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A dozen deserving players have been named finalists for the 2014 Gregg Olson Award presented by Toolshed Sports. The honor is given to college baseball’s breakout player of the year. The award is presented to a top amateur baseball player who elevates his game to an elite level throughout the season.

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 was 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 are those who were omitted from major publication’s preseason All American prognostications; however by the end of the season their on the field performance have demonstrated that they are among the top amateur baseball players in the nation.

The winner of the 2014 Gregg Olson Award will be named in Omaha, Nebraska during the College World Series which is to be held this season at TD Ameritrade Park from June 14-June 24/25. Initial nominations were made by sports information/media contacts and voting was conducted by a panel of college baseball media members.

The twelve finalists are:

Will Allen, C –Mississippi
Last season Allen was last amongst Rebel everyday starters with a 231 batting average. This season he has been in contention for Johnny Bench Award and Dick Howser Trohpy as he has led Ole Miss to the Super Regionals with his .351 batting average and stellar play behind the plate.

Jace Conrad, 2B – Louisiana
Conrad put up respectable numbers last season hitting .286, but has erupted this season. Conrad won the Sun Belt Player of the Year honor and has helped guide the top ranked Ragin’ Cajuns with a .377 average with over 30 extra base hits.

Tyler Davis, SP – Washington
Davis was 2-7 last season with a 5.11 ERA, a far cry from his remarkable output this year. The Huskies’ hurler finished with a 1.60 ERA and 11-2 record. Davis helped lead UW to its first NCAA tournament game in 10 years.

Mike Franco, SP – Florida International
Franco had a pedestrian 5-4 record last season with an equally unimpressive 5.23 ERA. This year he has been the ace of one of the nation’s most dominating pitching staffs, going 9-3 for FIU with a tiny 1.09 ERA which places him second in the nation.

Casey Jones, UTL – Elon
Jones was a part-time starter last season, batting 287 with 25 runs. This year he earned the SoCon Player of the Year title as well as All American accolades after finishing in the top five in the nation in batting at .418 with over 30 extra base hits.

Nathan Kirby, SP – Virginia
Virginia’s Nathan Kirby had a respectable 4-1 record last season, but his inflated 6.06 ERA didn’t do much to put fear in opposing batters. This year he intimidated teams all season going 9-1 with a 1.36 ERA with 102 strikeouts in 99 innings.

Jacob Lindgren, RP – Mississippi State
Lindgren was 4-3 with a 4.18 ERA as a starter for the Bulldogs last season. He moved to the bullpen this year where he flourished. He was named a finalist for the Stopper of the Year as he posted a 0.81 ERA and K’d a phenomenal 100 batters in just 55 innings.

Jordan Luplow, OF – Fresno State
Luplow batted .278 last season and his honors were limited to his academic successes. In 2014 the Bulldog outfielder was named the Mountain West Player of the Year after hitting .377 with 21 doubles and nine homeruns.

Sam Moore, RP – UC Irvine
Moore had a robust 5.06 ERA in 12 uneventful appearances last season. This year Moore has a chance to break the NCAA single season record for saves as he has 23 so far with a 1.88 ERA as UCI plays for a return trip to Omaha.

Tyler Neslony, OF – Texas Tech
Neslony’s on the field action was sparse and unimposing last year, only batting .227 in a small role. This year the sophomore outfielder’s elevated play has the Red Raiders on the verge of heading to Omaha as he his hitting a robust .393.

Max Pentecost, C – Kennesaw State
Pentecost put up solid numbers last year; however he has blossomed this season to become a Dick Howser Award finalist and first round draft selection. The Owls’ slugger is hitting .423 with 23 doubles and 9 homeruns along with 17 stolen bases.

Drew Weeks, OF – North Florida
Weeks almost hit .300 last season, finishing at .298. This year he’s skipped the .300s altogether, finishing the year with a nation topping .430 average . He also had 13 doubles, four triples and six homeruns for the Ospreys.