Scott Baker, a sophomore pitcher on the Ball State baseball team in 2013, has been named the winner of the inaugural Gregg Olson Award presented by Toolshed Sports.
The honor is to be given to college baseball’s breakout player of the year and is 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 earned-run average, 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.
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 led 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.
The Cardinals finished the season with a 31-24 overall record and placed second in the MAC West Division with a 15-12 league mark. Ball State, under the direction of head coach Rich Maloney, advanced to the championship game of the MAC Tournament without a loss, but was eliminated in the final.