Special to the Sun
Monday, May 23, 2011 | 3:49 p.m.
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Not only was Tanner Peters the UNLV baseball team’s best pitcher this spring, the junior right-hander was also the best in the Mountain West Conference.
Peters, who posted a 9-3 record with a 1.36 earned run average, was named Monday the 2011 Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Year as voted by the league’s coaches.
“The honor is also a reflection of my teammates as well. The confidence I have every start is high because I know my teammates are going to score runs and play great defense behind me,” Peters said in a statement.
Peters, who pitched seven complete games, was the first UNLV pitcher to win the award. Peters struck out 99 batters in 112 1/3 innings pitched and only yielded one home run. He never surrendered more than three earned runs in an outing.
Peters is tied with former San Diego State star Stephen Strasburg for the league record in complete games in a season (seven) and career (nine), and complete game shutouts in a career with four.
Peters wasn’t the only UNLV player to earn all-conference accolades. Brandon Bayardi, Trent Cook and Trever Kirk also were honored, giving the Rebels their highest number of players selected since 2005 when seven were picked.
“To be recognized by the coaches in the league on this level is special and shows how much respect they have,” first-year UNLV coach Tim Chambers said in a statement.
Bayardi, a sophomore outfielder, batted .333 with 10 home runs, a team-best 51 RBIs and nine stolen bases to join Peters as a first-team selection.
Cook and Kirk were each named to the second-team.
Cook led UNLV with a .372 batting average and committed just three errors for a .994 fielding percentage in starting all 56 games at first base. Kirk led UNLV with 12 stolen bases and 55 runs, and batted .327.
UNLV (33-23) won more than 30 games this spring for the first time since 2005 — the last time the Rebels qualified for a NCAA Regional. The Rebels Tuesday open the Mountain West Conference Championship against tournament host San Diego State. They likely need to win the tournament to continue their season.