Sophomore starting pitcher Taylor Clarke has been selected as a semifinalist for the Gregg Olson Breakout Player of the Year Award.
Clarke is one of 36 players nationwide named to the semifinalist list, made to honor college baseball’s “Breakout Player of the Year.” The original Olson Award watch list named 80 players.
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, the 36 semifinalists have elevated their game to an elite level, and in many instances their team has mirrored their success as a direct result.
Clarke transferred to College of Charleston prior to this season from Towson where he suffered season-ending Tommy John surgery. In his freshman year in 2012, Clarke had a 1-4 record with a 3.88 ERA.
This season, Clarke has become CofC’s top starting pitcher with a 10-3 record and a 2.65 ERA. He ranks 19th in the nation for his number of wins and fourth in the CAA in ERA. He has held opponents to a .211 batting average which ranks second in the league. Clarke has tallied eight quality starts, including seven in his last nine starts. With his 10 wins, he became just the fourth different player to reach double digits in one season in school history.
College of Charleston has won 41 games in 2014, including a clean sweep through the CAA Tournament to earn an NCAA automatic bid. The Cougars have won 10 of the last 12 games.
A native of Ashburn, Va., Clarke will get the start against No. 8 Florida tonight in the first game of the NCAA Gainesville Regional.
Semifinalists are slated to be named Friday, May 20th at the start of NCAA Regional play and the finalists are scheduled to be announced on Friday, June 6th at the beginning of Super Regional action. The winner of the 2014 Gregg Olson Award will be named in Omaha, Nebraska during the College World Series.