Mac Barbara Earns Mountain West Co-Player of the Year

Derrick Tuskan/San Diego State

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- San Diego State softball junior Mac Barbara (Long Beach, Calif.) has been named the Mountain West Co-Player of the Year, the league announced Wednesday. Barbara joins Nevada's Gabby Herrera as the Players of the Year for the conference. She is one of four Aztecs named to an all-conference team while SDSU Head Coach Stacey Nuveman Deniz earned Mountain West Coach of the Year honors.
The postseason awards are voted on by the league's nine head coaches and take into account Mountain West games only.  
Barbara is joined on the All-Mountain West First Team by pitchers Dee Dee Hernandez and Allie Light while catcher Cali Decker represents the Scarlet and Black on the conference's Second Team.
The first Aztec to win Mountain West Player of the Year multiple times, Barbara also earned the honor in 2022. Hayley Miles, who won the award in 2012, is the only other Aztec to be a Co-Player of the Year while Jenavee Peres (2017), Lorena Bauer (2015) and Patrice Jackson (2013) have won the award outright.
Starting in all 22 conference games, Barbara hit .418 while reaching base at a .536 clip and slugging .776 during Mountain West play. 13 of her 28 hits during that time went for extra bases, including five home runs. The slugging first baseman scored 18 times while driving in 17 runs for the Aztecs. During the championship-clinching weekend series against UNLV, she went 3-4 at the plate in each of the final two games including a pair of two-run homers and a double in Saturday's clinching victory while earning Mountain West Player of the Week honors. Barbara's .712 slugging percentage on the season ranked fifth in the conference while her overall .491 on-base percentage was third as UNLV's Ariana Martinez was the only player to finish ahead of her in both categories. Her 31 walks on the season were better than all Mountain West players except Boise State's Sydney Groves.
Nuveman Deniz brings home Coach of the Year for the second time in three years, also having won in 2022. Her predecessor, Kathy Van Wyk, won Coach of the Year accolades five times (2002, 2006, 2008, 2013-14). Nuveman Deniz led the Aztecs to a Mountain West regular season title, going 15-7 in conference play while the Aztecs spent the whole season atop Mountain West in RPI, going as high as 31.
Hernandez makes the conference's First Team for the first time after making the All-Mountain West Second Team in 2022. She pitched to a 2.44 ERA with a 7-2 record in her 13 appearances during conference play. Hernandez earned a save and struck out 19 batters in 37 1/3 innings while allowing just two home runs. Her 2.45 overall ERA finished second in the conference, trailing only Nevada's Tyra Clary. Hernandez was able to limit opposing offenses, finishing top three in the conference in hits allowed (2nd, 67), runs allowed (1st, 28), earned runs allowed (1st, 24), walks allowed (3rd, 16) and doubles allowed (2nd, 8).
Last season's Mountain West Pitcher of the Year, Light lands on the all-conference First Team for the second consecutive season. She finished just behind her teammate with a 2.45 ERA while starting eight of her 16 conference appearances. Pitching to a 4-1 record in Mountain West games, Light led the team with 54 1/3 innings while striking out a team-high 27. She also earned a pair of saves.
Earning All-MW Second Team for the second time in two seasons as an Aztec, Decker also started in each of the Aztecs' 22 conference games. The transfer from Florida hit .348 against Mountain West opposition while getting on base at a .430 average. She hit one home run and scored eight times while driving in 14 runs.
Top-seeded SDSU will open the Mountain West Tournament at 6:30 p.m. MT/5:30 p.m. PT on Thursday, May 9, in Boise, Idaho. The Aztecs will face the winner of fourth-seeded Fresno State and fifth-seeded host Boise State.
2024 Mountain West Awards
Co-Player of the Year: Mac Barbara, San Diego State 
Gabby Herrera, Nevada
Pitcher of the Year: Taylor Gilmore, Fresno State
Defensive Player of the Year: Maddie Schmidt, UNLV
Freshman of the Year: Sophia Knight, Boise State
Coach of the Year: Stacey Nuveman Deniz, San Diego State 
First Team:
Taylor Caudill, Boise State
Sophia Knight, Boise State
Maya Matsubara, Colorado State
Ashley York, Colorado State
Peyton Allen, Colorado State
Taylor Gilmore, Fresno State
Sophia Medellin, Fresno State
Gabby Herrera, Nevada
Aaliyah Jenkins, Nevada
Chelie Senini, Nevada
Rachael Hathoot, New Mexico
Mac Barbara, San Diego State
Dee Dee Hernandez, San Diego State
Allie Light, San Diego State
Ariana Martinez, UNLV
Second Team:
Alycia Flores, Boise State
Mykenzie Hanna, Boise State
Sydney Groves, Boise State
Molly Gates, Colorado State
Sydney Hornbuckle, Colorado State
Jailey Wilson, Colorado State
Serayah Neiss, Fresno State
Bridgette Gillano, Nevada
Blake Craft, Nevada
Haley Painter, Nevada
Cali Decker, San Diego State
Reina Zermeno, San José State
Ellie Zellien, UNLV
Maddi Schmidt, UNLV
Grace Matej, Utah State