LUBBOCK, Texas – St. Bonaventure University junior Aaron Phillips is one of nine national semifinalists for the 2017 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year, officials have announced.
Phillips has earned a spot on the list by way of his stellar production both on the mound and at the plate this season for the Bonnies. The Cheektowaga native has been the ace of the Bona rotation, leading the Atlantic 10 in nearly every pitching category while also being an important contributor offensively.
The Bonnies' Friday starter, he has posted a perfect 9-0 record with a 2.85 ERA in 13 appearances on the hill and entered the weekend as one of just two pitchers in the nation with at least nine wins and an undefeated record. Phillips has struck out 73 batters in his 85.1 innings of work while limiting opponents to a .209 batting average against him.
His nine wins are tied for the program record for season victories and also lead the A-10 while he stands tied for second in the league in strikeouts as well. Phillips has registered even more dominant numbers in league play, going 6-0 with a 2.53 ERA while holding A-10 batters to a .182 batting average and striking out 52 in 53.1 A-10 innings.
At the plate, Phillips has also been a key contributor. He has hit .270 with 26 RBIs on the season and also ranks third in the Atlantic 10 with 16 stolen bases. A first baseman when not pitching, he has compiled a .977 fielding percentage. He has 13 multi-hit games, including four contests with three or more hits, and is tied for the team lead with eight games of multiple RBIs.
"Every single player on the list of semifinalists, regardless of whether he is a starter or reliever, is very deserving of this award, which is what makes it so hard to get down to the final names," said George Watson, chairman of the Olerud Award committee. "You've got tremendously talented players, some of whom came into the season with great expectations and others who have helped carry their teams past preseason prognostications. Whoever wins this award will be a fantastic representative of what the Olerud Award is all about."
The award will be presented by the College Baseball Foundation later this summer.
Phillips joins an impressive list as a semifinalist for the top two-way player in the nation. Of the nine semifinalists, Phillips is one of just three players from a non-power five school while joining products from the ACC, Big Ten and Big 12. He also becomes the second Bonaventure player to earn recognition for the award in the past three seasons – Thad Johnson was named a finalist in 2015.
The Bonnies are in the midst of an impressive season, entering the final week of the regular season with a 25-17 overall record and a 14-6 mark in conference play to stand third in the Atlantic 10. Bona heads to Canisius Tuesday in the non-conference finale before completing Atlantic 10 play Thursday through Saturday vs. Fordham at Fred Handler Park. The Brown and White has clinched its first spot in the Atlantic 10 Tournament since 2008 and will head to Saint Louis for the conference tourney beginning May 24.
JOHN OLERUD TWO-WAY PLAYER OF THE YEAR SEMIFINALISTS
Aaron Phillips - St. Bonaventure
Adam Haseley - Virginia
Anthony Herrera - Louisiana-Monroe
Alex Mauricio - Norfolk State
Brendan McKay - Louisville
John McMillion - Texas Tech
Jake Meyers - Nebraska
Alex Troop - Michigan State
Braden Zarbinsky - West Virginia