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GREGG OLSON AWARD NEWS

OMAHA, NE > The semifinalists for the inaugural Gregg Olson Award, presented by Toolshed Sports, have been named. Through hard work, strength of mind and determination these forty-six players have made the list to honor college baseball's "Breakout Player of the Year". The award is named after former Auburn Tiger star pitcher Gregg Olson, who became one of the top collegiate players in the nation after an initial season filled with only mixed success. Olson went on to become a two-time All American, first round draft pick, American League Rookie of the Year and MLB All Star. Like Olson, these players have elevated their game to an elite level and in many instances their team has mirrored their success as a direct result.

Initial nominations were made by sports information/media contacts and the semifinalists were determined by made by an independent panel. A list of finalists is scheduled to be announced on Monday, June 3rd in conjunction with the conclusion of NCAA Regional play. The winner of the 2013 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 15-June 25/26. 2013

GREGG OLSON AWARD SEMIFINALISTS:

Aguilar, Gabe New Mexico His last two seasons, Aguilar finished the year with ERAs of 6.38 and 7.20. This year he's become an integral part of the Lobos' bullpen, providing solid relief as he's pacing the club with a 2.45 ERA in 25 appearances and has 34 K's in 33 innings while holding opposition to a .219 average.
Anderson, Eli Northern Illinois As a freshman Anderson had a 9.53 ERA and followed it up with a 6.79 mark his second season. This year he's put together one of the best pitching seasons in NIU history going 9-4 with a 2.01 ERA with six complete games and a  a 1.11 WHIP to be named First Team All MAC.
Baker, Scott Ball State Baker appeared in 15 uneventful games last season, finishing the year winless with a 6.15 ERA in 33.2 innings of work. This season the sophomore is putting together an All American season with a 11-1 record, 1.63 ERA and holding opposition to a .218 average while throwing five complete games.
Belicek, Trevor Texas A&M Corpus Christi Belicek struggled to find a role in 2012, batting .154 in 13 at bats and compiling a 5.91 ERA in 10.2 innings scattered throughout nine appearances. This season he was called to make a spot start out of the bullpen and has been in rotation ever since. Has gone 8-1 with 2.84 ERA which included a shutout one-hitter over Central Arkansas.
Borden, Buddy UNLV Buddy was a friend to opposition last season as he had a robust 4.94 ERA and 2-5 record. He's now one of the last pitchers batters want to face as he's emerged to lead the Rebels in ERA (2.19), wins (8-1) and innings at 94.2.
Boulware, Garrett Clemson Boulware hit only .214 in 56 at bats last season, but over the off-season developed into the player Jack Leggett knew he could be when he recruited him. This season Boulware is batting .310 as the Tigers' catcher and is leading the team in both home runs (7) and slugging percentage (.473).
Burke, Devin Virginia Tech Burke's 2012 season was rather pedestrian, appearing in a dozen games with a 4.12 ERA in 24 innings. However this season he's become one of Tech's most dependable players on the mound, earning a team high nine wins with only three losses and a a 3.49 ERA.
Carroll, Chad James Madison Carroll was on the CAA All-Rookie Team last year, but didn't particularly blow anyone away, batting .279 with few offensive frills. This year Carroll emerged as top hitter, flirting with .400 and is leading the Dukes in slugging percentage and the nation in triples with 20 stolen bases to boot.
Connolly, Mike Maine Connolly struggled on the mound last season, finishing with a losing record and a 5.60 ERA. He didn't fare better at the plate, batting .147. However this season he has had a complete turnaround in both aspects of his game. He's leading the team with a 2.04 ERA with two complete games and batting .311 to be named to the Olerud Award Watch List.
Dempsey, Trace Ohio State After finishing his freshman campaign with an inflated 5.06 ERA, few people who have thought that Dempsey would emerge as one of the nation's top closers. So far this season he's 2-0 with 16 saves and a teeny 0.29 ERA in 27 appearances.
Diaz, Christian Miami FL Diaz was a spot reliever last season with mixed success in 2012, going 2-1 with a 4.18 ERA. This year he's been a rock for the 'Canes rotation, starting 10 games with a 2.01 ERA and only issuing 11 walks in 71.2 innings.
Doane, Kerry East Tennessee State Doane was a valuable member of the Bucs last season as he hit both hit and pitched, but didn't put up remarkable numbers doing either. This year Doane has emerged as one of the nation's winningest and durable pitchers, going 12-1 with a 2.07 ERA and 11 (ELEVEN!) complete games.
Durdaller, Christiaan Samford After being plagued by injuries most of his career, Durdaller has finally broken out as a senior and is leading the Bulldogs with 14 home runs and is second on club in average and RBI. Over the past year he raised his batting average from .265 to .364 so he's got that going for him too.
