Nick Gonzales: From Walk-On To Player Of Year

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Collegiate Baseball’s 2020 National Player of The Year is SS Nick Gonzales of New Mexico St.

He hit .448 with 12 homers, 3 doubles, 36 RBI and walked 21 times (10 intentional) in 16 games before the coronavirus pandemic abruptly halted the season.

Gonzales finished in the top five nationally in 10 categories: home runs (1st), home runs per game (3rd), runs (1st), runs batted in (1st), runs batted in per game (1st), total bases (1st), slugging percentage (2nd), on-base percentage (3rd), walks (4th) and walks per game (5th).

Gonzales hit five home runs in a single day against Purdue Fort Wayne on Feb. 29 as he hit two in game one of a doubleheader before belting three more in the nightcap, including an inside-the-park grand slam. He compiled 10 RBI over the two games.

When the season was suspended, he had a national best on-base streak of 82 consecutive games which dated back to the 2018 season.

One year ago, he hit .432 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 during the 2019 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 have broken the NCAA Division I record of 48 set by Oklahoma State’s Pete Incaviglia during the 1985 season over 75 games.

Over 13 games, he also drove in 36 runs. He was on a pace to 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.

To read more of this story, purchase the June 12, 2020 edition or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. Gonzales came to New Mexico State as a 5-foot-10, 160-pound freshman walk-on with little fanfare from Tucson, Ariz. and ultimately became Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of The Year three years later. It is a remarkable story you will never forget.