June 4, 2013
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech junior Zane Evans has been named one of three national finalists for the Johnny Bench Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top collegiate catcher. The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission administers the award that is presented by BaseballSavings.com.
The three national finalists are Evans, Mitchell Garver of New Mexico and Stuart Turner of Ole Miss. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 16th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 27.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Zane for the season he’s had,” said head coach Danny Hall. “The Johnny Bench Award is one of the most prestigious in college baseball, and for him to be one of the finalists is a tremendous honor that is very well deserved. Zane goes about his business in a very professional matter and is extremely dedicated to the game both on and off the field. We’ve asked a lot of him over the last two years – offensively, catching and pitching – and he’s delivered.”
Evans, a leading candidate to be the ACC Player of the Year, was a first-team All-ACC pick at catcher and earned mention on the Louisville Slugger All-America Team. He paced the Yellow Jackets offensively and finished three home runs shy of winning Tech’s first Triple Crown since Mark Teixeira in 1999.
The junior from Roswell, Ga., led Tech in batting average (.361), was tied for the team lead in RBI (66), led the team with nine game-winning RBI, was second in home runs (14), second in hits (88), second in slugging (.590) and second in on-base percentage (.430). All of those numbers were career highs for Evans, who started every game, including 40 behind the plate as one of the ACC’s best defensive catchers.
Since the inception of the Johnny Bench Award in 2000, Evans is the second Yellow Jacket to be named a finalist, joining current Baltimore Orioles’ catcher Matt Wieters (2007).
Along with being a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award, Evans is among the national semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy and is in consideration for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award.
In addition to his offensive numbers, Evans was 2-2 on the mound with a 3.38 ERA and a team-high three saves. His two wins came in relief over No. 1 North Carolina and in an NCAA Regional elimination game versus Illinois.
Georgia Tech finished the 2013 season with a 37-27 record, pushing No. 2 Vanderbilt to a winner-take-all game in the Nashville Regional. The NCAA appearance for the Jackets was the team’s sixth straight and its 27th over the last 29 seasons.