Falcone, Joey Columbia Falcone served three tours of duty with the Marines and just recently joined the Columbia baseball team in the fall. He started out the season as a pinch hitter, but has worked his way into the lineup and has batted cleanup for the entire conference season, hitting .336 with a team leading .536 slugging percentage.
Fisher, Austin Kansas State Fisher showed signs of promise last season after he hit .295 in limited action. Once he finally found a spot in the everyday lineup, Fisher has turned into one of the 'Cats most dangerous hitters, batting .358 with 23 extra base hits to help KSU win their first conference regular-season title in 80 years.
Ford, Mike Princeton Not only did Ford raise his batting average from .272 to .320 and nearly win the triple crown in league play, he also lowered his ERA from 3.60 to 0.98 and has been named to the watch list for the John Olerud Award for Two-Way Player of the Year. He was also recently named the Ivy League Player of the Year.
Fowler, Chase Southern Miss In 2011 and 2012 Fowler's average was .233 and .239 respectively. He was a solid presence behind the plate but only contributed minimally when at it. This year Fowler is a Johnny Bench Award Semifinalist as he has improved as average a hundred points and is batting .333. He's also thrown out over half of attempted base stealers.
Graham, Brent Campbell Graham was expected to be a big contributor last season, but only managed to hit .213 for the year This year the senior shortstop has lead the way for the Big South champion Camels offensively, leading the team in batting at .392 while providing solid glove work up the middle.
Grogg, Tyler Toledo In 2012, Grogg started 20 of 48 games and batted .200 with 11 runs, a pair of doubles and seven RBI. This season he's been nothing short of sensational at the top of the Rockets' lineup, leading the team with a .349 batting average with 31 stolen bases.
Hagen, Sean Eastern Kentucky Hagen is leading the Colonels in batting this season, with his .364 batting average well beyond any of his EKU teammates. It's quite the surprise considering he was last among everyday Eastern Kentucky starters last season as he hit only .252 and batted only .211 as a freshman.
Homick, Max San Diego Homick never quite clicked his freshman campaign, finishing the year with a 7.24 ERA in 11 appearances. This year he's excelled in a dual role, compiling a 4-1 record with a 2.70 ERA which includes five starts and four saves.
Huck, Ryan Western Kentucky Huck's numbers had been getting progressively worse during his college career, bottoming out with a .232 average with three home runs last season. His numbers have been spectacular this season, leading the Sun Belt in home runs (15), slugging percentage (.697) and ranks third in average (.372).
Jackson, Joe The Citadel Jackson batted a respectable .279 last season but didn't exactly show signs of the same swing his great-great-great uncle, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson had. This year Jackson is hitting in the heart of the Bulldog order, batting .363 with 12 home runs and a team leading 62 RBI.
Keele, Ryan Nebraska-Omaha Keele, like most of the Mavs, was off the radar going into the season. He took 2012 off after playing sparingly at Northwestern State and is a now a big reason UNO won the Summit League title in just their second year at DI. He's hitting .385 and has hit half of UNO's 12 home runs for the season.
LaGrange, Ryan UNC Wilmington Last year in limited action LaGrange batted .050. That's no typo, he batted fifty. This season LaGrange has busted out to hit a second-on-the-team .374 to help the Seahawks capture the CAA regular season title.
Lecount, Bobby New Mexico State Lecount led the Aggies in home runs last season with a dozen, but hit a dismal .237. This year he's kept his power number up while also finding some outfield green and has raised his average to a lofty .343, bested only by teammate Tanner Rust who just barely missed this list.
Masek, Trey Texas Tech Entering this season Masek had 34 career appearances with success here and there, but never hit stride; that definitely hasn't been the case this year. Masek is near the top ten nationally with a 1.52 ERA and is limiting opposition to a .204 batting average.
McKenzie, Jeff CSU Bakersfield McKenzie was a late edition to the list because he was almost too good to have a breakout season as he had a 2.67 ERA with five complete games last year. Nonetheless, the senior has taken his game to a higher level, as he's a phenomenal 12-2 with a 1.79 ERA and has thrown over 105 innings with only 24 walks.
Musgrave, Harrison West Virginia Musgrave had a 4.61 ERA in 10 games as a freshman before an elbow season cost them the remainder of the year as well as the entire 2012 season. He's come back to brilliant success, capturing the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year honor as he's gone 8-1 with a 2.14 ERA with three complete games.
