Aztecs Earn Two MW Postseason Awards


SAN DIEGO – San Diego State infielder Finley Bates was named Mountain West Freshman of the Year, while starting pitcher Omar Serrano received first-team all-MW recognition, as the league announced its postseason awards on Thursday in advance of the Mountain West Championship at Tony Gwynn Stadium on the SDSU campus.

Mountain West postseason honorees were selected by the league's seven head coaches and take into account MW games only.

With his award, Bates becomes the fourth Aztec player to garner conference Freshman of the Year accolades, joining Stephen Strasburg (co-2007), Jaden Fein (co-2019) and Irvin Weems (co-2022). Meanwhile, Serrano earned his first career all-Mountain West plaudit as well.

A native of Castle Park, Colorado, Bates played all 30 games against MW competition, leading the team in batting average (.375), hits (48), total bases (67) and on-base percentage (.438), while ranking second in runs scored (23), slugging percentage (.523) and walks (13).

Among conference leaders in Mountain West games, Bates tied for the top position in hits and was slotted fourth in batting average.

For the season, Bates started 52 of 53 games, earning 28 starts at shortstop and 24 at second while appearing as a late-inning defensive replacement in SDSU's 7-1 victory over Portland on Feb. 18. He hit a collective .292 with three homers, 11 RBIs and 35 runs score, tying for the top spot on the team with 14 doubles.

In addition, Bates ranked second on the squad with multiple hits in 18 games, matching his season best with four hits at Fresno State (March 1) and Nevada (May 18). He reached base safely in 11 straight starts from April 12-28 after recording a season-long eight-game hitting streak from March 28-April 7.

Serrano, meanwhile, posted a 5-5 record against MW opponents, posting a conference-best 3.06 ERA while sharing the second spot in victories. The SDSU junior also ranked third in the league with 60 strikeouts while occupying the fourth position with a .263 opponent batting average.

In 10 starts against Mountain West foes, Serrano allowed one earned run or less on six occasions, fanning at least five batters in each of those contests.

Serrano captured MW Pitcher of the Week honors for the first time in his career after yielding just one run on four hits and three walks with six strikeouts in seven-plus innings vs. Fresno State on May 4, as the Scarlet and Black posted a 3-1 victory at home.

Earlier in the season, Serrano tossed his first career complete game in the Aztecs' 7-1 triumph on the road over the same Bulldog squad in game one of a doubleheader on March 1. The SDSU right-hander recorded six strikeouts while allowing just one run on five hits without a walk for his first victory of the year.

For the season, Serrano tied for the conference lead with 14 starts, ranking third in overall ERA (4.02) while occupying the fourth spot in strikeouts (77) and innings pitched (80.2). He was also slotted eighth in the league in opposing batting average (.270).

Against No. 15 UC Irvine on April 20, Serrano tied his career high with nine strikeouts but did not factor in the decision.

Serrano was part of an Aztec pitching staff that led the Mountain West during the regular season in strikeouts (494), opponent batting average (.267), fewest hits allowed (481) and fewest home runs allowed (35).