WICHITA, Kansas – On Wednesday evening, Brent Diaz was named one of 15 semifinalists for the Johnny Bench Award presented by BaseballSavings.com which is annually awarded to the top catcher in college baseball.
“I am proud of Brent,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “If it was up to me, he would win it, hands-down. If there is a harder working catcher in the country, I would like to see him. The guy just works his tail off and he is a good teammate. He comes to the park every day ready to play. His energy and makeup are off the charts. He is self-made. He was not highly recruited out of high school and he came in here and worked his tail off for three years. He is a joy to be around and it is an honor.”
Diaz, who is hitting at a .335 clip this season, leads Louisiana Tech with 19 doubles, while also blasting nine home runs and driving in 48 runs. Diaz also set a LA Tech single-season record with 20 hit-by-pitches to this point in the year.
“It is a by-product of my teammates and coaches pouring into me every single day,” Diaz said. “My success is a by-product of what other people pour into me. I’m not on that list because of what I have done, it is because my teammates and coaches have put me into that position. I am fortunate and grateful to be named [a semifinalist], but again it is not about me personally, it is about the people who have poured into my life to help me achieve that.”
The Miami, Florida native has registered a team-high .599 slugging percentage and has a .438 on-base percentage, giving him a team-leading 1.037 OPS for the year.
Behind the dish, Diaz is throwing out runners at around a 45 percent rate which ranks tops in Conference USA among eligible catchers.
“You know your program is headed in the right direction when guys start getting drafted and guys are being named award semifinalists for one of the most prestigious awards in college baseball,” Burroughs continued. “When you are getting into the postseason and having great crowds, you know you are moving in the right direction. This is just another example of Louisiana Tech trending upward and we are so proud of Brent. We will just keep moving forward, working and keep our fingers crossed, hoping he wins this thing.”
Diaz and the Bulldogs are back in action for the final three-game set of the regular season on the road at Middle Tennessee. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. CT and will be streamed on CUSA.TV and broadcast on ESPN 97.7.