Papi, Mike Virginia Papi's freshman season was filled with promise as he hit a respectable .283 before being sidelined with an injury. This season he's one of the top hitters in the nation, batting .408 with 22 extra base hits and 39 walks for an astonishing .546 OB%.
Parr, Justin Illinois Parr hit .290 with three home runs and 38 RBIs in a run-of-the-mill season in 2012. This season Parr has been one of the most difficult outs in the Big 10, nay the nation, batting .415 with a .610 slugging percentage and a team leading 24 extra base hits and 51 RBI.
Perez, Austin Stetson Perez showed signs of brilliance last season but when the final numbers were in he finished with a 6.25 ERA and 1-4 record. His turnaround has been phenomenal in 2013 as he's emerged as the Hatters' top hurler, going 7-2 with a 2.95 ERA.
Peter, Jake Creighton Peter's glove put him in starting lineup last season, but his offense was a liability as he only managed to hit .217. This season he's leading the upstart Jays with a .345 batting average and has also emerged as CU's closer, earning six saves and a pair of wins in 14 relief appearances.
Peterson, Brandon Wichita State Players stats usually don't improve dramatically when they transfer from a community college, but that's the case for Peterson. He had a 4.94 ERA last season and allowed batters to hit .280 against him. This season he's the Shockers' closer with nine saves, a 3-1 record, a dainty 1.24 ERA and is holding opposition to a .183 average.
Prain, Chad Georgia State Georgia State found a diamond in the rough with Chad Prain. He hit just .271 for Southern Union Community College last season, but is batting a team leading .394 and has been named to the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Watch List for his high-energy, elite play.
Pruitt, Austin Houston One of the big reasons for Houston's turnaround this year is Pruitt who is putting together a tremendous season. He had a ho-hum 3-4 record with a 4.25 in 2012, but has emerged this year with a 9-5 mark with a 2.84 ERA, four complete games and 88 K's, all of which lead the team.
Renner, Michael North Florida Renner finished last season with a 3-7 record and a 4.44 ERA. He had some strong outings, but nothing like he's doing this year. Renner has a 9-1 record with a 1.79 ERA and has only allowed 14 walks in 85.2 innings pitched to just miss making first the team All A-Sun team.
Shelinsky Jr., Steven Pitt Shelinsky had just three career starts and four career hits before the season and batted just .059 in limited action last year. This season Shelinsky has a team leading 12 home runs, is second on the club in RBI with 52 and is batting .314 for the Panthers who have put together one of their best seasons in program history.
Shortall, Matt UT Arlington Shortall put up solid numbers in 2012, batting .262 in 41 games with 25 RBI. However he's truly blossomed over the offseason and is leading the WAC champion Mavs in hits (80), doubles (18), home runs (8) and RBI (54) with a .362 batting average.
Sitz, Scott Florida Sate With a 3.72 ERA and 4-3 record Sitz showed promise of big things to come; especially after his best performance of the year at the 2012 College World Series. This year Sitz has emerged as an ace, going 9-1 with a 1.66 ERA and is keeping FSU in contention for another run to Omaha.
Sparks, Taylor UC Irvine Sparks struggled at the plate last season, hitting near the Mendoza line as he finished with a .202 average in 124 at bats. Has become invaluable member of the 'Eaters lineup this year, batting at a .359 clip and leading UCI with nine home runs.
Stubbs, Cody North Carolina Stubbs batted .258 last season with 35; decent numbers, but nothing like what he'd doing this year. Stubbs has raised his average nearly 100 points (.352) and has 21 doubles and 66 RBI which puts him in the top 20 nationally in both categories.
Suchy, Michael Florida Gulf Coast Suchy's 2012 highlights were limited to pinch hits and intermittent stolen bases as he hit just .195 with only four extra base hits. This year he's raised his average to .320 for the season with an Eagles' leading nine home runs, 46 RBI and seven stolen bases.
Tauchman, Mike Bradley It's hard for a player to be a breakout star after a season in which he batted .305 and was honorable mention all conference, but Tauchman took his game to infinity and beyond, batting a nation leading .437 with 27 stolen bases in 28 attempts and has been named the Joe Carter MVC Player of the Year for his effort.
Thompson, Ryan Campbell Thompson put up decent numbers at Chemekta CC last season, but none that were indicative of the success he'd have this year at Campbell. Thompson has a perfect 8-0 record with nine saves for the surprising Camels and his 0.82 ERA in 28 games is a big reason CU won the Big South regular season.
Verlander, Ben Old Dominion Verlander's 2012 highlights included a three games hitting streak and a diving catch, so needless to say he wasn't on anyone's radar as big time performer. This season he's been named CAA Player of the Week three times as he's batting .367 with a .638 SLG%. Yes, Justin is his brother.

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