2019 Olerud Award finalists announced
Candidates must have at least 20 innings pitched or six saves
LUBBOCK, Texas -- There's one common thread that runs through the list of finalists for the 2019 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, beyond their tremendous talents.
They all have led their respective teams to the NCAA postseason.
The list includes a 2018 finalist, one of the top hurlers from an up-and-coming program and three key components from tradition-rich programs. Four of the five players are on teams that will host regionals this weekend, including two who were awarded a top-eight national seed by the selection committee.
The five finalists for the 2019 John Olerud Award, presented by the College Baseball Foundation, are juniors Tristin English from Georgia Tech, Aaron Schunk from Georgia and Will Matthiessen from Stanford, sophomore Alec Burleson from East Carolina and freshman Davis Sharpe from Clemson.
"All season long, trimming this list to semifinalists and now to finalists has proven very difficult due to the outstanding seasons put forth by all our two-way players," Olerud Award chairman George Watson said. "But these five finalists have differentiated themselves not only through the statistics they've racked up, but by being leaders of their respective teams. Each one of these finalists is more than deserving of this award."
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:
- • Tristin English, IF/RHP, Jr., Georgia Tech: English capped off a great regular season by putting his team on his back and guiding them to the championship game of the ACC tournament, thus helping the Yellow Jackets earn a No. 3 national seed. He is hitting .315 with 17 home runs and 63 RBI, while compiling a 3-0 record on the mound with a 4.22 ERA.
- • Aaron Schunk, IF/RHP, Jr., Georgia: The only repeat finalist on the list, Schunk has played an integral role in helping the Bulldogs earn the No. 4 national seed. Alhough he has thrown only 21.2 innings, he has compiled a 2.49 ERA, while hitting .336 with 11 home runs and 45 RBI.
- • Davis Sharpe, 1B/RHP, Fr., Clemson: The only true starting pitcher on the finalist list, Sharpe has proven to be the present and future for the Tigers. In 14 starts, he compiled a 6-4 record with a 3.48 ERA, striking out 80 in 77.2 innings, while hitting .264 with three home runs and 18 RBI
- • Alec Burleson, 1B/RHP, Soph., East Carolina.: Burleson proved his versatility in helping the Pirates earn a hosting spot in the NCAA tournament. He made 21 appearances on the mound with seven starts and five saves, going 5-1 with a 2.98 ERA, striking out 54 in 51.1 innings. At the plate, he is hitting .370 with nine home runs and 54 RBI.
- • Will Matthiessen, DH/RHP, Jr., Stanford: Matthiessen has been an offensive force for the Cardinals, helping lead his team to the overall No. 11 seed in the NCAA tournament. He is hitting .317 with 16 home runs and 44 RBI and a .642 slugging percentage, while going 6-2 with a 3.91 ERA, striking out 52 in 48.1 innings.
For more information on the Olerud Award or the College Baseball Hall of Fame's Night of Champions, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.