CCU’s Beckwith surprise recipient of Olson Award

ccubase-Andrew Beckwith vs TCU at College World SeriesIn a surprise announcement, Coastal Carolina’s Andrew Beckwith has been named the winner of the 2016 Gregg Olson Award for Breakout Player of the Year. The crowning of Beckwith as the winner was a bit unexpected as the hurler hadn’t been named on either the semifinalist or finalist lists; however his incredible postseason performance has left little question that the Chanticleer ace wasn’t deserving of the award.

Beckwith saved his best and most impressive performances for the end of the season on the nation’s biggest stage with a pair of phenomenal pitching performances in Omaha at the College World Series. In CCU’s first ever game at the CWS, he threw his first career complete game came as he led the Chanticleers to a 2-1 victory over top ranked Florida. In the outing he needed only 98 pitches, didn’t walk a batter and retired the last 10 batters he faced to earn the win. Five days later in the series, with his team facing elimination against third ranked TCU, he again threw a complete game, allowing only a single run in the Chants’ crucial win. Coastal would use the win as a springboard to defeat TCU again the next night to earn a spot on the CWS finals against Arizona.

With the wins in Omaha, Beckwith established a new CCU record for wins in a season and he tops the NCAA in pitching victories with a lopsided 14-1 record. By only allowing two runs in 18 innings against the two top teams, he lowered his season ERA to 1.94 which is 18th nationally and first in the Big South Conference. He’s appeared in 25 games this season, totaling 111 1/3 innings. During his time on the hill he’s only issued 15 walks while striking out 73 strikeouts batters.

Earlier in the postseason, Beckwith came up big as well. He earned the decisive win in relief at the Raleigh Regional Championship Final against host NC State and also earned the “W” as the starter in the regional opener against St. Mary’s. In Super Regional action against LSU he was roughed up a bit by the Tigers’ bats, but performed well enough to keep CCU in the game and allowed the Chants to get the win and earn their first trip to Omaha.

Beckwith’s rise to Twitter trending status came as a surprise following a rather ho-hum sophomore season. While his 6-4 record and a 3.26 ERA were nothing to scoff at, there were little indication of his torrential breakout success in 2016.  Beckwith’s breakout numbers not only demonstrated his was one of the nation’s elite pitchers, but cemented Coastal Carolina’s place as a premier program in the country as well. For those reasons, Andrew Beckwith is the 2016 Gregg Olson Award winner for Breakout Player of the Year.

The award is named after former Auburn pitching great and two-time All American Gregg Olson. After a freshman season at Auburn filled with only mixed success, Olson became one of the top collegiate players in the nation during an outstanding, unprecedented sophomore season. Despite being omitted from any preseason All American lists, Olson went on to lead the entire nation in ERA with a 1.26 mark and compiled an incredible 11-1 record with 10 saves for the Tigers.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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