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Top 9 candidates for 2017 Olerud Award announced
Semifinalists pushing teams toward postseason with strong seasons

 

LUBBOCK, Texas -- As the NCAA Division I regular season begins to wind down, the race for the 2017 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award is nearing its conclusion with the announcement of nine semifinalists.

Of the nine semifinalists, six are playing for teams who are battling for a conference championship, an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament or both. That includes players from Power 5 conferences, staff aces who set the tone each weekend and shut-down closers tasked with preserving those wins.

"Every single player on the list of semifinalists, regardless of whether he is a starter or reliever, is very deserving of this award, which is what makes it so hard to get down to the final names," said George Watson, chairman of the Olerud Award committee. "You've got tremendously talented players, some of whom came into the season with great expectations and others who have helped carry their teams past preseason prognostications. Whoever wins this award will be a fantastic representative of what the Olerud Award is all about."

The award is named for the former Washington State University standout who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s and who was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The award will be presented by the College Baseball Foundation later this summer.

While Louisville and Virginia battle for the Atlantic Coast Conference crown, they are led by two of the players on the semifinalist list in Louisville junior Brendan McKay and Virginia junior Adam Haseley.

Going into this past weekend, McKay, a two-time Olerud Award winner, had a 6-3 record and 2.15 ERA as the Cardinals' Friday night starter. He has struck out 95 in 67 innings, while at the plate he is hitting .390 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI.

Haseley is having the same impact for the Cavaliers, hitting .399 at the plate with 12 home runs and 45 RBI, while going 7-1 with a 3.58 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 65.1 innings pitched.

But they are both getting some serious push from other contenders. Nebraska junior Jake Meyers is 7-1 with a 2.73 ERA as the Cornhuskers battle for the Big Ten title. He has 39 strikeouts in 62.2 innings and is hitting .289 with 10 RBI.

The smaller schools also are getting into the action. Junior Aaron Phillips from St. Bonaventure is a perfect 8-0 with a 3.06 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 79.1 innings and at the plate is hitting .283 with 26 RBI.

Among relievers, sophomore Braden Zarbnisky is helping the West Virginia Mountaineers in their push for a postseason berth. Zarbnisky is hitting .333 with a home run and six RBI and on the mound is 5-1 with a 3.24 ERA, three saves and 31 strikeouts in 25 innings. Also in the Big 12 Conference, Texas Tech freshman John McMillon is 2-0 with a 2.55 ERA and has struck out 19 in 17.2 innings. At the plate, he has hit eight home runs in just 21 games.

For more information on the Olerud Award or the College Baseball Hall of Fame's Night of Champions, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.


JOHN OLERUD TWO-WAY PLAYER OF THE YEAR SEMIFINALISTS

Name

School

Conference

Adam Haseley

Virginia

ACC

Anthony Herrera

Louisiana-Monroe

Sun Belt

Alex Mauricio

Norfolk State

Mid-Eastern

Brendan McKay

Louisville

ACC

John McMillon

Texas Tech

Big 12

Jake Meyers

Nebraska

Big Ten

Aaron Phillips

St. Bonaventure

Atlantic 10

Alex Troop

Michigan State

Big Ten

Braden Zarbinsky

West Virginia

Big 12

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