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Nation's top two-way players recognized on watch list

LUBBOCK, Texas -- As teams begin to set their sights on the postseason, the National College Baseball Hall of Fame announced the first watch list for its 2016 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, which honors the nation's top player who both hits and pitches.

A total of 24 players representing conferences and schools large and small are on the watch list. Included on the list are players from traditional powers such as Louisville, Arizona, Virginia and TCU and encompassing both veteran players and some of the game's new, fresh faces.

"We are thrilled to have such tremendous talent on our initial Olerud watch list for this season," Olerud Award co-chair Chris Curbo said. "We may have last year's award winner back for this season, but that by no means assures he will win it again with such great players to watch out for."

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 as part of the Hall of Fame's Night of Champions celebration July 1-2 in Lubbock.

Headlining this year's watch list is last year's winner, sophomore Brendan McKay of Louisville. The left-hander/first baseman is hitting .315 with three home runs and 23 RBI while taking over the Saturday starting role for the fifth-ranked Cardinals. On the mound he is 7-1 with a 2.15 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings.

But McKay is facing some stiff competition for the award early this year. Wake Forest junior infielder and right-handed pitcher Will Craig is tearing it up at the plate with a .442 average and 10 home runs with 45 RBI while recording five saves and a 1.80 ERA on the mound.

Defending national champion Virginia has two players on the watch list. Sophomore left-hander and outfielder Adam Haseley is 6-1 with a 1.60 ERA. In eight starts he has struck out 33 in 45 innings, and at the plate he is hitting .322 with four home runs and 37 RBI. Teammate Kevin Doherty has a 1.74 ERA in 18 appearances and is hitting .211.

One of the top newcomers on the list is also one of the top freshmen in the nation. TCU first baseman and right-hander Luken Baker is hitting .344 with three home runs and 36 RBI. On the mound he is 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings while serving as the Horned Frogs' Friday starter.

"We had a tremendous task in picking last year's winner, and the talent on this year's list tops that," Olerud award co-chair George Watson said. "The incumbent is going to have plenty of company throughout the season to try to repeat as the 2016 winner. It should be a fun group to keep track of as the season progresses."

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

 

2016 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Watch List

Name School Conference
Brandon Gold Georgia Tech ACC
Brendan McKay Louisville ACC
Kevin Doherty Virginia ACC
Adam Haseley Virginia ACC
Will Craig Wake Forest ACC
Thad Johnson St. Bonaventure Atlantic 10
Corbin Olmstead North Florida Atlantic Sun
Carmen Benedetti Michigan Big 10
Matt Fiedler Minnesota Big 10
Sheldon Neuse Oklahoma Big 12
Luken Baker TCU Big 12
Daniel Brumbaugh Richmond Colonial Athletic
Dane Myers Rice Conference USA
Darick Hall Dallas Baptist Missouri Valley
Trenton Brooks Nevada Mountain West
Andrew Hinckley Central Conn. State Northeast
Ryan Brennan Fairleigh-Dickinson Northeast
Alex Robles Austin Peay Ohio Valley
Bobby Dalbec Arizona Pac-12
Danny Rafferty Bucknell Patriot
Brian Sharp Missouri SEC
Ryan Cate Nebraska-Omaha Summit
Anthony Herrera Louisiana-Monroe Sun Belt
Sean Watkins Loyola-Marymount West Coast
Anthony Gonsolin St. Mary's (Calif.) West Coast

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