Dec. 7, 2007
Lubbock, Texas - Cal State Fullerton pitcher Jeff Kaplan was named to the 2008 Preseason Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Award Watch List released Friday by the College Baseball Foundation.
The Wallace Award is in its fourth year of existence and is awarded to the nation's top collegiate baseball player. Former Titan catcher Kurt Suzuki took home the award in its first year back in 2004, and more recently, pitcher Wes Roemer was a finalist in 2006.
Kaplan was a mainstay in the Titans' 2007 rotation and posted an 11-3 record and a 3.30 ERA in 122.2 innings and will likely headline the 2008 rotation as the Friday night starter. The right-hander worked into the seventh inning or beyond in seven of his 19 starts last year, picking up wins against Top 15 opponents UCLA, UC Irvine and Wichita State as well as one against Fresno State in the San Diego Regional.
The righty form Dana Point, Calif., earned a spot on the Easton Big West All-Conference Second Team and was a two-time recipient of the league's Player of the Week honors a junior. In arguably his best outing last year, the hurler struck out a career-high 11 Wildcats in a complete-game shutout over Arizona at Goodwin Field in February.
The Titan senior is joined on the Wallace Watch List by fellow Big West players Danny Espinosa and Bryan Shaw of Long Beach State; Wes Etheridge, Scott Gorgen and Ollie Linton of UC Irvine; and Joey Gonzalez and Joe Kelly of UC Riverside.
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.