Thomas Luevano. Photo credit: usdtoreros.com

University of San Diego graduate student Thomas Luevano was honored with the 2021 West Coast Conference Player of the Year award, conference officials said Wednesday.

The awards come on the heels of the season’s end over the weekend, as the Toreros finished with a 33-12 record – 19-8 in conference play – and second to Gonzaga in the WCC.

In doing so, they posted the program’s best winning percentage (.733) since 2008, when they made the NCAA Regionals, but they did not get an at-large bid this year.

Luevano became the ninth Torero to earn Player of the Year and the team’s first since Riley Adams in 2017.

The Santa Clarita native joins Adams, Dave Rolls (1988), Kevin Herde (1993), Shane Buschini (2007), James Meador (2009 and 2010), Chicago Cub Kris Bryant (2011 and 2013), Connor Joe (2014), and Kyle Holder (2015) as USD conference Players of the Year.

He’s also the seventh player to earn the award under head coach Rich Hill.

Luevano led San Diego with a .349 batting average, a 1.101 OPS, 11 home runs, 17 doubles, three triples, and a WCC-best 65 runs batted in in 2021.

His 65 RBIs, which far outpaced the rest of the WCC, were third-most in NCAA Division I play.

Luevano, who also was named WCC Player of the Week on Monday after a monster series at nationally ranked Gonzaga – he hit a grand slam in USD’s final game Saturday, a 10-2 win – started all 45 of his team’s games this season, appearing in 18 at second base, one in left field, and 26 as the team’s designated hitter.

In addition to his WCC Player of the Year Award, Luevano earned a spot on the All-West Coast Conference First Team.

Pitcher Jake Miller joined Luevano on the All-WCC First Team, the first time the sophomore has earned the recognition.

Miller was 6-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 2021, with 77 strikeouts in 60.2 innings pitched. 

Sophomore Cody Jefferis was named to the All-WCC Second Team, the second time the shortstop has earned all-conference honors after being named to the All-WCC Freshman Team in 2019.

The shortstop started all 45 games, the only USD player to start all his games at one position, posting a .975 fielding percentage with 46 putouts and 112 assists. His .341 (59-173) batting average was second only to Luevano on the team.

Six Toreros received All-WCC Honorable Mentions:

  • True freshman Jack Costello (also was named to the All-WCC Freshman Team) batted .338 and did not record an error across 33 starts in left field and one at first base.
  • Senior Adam Lopez batted .314 with four home runs, 10 doubles, and 37 RBIs. With just 11 strikeouts, the Grossmont High School alum was the 15th-toughest player to strike out in all of Division I this year.
  • Junior Shane McGuire batted .278 with 47 runs scored, 12 doubles, three triples, six home runs and 33 RBIs.
  • Junior Tora Otsuka batted .300 with 23 runs scored, 10 doubles and16 RBIs.
  • Redshirt sophomore Ryan Robinson was 2-2 with a 1.96 ERA, striking out 23 batters in 23 innings of work.
  • Graduate student Kieran Shaw posted a 4.25 ERA in 36 innings, with eight saves, which tied for the WCC lead.

The all-conference teams and major award winners are voted on solely by the league’s 10 head coaches.

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