Ball State sophomore pitcher Scott Baker as been named the inaugural Gregg Olson Award presented by Toolshed Sports. The honor is to be given to college baseball’s breakout player of the year. The award will be presented to a top amateur baseball player who elevates his game to an elite level throughout the season.
The award honors Baker’s phenomenal turnaround this season in which he finished the season with a 12-2 record and a stellar 2.18 ERA while holding opposition to a .227 batting average. He pitched 111.2 innings, which included five complete games with 88 strikeouts and only 35 walks. Last season Baker was 0-1 in 15 appearances with a 6.15 ERA in 33.2 innings. In addition to winning the Olson Award, Baker was named the Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Year and was also honored as a Louisville Slugger Third Team All-American.
Ryan Thompson of Campbell, who went 9-1 for the Camels and is currently second in the nation with a 0.88 ERA after transferring from Chemekta Community College finished second in the voting. Kerry Doane, a pitcher for the East Tennessee State Bucs who went 13-2 with a nation leading 12 complete games and four shutouts finished third. Florida State’s Scott Sitz, Bradley’s Mike Tauchman and Ryan Huck of Western Kentucky rounded out the six finalists.
The award is named after former Auburn pitching great and two-time All American Gregg Olson. After a freshman season at Auburn filled with only mixed success, Olson became one of the top collegiate players in the nation during an outstanding, unprecedented sophomore season. Despite being omitted from any preseason All American lists, Olson went on to lead the entire nation in ERA with a 1.26 mark and compiled an incredible 11-1 record with 10 saves for the Tigers. Following a summer pitching for the USA National Team where he lead the club in strikeouts, Olson returned to Auburn for another spectacular season. He led the SEC with a 2.00 ERA and amassed a triple-digit strikeout total, issuing 113 K’s in only 72 innings with only 27 walks. He finished his collegiate career with back-to-back First Team All American honors, a 25-7 record, 3.03 ERA, 20 saves, 271 strikeouts and redefined the way college coaches used their top pitcher.
The Olson Award has been developed to honor college baseball’s success stories and showcase players like Olson who have raised the level of their game through hard work, strength of mind and determination. Eligible players will be those who are omitted from major publication’s preseason All American prognostications; however by the end of the season their on the field performance will demonstrate that they are among the top amateur baseball players in the nation.
Initial nominations for the award were made by sports information/media contacts and voting was conducted by a panel of college baseball media members. A fan Internet vote also contributed to the crowning of the winner.