Radford senior Kyle Zurak has been named one of 25 semifinalists for the Gregg Olson Award, presented by Toolshed Sports. The award honors college baseball’s breakout player of the year. The annual award is given to a top amateur baseball player who elevates his game to an elite level throughout the season.
Zurak put together a coming out party in 2017 as the Highlanders’ closer and occasional starting pitcher. The East Amherst, N.Y. native finished the season with a 4-4 record and nine saves, while turning in a 2.40 ERA in 60.0 innings pitched. Zurak made four starts on the season, getting the ball in the Big South Tournament Championship game and the Louisville Regional elimination game.
The right-hander struck out a career-high 73 batters, yielding only nine extra-base hits on the season. Zurak limited opposing batters to a .225 clip. Appearing in 11 Big South games, Zurak led the league with a 1.03 ERA and five saves. His 73 strikeouts finished sixth best in the league.
Radford wrapped up its season on Saturday in the Louisville Regional and Zurak’s season will rank among the best in program history. Finishing his season ranked inside the program’s Top 10 in several categories, Zurak finished third in saves (9), sixth in ERA (2.40) and 10th in strikeouts (73).
In his career, Zurak appeared in 77 games, which goes down as sixth most in program history. Totaling 117 strikeouts in 120.1 career innings, Zurak is now in sole possession of third place of most strikeouts per nine innings with an 8.77 mark. His 3.74 career ERA ranks seventh best among Radford pitchers and his 10 career saves rank eighth.
Entering the 2017 season, Zurak had only thrown 60.1 innings and struck out 44 batters in 52 games.
About Gregg Olson:
After a freshman season at Auburn filled with only mixed success, Gregg 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.
Finalists will be announced during Super Regional action. The winner of the 2017 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.
2017 Gregg Olson Award semifinalists:
- Cory Abbott, LMU
- Johnny Aiello, Wake Forest
- Tanner Allison, Western Michigan
- Scott Boches, Marist
- Ben Breazeale, Wake Forest
- Rob Calabrese, UIC
- Brett Conine, CS Fullerton
- Nick Egli, Belmont
- Sam Finfer, Marshall
- Ryan Flick, Tennessee Tech
- Nick Gallagher, Binghamton
- Lincoln Henzman, Louisville
- Nick Kennedy, Texas
- Ron Marinaccio, Delaware
- Garrett McCain, Oklahoma St
- Jared Oliva, Arizona
- Matt Peacock, Southern Alabama
- Andrew Perez, South Florida
- Tristan Pompey, Kentucky
- Will Robertson, Davidson
- Taylor Schwaner, Southeast Louisiana
- Shane Selman, McNeese State
- Jake Thomopson, Oregon State
- Brock Weimer, SIUE
- Kyle Zurak, Radford