MORGANTOWN, W. VA. (NCBWA) – The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) released its Dick Howser Trophy National Player of the Week awards presented by The Game Headwear for the period ending May 8. Texas redshirt junior first baseman Ivan Melendez was named National Hitter of the Week, while Long Beach State redshirt freshman right-handed pitcher Juaron Watts-Brown was named the National Pitcher of the Week. The NCBWA Board reviews candidates from each Division I Conference and names winners each Tuesday throughout the season.
Melendez hit .571 with three home runs and nine RBIs, while extending his hitting streak to a Conference-leading 16 games. The El Paso, Texas, native, hit three home runs in a doubleheader sweep against West Virginia on Saturday, May 7, including his sixth multi-HR game in the nightcap.
He reached base five times in the midweek win against Houston Baptist, going 3-for-3 with two walks and a pair of doubles. He had a 2.150 OPS for the week, and scored seven times with two three-hit games.
Watts-Brown pitched the league's first no-hitter since 2018 Sunday against UC Riverside on Bohl Diamond at Blair Field. The Dirtbags won their fourth straight, 4-0, to complete the series sweep. The Hanford, California, native struck out a season-best 16, the highest single-game total in The Big West in 2022, eclipsing Cal Poly ace and league strikeout leader Drew Thorpe's 15 from March 25.
Watts-Brown's no-hitter was just the second in the storied history of the Dirtbag program, and the first of the complete-game variety, with the other one a combined no-no by freshmen Chris Mathewson (7.0 IP) and Darren McCaughan, also in a 4-0 Sunday home win on March 1, 2015, against Wichita State. It was the 19th no-hitter in The Big West history, and 13th in a nine-inning contest.
Watts-Brown faced one over the minimum, just a two-out walk in the fourth away from a perfect game in his 114-pitch masterpiece. He retired the first 11 in a row, and the final 16 from there, striking out the side in the third. The Hanford native had at least one punch-out in every frame.
The 9.0 innings in his first collegiate complete game marked a season high for Watts-Brown. He produced double-digit strikeouts for the second time this season, now coming in consecutive Sunday starts. Watts-Brown's previous season bests were 7.0 frames, and the 10 punch-outs from a May 1 home loss to UC Irvine.
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For more information on the Dick Howser Trophy and the NCBWA Division I National Players of the Week, contact NCBWA Assistant Executive Director Mike Montoro at West Virginia University at 304-293-2821.