Dec. 7, 2007
Lubbock, Texas - Junior left-hander's Brian Matusz and Josh Romanski along with sophomore closer AJ Griffin highlight the list of players named to the pre-season release of the 2008 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Award Watch List.
Matusz, a Team USA member and quarterfinalist for the Wallace Award a year ago, finished his sophomore season with an overall record of 10-3 and an ERA of 2.85. Matusz set a new single-season strikeout record of 163. The Cave Creek, Ariz., native also placed himself second in single-game strikeouts with a career-high 13, a feet he has achieved three times this past season. Matusz was also an All-WCC first-team honoree.
Romanski, a native of Corona, Calif., has been a valuable two-way star for the Toreros this past season. Romanski posted a 9-1 record on the mound with a 3.05 ERA. Romanski was also the team's third-leading hitter with a .335 batting average, had 75 hits, 10 doubles, two triples, three home runs and 30 RBI while rotating between the pitcher, designated hitter and centerfield positions. Romanski was also a first-team All-WCC selection and a member of the 2007 Team USA baseball team along with Matusz.
Griffin, a first-team All-West Coast Conference selection, quickly became a big help for the Toreros, as he served as USD's primary closer. The right-hander from Grossmont High School, etched his name into the single-season record books at USD having recorded 11 saves on the season to place second in the category, only trailing Tony Perez's 13 saves set during the 2003 season. Griffin posted an overall record of 6-2 with a team-leading 2.70 ERA. Griffin also fanned 65 batters and issued only 23 walks in 34 appearances this season.
"After a great fall baseball season, we can see that the talent level in college baseball will once again be great. We have several from last year's Wallace Watch that we will continue to follow, and we look forward to tracking the new additions as well", said Raymond Richardson, Chair of Brooks Wallace National Player of the Year Award Committee.
The Wallace Award is presented to the nation's top collegiate baseball player in conjunction with the College Baseball Hall of Fame's annual induction festivities. The 2008 award banquet will be held Thursday, July 3, in the United Spirit Arena on the campus of Texas Tech University.
Last year's Brooks Wallace award went to Vanderbilt pitcher, David Price. Price was the first overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft and is currently pitching in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. The 2006 winner was standout pitcher/designated hitter Brad Lincoln of Houston. Nebraska's Alex Gordon, now with the Kansas City Royals, took home the 2005 trophy. The inaugural award was given in 2004 to Kurt Suzuki of Cal State Fullerton, who is now catching for the Oakland A's.
The Wallace Award is a dedication to the memory of the former Texas Tech player and assistant coach Brooks Wallace. Wallace was a slick-fielding shortstop at Texas Tech from 1977 to 1980. A four-year starter, he was named All-Southwest Conference and All-District his senior year. He led the Red Raiders to their first-ever appearance in the Southwest Conference Tournament in 1980. After playing two years in the Texas Rangers organization, he returned to Texas Tech and served as a graduate assistant and later as an assistant coach. In the summer of 1984, he was diagnosed with cancer and fought the disease courageously until his death on March 24, 1985, at age 27. The Plano, TX, native was married to the former Sandy Arnold and they had one daughter, Lindsay Ryan.