June 30, 2012
LUBBOCK, Texas -- Pepperdine shortstop Zach Vincej has been named the recipient of the prestigious Brooks Wallace Award, given to the nation's top collegiate shortstop, it was announced Saturday at the Collegiate Baseball Hall of Fame's Night of Champions.
Vincej (Saugus, Calif./Saugus HS) becomes the first Wave to ever win the honor, after finishing his junior campaign batting .339, and most notably only making four errors in 59 games played at shortstop. Vincej finished with a fielding percentage of .986, taking part in 35 double plays as part of the leading WCC tandem with second baseman Joe Sever. At one point during the season he went 20-straight games without an error. Fittingly, the final out of the WCC title-clinching game against San Diego was recorded as a 6-3 putout. For his efforts with the leather, Vincej was named WCC Defensive Player of the Year, becoming just the second Wave all-time to win the award. He also earned All-WCC honors for the second time in his career.
The junior collected 39 RBI, second most on the team and boasted an on base percentage of .848 from his leadoff spot in the order. One of the Waves' team captains, Vincej finished the year third in the conference with 82 hits, second with 56 runs scored and tied for first with 18 doubles. His .339 batting average was a career high and 10th best in the conference.
He also had a career and team high 17 game hitting streak from April 22 through June 1 and a career high two home runs. The first came on March 11, as he led off the game with a home run in a victory over Rhode Island. The second came on April 22 in a road victory over WCC foe Santa Clara. Vincej also led the Waves with 26 multi-hit games. He also had seven sacrifice flies on the year, good for 24th best in the nation.
Head coach Steve Rodriguez, who was present at the awards ceremony in Lubbock, said, "This is a great weekend for Zach Vincej and Pepperdine baseball. To be named the best shortstop in the country by receiving the Brooks Wallace Award is an amazing accomplishment and a great testament to the person and player Zach Vincej has become. Pepperdine has produced some great infielders, and this award has put Zach Vincej in an elite level in our programs history."
Vincej boasts a career batting average of .282 and has started 143 of the 145 games he has appeared in during his career as a Wave thus far. The junior was drafted in the 37th round of the MLB First Year Player Draft by the Cincinnati Reds, marking the first time in his career that he has been drafted.