Louisville lefthanded pitcher and first baseman Brendan McKay was named as the 2015 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year on Monday by the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.
The award, named for the Washington State star who achieved success as both a first baseman and a left-handed pitcher, will be presented Monday night in Lubbock, Texas, at the Hall of Fame’s annual Night of Champions event, along with the National Pitcher of the Year Award, the Brooks Wallace Award for most outstanding shortstop, and the Skip Bertman National Coach of the Year Award.
“We had another outstanding class of two-way players this season, all of whom could have won the award,” Olerud co-chairman George Watson said. “What set Brendan apart was his competitiveness as a freshman to solidify tough roles both at the plate and on the mound and to do so with the maturity and mental toughness of a seasoned veteran.”
Monday’s announcement was the latest national honor for McKay, who became the first freshman to win the Olerud Award in its six-year history. Earlier this month, McKay was named as Baseball America’s College Freshman of the Year and was selected as a national Freshman of the Year by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.
In his first collegiate season, McKay had a 9-3 record with a 1.77 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 96.2 innings and 20 appearances on the mound, including 13 straight weekend starts for the Cardinals in 2015. Occupying the fourth spot in Louisville’s lineup for the final 32 games of the season, McKay hit .308 with four home runs, 34 RBI, 38 walks and 32 runs scored in 58 starts as a hitter.
A native of Darlington, Pennsylvania, McKay was previously named First Team All-America by Baseball America, D1Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and was selected as a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball newspaper and the NCBWA. In addition to those honors, the 6-2, 203-pounder was chosen as the ACC Freshman of the Year, tabbed as an All-ACC First Team selection as a pitcher and was a Second Team honoree as a utility player by the conference’s head coaches last month.
McKay is the first player in head coach Dan McDonnell’s nine seasons in Louisville to start on the mound and play virtually every day as a position player. Twice this season he had 12 strikeouts in a single game on the mound, while at the plate, he had 15 multiple hit games highlighted by his 4-for-4 performance with a home run against North Carolina at the ACC Championship.
In its inaugural season in the ACC in 2015, Louisville set a conference record for league wins in a single season finishing with a 25-5 mark overall to win the Atlantic Division. Chosen as a national seed for the second time in school history, the No. 3 Cardinals finished 47-18 overall after falling just short of a third straight College World Series berth with an NCAA Super Regional loss at Jim Patterson Stadium.