Final trio for 2018 Olerud Award announced
Candidates must have at least 20 innings pitched or six saves
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Some of the best relievers in college baseball - who also know how to swing a bat - headline the 2018 finalists for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, presented by the College Baseball Foundation.
The list includes one of the top hurlers from an up-and-coming program and two others from well-established teams. Two of the three teams represented play this week in the NCAA regionals, both of which will host a regional, including one national seed.
The three finalists this year are senior Brooks Wilson from Stetson, junior Tanner Dodson from California and sophomore Aaron Schunk from Georgia.
"This group of finalists epitomizes everything we look for in an Olerud winner - competitiveness, toughness and the ability to put his team on his back," Olerud Award chairman George Watson said. "This group, especially, has demonstrated the ability to be a lockdown reliever when called upon, and at the same time, deliver big hits for the offense when needed."
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 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.
Here is a closer look at the finalists:
- •Tanner Dodson, OF/RHP, Jr.: Dodson had a tremendous season for the Golden Bears, who just missed out on the NCAA playoffs despite finishing fifth in the Pac-12. He was one of the better hitters for Cal this year, compiling a .320 average in 54 games with a home run and 27 RBI. On the mound, he finished 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA, striking out 35 and walking just seven in 40 innings while racking up 11 saves.
- •Aaron Schunk, IF/RHP, Soph.: The talented sophomore started all 56 games at third base for the Bulldogs, who are the No. 8 national seed in the tournament. He also served as Georgia's closer, going 2-2 with a 2.57 ERA and eight saves in 28 innings of work, walking four and striking out 29. At the plate, he hit .304 with three home runs and 36 RBI.
- •Brooks Wilson, DH/RHP, Sr.: Perhaps the most impressive arm of the three finalists, Wilson has epitomized the term "game over" when he steps on the mound. In 55 innings of work, Wilson has compiled a 6-0 record and 2.13 ERA, and he is tied for the nation's lead in saves with 20. At the plate, Wilson is hitting .287 for the Hatters, who host a regional for the first time in school history. He struck out 68 and walked 19.
For more information on the Olerud Award or the College Baseball Hall of Fame's Night of Champions, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.