RIVERSIDE --- Zach Esquerra capped what was already an accolade-laden season with the Pacific West Conference's top overall and academic awards this week as he was named the PacWest Athlete of the Year and PacWest Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Esquerra, who was named PacWest Player of the Year and NCBWA Division II National Player of the Year already this season, was the top vote getter in both categories after earning the PacWest Baseball Scholar Athlete award as well. CBU’s Bernadette Witz took home Scholar Athlete honors for women’s soccer, and Jennifer Mallen grabbed the honor for women’s cross country.
Esquerra hit .382 with a PacWest-leading 17 home runs. The right fielder’s 17 long balls not only led the PacWest, West Region and were second in the nation in Division II, but were the fourth highest home run total in all of college baseball. He also ranked in the top five in the PacWest in hits (3rd-65), runs (1st-51), doubles (3rd-15) and RBI (3rd-47).
Esquerra posted a 3.88 GPA in the classroom, graduating with a degree in criminal justice. The Lancers’ former slugger was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks and is currently putting up an all-star season with the team’s Short-Season Single-A affiliate, the Hillsboro Hops.
Witz maintained a 3.60 GPA last season as a marketing major, earning PacWest Women’s Soccer Player of the Year honors along the way. She was second in the conference with 12 goals and led the league with five game-winning goals.
Mallen held an impressive 3.95 GPA through the course of the 2012-13 school year, graduating with a degree in psychology. After finishing third at the PacWest Championship meet, she was named the conference’s Newcomer of the Year. Mallen also won an individual NCCAA title last season.