In that game, he had two triples, one double, one run and three RBI. Smith also went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and two RBI against Georgetown and 3-for-5 with a double, a home run, three runs and five RBI against Northeastern.

Morgan struck out a career-high 15 batters in a complete game shutout at No. 7/11 Cal State Fullerton Friday night, allowing just two hits and one walk. The Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., native faced just one three-ball count all night, and never allowed a Titan baserunner to reach second base. It’s his fifth career complete game and fourth career shutout, and Friday night was the second game in a row that Morgan set a career best in strikeouts. It’s also once again the highest strikeout total in the WCC this season and (as of March 9), one of the top-eight in Division I.

Founded in 1962, the NCBWA is dedicated to the advancement of college baseball. Membership is open to writers, broadcasters and publicists of the sport. For more information about the NCBWA, visit the association's official Web site,

For more information on the NCBWA Division I National Players of the Week, contact NCBWA Assistant Executive Director Mike Montoro at West Virginia University at 304-293-2821.

2017 NCBWA Division I Players of the Week:
• Feb. 21: Andrew Kendrick, Youngstown State (Hitter); Jared Poché, LSU and Robbie Welhaf, Elon (Pitcher)
• Feb. 28: Brent Rooker, Mississippi State (Hitter); Justin Dillon, Sacramento State (Pitcher)
• March 7: Chase Lunceford, Louisiana Tech (Hitter); Danny Hrbek, Radford and Parker Rigler, Kansas State (Pitcher)
• March 14: Connor Smith, Western Michigan (Hitter); Eli Morgan, Gonzaga (Pitcher)
• March 21: Jake Scheiner, Houston (Hitter); John Gavin, Cal State Fullerton (Pitcher)
• March 28: Matt Lloyd, Indiana (Hitter); Cory Abbott, Loyola Marymount (Pitcher)
• April 4: Keaton Kringlen, BYU (Hitter); Alex Cunningham, Coastal Carolina (Pitcher)
• April 11: Brent Rooker, Mississippi State (Hitter); Michael Grove, West Virginia (Pitcher)
• April 18: Stuart Fairchild, Wake Forest (Hitter); Kyle Wright, Vanderbilt (Pitcher)
• April 25: Dylan Busby, Florida State (Hitter); Alex Faedo, Florida (Pitcher)
• May 2: Hunter Hargrove, Texas Tech (Hitter); David Peterson, Oregon (Pitcher)
• May 9: Dan Kerwin, UT Martin (Hitter); Trevor Stephan, Arkansas (Pitcher)
• May 16: Jared Barnes, South Alabama (Hitter); Zach Prendergast, Seton Hall (Pitcher)
• May 23: Kevin Milam, St. Mary's (Hitter); Cole Bartlett, Missouri (Pitcher)

2017 NCBWA Division I Players of the Month:
• February: Brendon McKay, Lousiville (Hitter); James Poché, LSU (Pitcher)
• March: Brent Rooker, Mississippi State (Hitter); David Peterson, Oregon (Pitcher)
• April: Drew Ellis, Louisville (Hitter); Jake Thompson, Oregon State (Pitcher)
• May: Chris Carrier, Memphis (Hitter); Trey Cumbie, Houston (Pitcher)