College baseball: Louisville's Brendan McKay wins third straight John Olerud Award
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Having already set the standard as the only two-time winner of the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award in 2015 and 2016, University of Louisville junior lefthanded pitcher and first baseman Brendan McKay took it to another level Monday, earning the honor for an unprecendented third consecutive season as the 2017 recipient.
The Darlington, Pennsylvania native separated himself in 2017 as not only the best two-way player in the country, but as the nation's top overall collegiate baseball player, having already received a pair of National Player of the Year honors from Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball newspaper. Serving as the ace in the starting pitching rotation for No. 7 Louisville, which earned its fourth College World Series berth in school history on Saturday, McKay is also the cleanup hitter for the Cardinals.
On the mound, McKay has a 10-3 record this season with a 2.34 ERA and a school-record 140 strikeouts in 104.0 innings pitched, while opposing batters are hitting just .188 against him. During his three-year collegiate career, McKay has accumulated a 31-10 record with a 2.15 ERA and 385 strikeouts, the most ever for a Louisville pitcher. McKay has finished with eight or more strikeouts 28 times, including a career-best 15 against Pittsburgh on March 10.
At the plate, the lefty-swinging standout has a .343 batting average, 17 home runs, 13 doubles, 56 RBIs and a .464 on-base percentage in 60 starts as a hitter this season. On April 25, McKay made national headlines after matching a school record with four home runs in Louisville's 14-4 win at Eastern Kentucky. In 179 career starts and 186 total appearances as a hitter, McKay has a .328 career batting average with 27 home runs, 46 doubles and 131 RBIs.
Along with his national player of the year awards, McKay's 2017 honors include being named the ACC Player of the Year as well as being chosen a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and the National Player of the Month in February by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
The John Olerud Award is named for the former Washington State University standout who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s and who was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The award will be presented by the College Baseball Foundation in July in conjunction with the MLB All-Star Game festivities in Miami. For more information on the Olerud Award or the College Baseball Foundation, visit www.collegebaseballhall.org.
McKay and the No. 7 Cardinals (52-10) will open the 2017 College World Series against Texas A&M on either Saturday or Sunday at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. The complete schedule for the 2017 CWS is expected to be announced Monday night.