Nick Gonzales Hits 12 Homers In 13 Games 0

By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The core of the sun can reach temperatures in excess of 27 million degrees Fahrenheit.

New Mexico State All-American shortstop Nick Gonzales is hotter than that.

Consider that he hit .432 last season with 16 homers, 19 doubles and 80 RBI.

But this season, he has been off-the-charts great.

While it took him 220 at-bats to hit 16 homers last season, he belted 12 homers in only 48 at-bats this season over 13 games.

He was on pace to hit 50 home runs this season in 56 games which would break the NCAA Division I record of 48 set by Oklahoma State’s Pete Incaviglia during the 1985 season over 75 games.

Recently, he belted 5 home runs over a doubleheader sweep against Purdue Fort Wayne which included an inside-the-park grand slam. He compiled 10 RBI over the two games and was 5-for-10 with 5 runs scored.

During an 18-4 win over Iona, he hit for the cycle as he belted two home runs and went 5-for-6 in the game with 7 RBI and 5 runs scored.

He also has 36 RBI in 13 games. Projected over a 56-game season, he would collect 155 RBI which would also set a new NCAA Division I record.

The current record was set by Oklahoma State’s Pete Incaviglia during the 1985 season with 143 RBI over 75 games.

The righthanded hitting Gonzales also is batting .500 and has walked 18 times (8 times intentionally) because pitchers typically pitch very carefully to him.

First year New Mexico State Head Coach Mike Kirby has been involved with college baseball for many years as a coach at Cal. St. Fullerton, Nebraska, Oregon and UNLV.

He has seen 104 players selected in the MLB Draft during his coaching career, including 27 who have played in the Major Leagues, and he has never seen any hitter perform at the level Gonzales has this season.

“Nick has been incredible,” said Kirby.

“He is really advanced for a college level player both on the field and off. He has an advanced approach at the plate. He has tons of discipline. If you aren’t scared to walk or strike out, that’s a tough combination.

“The one player I might compare Nick to is Phil Nevin who played at Cal. St. Fullerton and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1992 MLB Draft.

“Phil had the same quick bat speed that Nick has which is really special.

“Watching Nick hit this year is almost like watching someone play a baseball video game. His home run and RBI numbers are off the charts. The amazing thing about Nick is that it’s not as though he can only hit one pitch in one area of the strike zone. It is line to line with him.

“Four of his home runs this season have been hit to left field, four others to centerfield and the other four to rightfield. That’s why I said he is advanced.”

To read more of this in-depth story, purchase the March 20, 2020 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.