Dec. 12, 2007
Sean Barksdale of Temple, Charlotte's Chris Taylor and Brad McElroy, Richmond's Brian Alas and John Rickards of La Salle have been named to the Wallace Award Watch List, presented to the nation's top collegiate player.
Last season, McElroy became the sixth 49er to bat .400 or better in a season (.401) and paced Charlotte with 11 home runs, 68 RBI and a .661 slugging percentage. He had nearly a third of the team's hit by pitch at-bats, with 15. That total tied for the second most in team history for a season. McElroy, a senior from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, led the Atlantic 10 in hits (97), runs scored (65), RBI (68) and doubles (26), while second in the A-10 in batting average and slugging percentage. McElroy was named to the third team All-America squad by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. He was listed on the American Baseball Coaches Association All-South Region Team. He was also a first-team All-Atlantic 10 selection, as well as an A-10 All-Championship Team selection.
Taylor, a senior from Mt. Pleasant, N.C., finished fourth on the team with a .340 average, while learning the outfield position. He split time as the designated hitter and a rightfielder for the Niners, belting 25 doubles, which landed him second only to McElroy in the A-10 in that category. On the season, he hit .340 with nine home runs, 65 runs driven in and 25 doubles. He finished fourth in total bases, sixth in slugging, tied for sixth in home runs and eighth in hits in the Atlantic 10 last season. Taylor capped a great regular season with a pair of home runs in Charlotte's 12-10 regional victory over North Carolina State to eliminate the Wolfpack and thrust Charlotte to the regional finals in Columbia, S.C. Taylor garnered second-team All-Conference honors and was a member of the All-Championship team.
Also on the list is La Salle's John Rickards, a senior second baseman for the Explorers. Last season, Rickards led the Explorers in batting average (.385 - the best mark since Brian Schaller hit .415 in 1996), runs (31), triples (5), home runs (7), runs batted in (31), slugging percentage (.646), on-base percentage (.492), total bases (104), and mutli-hit (22) and multi-RBI (9) games.
Rickards was among nation's leaders in hit by pitch per game (14th), batting average (71st), and slugging percentage (57th). His 104 total bases were tied for seventh-best in a season at La Salle and his five triples were tied for third.
Barksdale, a one-time A-10 Player of the Week selection in 2007, batted a team-high .432 with runners in scoring position. He owned a 19-game hitting streak from Mar. 23-Apr. 22, batting .457 over that span. Barksdale also had five games with at least four RBI, including three in his final six games Barksdale, a first-team All-Atlantic 10 selection, made an immediate impact in the Temple lineup last spring after transferring from Gloucester CC (N.J.). He led the Owls in RBI (59), he batted .359 with 13 doubles, three triples and seven home runs and led the team in slugging percentage (.544) and stolen bases (14). The 59 runs batted in were good for fourth on the Temple all-time single-season list and marked the most at TU in 22 years.
Alas, from Port Washington, N.Y., set a school record for appearances in a season (36) in 2007. Alas picked up 14 saves as the Spiders' closer, topping the previous single-season record of 9 at Richmond. He posted a 4.77 ERA on his way to a 3-2 record in a season which the Spiders finished with an 18-9 Conference record.
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.
The Wallace Award is presented in conjunction with the College Baseball Hall of Fame's annual induction festivities. The 2008 award banquet will be held Thursday, July 3, in the United Spirit Arena on the campus of Texas Tech University.