OMAHA, Neb. – The list of 80 initial nominees for the 2014 Gregg Olson Award presented by Toolshed Sports has been reduced to just 12 finalists. Among this year's group of 12 is Elon utility player Casey Jones. The Gregg Olson Award is presented annually to college baseball's "Breakout Player of the Year."
A year after hitting .287 with 25 runs scored, nine doubles and 17 RBIs in 48 games as a sophomore, Jones became one of the top hitters in the nation in 2014. Following his junior season, Jones has already been named a second-team Louisville Slugger All-American, the Southern Conference Player of the Year and a first-team all-league honoree.
He led the SoCon and ranked among the top five in the nation with a .418 batting average this year. Jones became just the third Elon player to finish with a batting average of .400 or better during the program's NCAA Division I tenure. His .418 average was the highest by an Elon player since Jeff Kipila batted .438 in 1988.
Jones won Elon's triple crown by also pacing the Phoenix with seven homers and 53 RBIs. He also led the league with a .668 slugging percentage, a .502 on-base percentage, 82 hits, 20 doubles and 131 total bases.
Over the course of the season, Jones put together a 26-game hitting streak, a program-best at the Division I level. In fact, the Midlothian, Va., resident recorded at least one hit in 47 of the team's 53 games. He also reached base safely (walk, hit or hit-by-pitch) in 51 of the 53 outings.
The award is named after former Auburn Tiger star pitcher Gregg Olson, who became one of the top collegiate players in the nation after an initial season filled with only mixed success. Olson went on to become a two-time All-American, first-round draft pick, American League Rookie of the Year and MLB All-Star. Like Olson, these players have elevated their game to an elite level and, in many instances, their teams have mirrored their success as a direct result.
The finalists and winner are determined by an independent panel. The winner of the 2014 Gregg Olson Award will be named in Omaha, Neb., during the College World Series, which is to be held this season at TD Ameritrade Park from June 14-24/25.
For more information on the award, visit www.olsonaward.com.
2014 Gregg Olson Award Finalists
Will Allen, C, Mississippi
Jace Conrad, 2B, Louisiana
Tyler Davis, SP, Washington
Mike Franco, SP, Florida International
Casey Jones, UT, Elon
Nathan Kirby, SP, Virginia
Jacob Lindgren, RP, Mississippi State
Jordan Luplow, OF, Fresno State
Sam Moore, RP, UC Irvine
Tyler Neslony, OF, Texas Tech
Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw State
Drew Weeks, OF, North Florida