2018 Brooks Wallace Award finalists announced
The award is given annually to the nation's best shortstop
LUBBOCK, Texas -- There are two equal parts to being considered one of the top shortstops in the nation -- offense and defense.
Being well-rounded is a signature of the Brooks Wallace Award, given each year by the College Baseball Foundation to the best shortstop in the country. And this year's finalists are no different.
The five finalists have each had a tremendous impact on their team's seasons, and all are headed for the NCAA postseason this week. They are junior Terrin Vavra from Minnesota, junior Cadyn Greiner from Oregon State, junior Reid Leonard from Morehead State, junior Nico Hoerner from Stanford and junior Deacon Liput from Florida.
"It seems as if the batting averages and power statistics continue to climb as the years roll by for the shortstop position that traditionally leaned heavily on defense," said Larry Wallace, co-chair of the Wallace Award. "These five finalists seem to have it all with outstanding defensive skills to go with their offensive numbers. Not much separates our finalists this year and it's going to be a challenge to decide on our winner."
The award, sponsored by Mizuno, honors the nation's top shortstop and will be presented this summer by the College Baseball Foundation. It is named for former Texas Tech shortstop Brooks Wallace, who played for the Red Raiders from 1977 to 1980. Wallace died of leukemia at the age of 27.
Here is a closer look at the five finalists:
- •Cadyn Greiner, Jr., Oregon State: A big reason why Oregon State has been in the Top 10 all season, Greiner has been steady both at the plate and in the field. He is hitting .330 with four home runs and 42 RBI while committing just six errors for a .969 fielding percentage for the No. 3 national seed Beavers.
- •Nico Hoerner, Jr., Stanford: Hoerner helped make the first year under new head coach Dave Esquer a successful one, leading the Cardinal to the overall No. 2 seed. Hoerner was stellar for Stanford, hitting .343 with two home runs and 38 RBI while compiling a .964 fielding percentage with just seven errors.
- •Reid Leonard, Jr., Morehead State: The Ohio Valley Conference tournament champions turned it on at the right time to claim the league's automatic bid, and Leonard was a big reason why. On the year, he hit .357 with four home runs and 39 RBI while committing just four errors for a .984 fielding percentage.
- •Deacon Liput, Jr., Florida: Liput is a key reason the Gators are in a prime position to defend their 2017 national championship as the overall No. 1 seed in the 2018 playoffs. He hit .294 on the year with seven home runs and 34 RBI and, in the field, was spectacular with just two errors for a .987 fielding percentage.
- •Terrin Vavra, Jr., Minnesota: The No. 14 overall seed Golden Gophers are one of the best stories of the 2018 college baseball season, winning the Big Ten and earning a national seed. Vavra has led them the whole season, hitting .389 with nine home runs and 52 RBI while fielding at a .961 clip.
For more information on the Wallace Award or the College Baseball Hall of Fame's Night of Champions, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.