University of Louisville junior lefty pitcher and first baseman Brendan McKay was named Thursday as Baseball America’s 2017 National Player of the Year. It marked the second such award for the Darlington, Pennsylvania native who was selected for the same honor last week by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.
McKay is the first Louisville baseball player to earn a national player of the year award and was also a First Team All-American selection as a utility player by Baseball America. In addition to McKay’s honor, junior infielder Drew Ellis and junior righthander Lincoln Henzman were tabbed as Second Team All-Americans by Baseball America. Both Ellis and Henzman were tabbed as First Team All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball newspaper last week.
Entering this week’s NCAA Super Regional, McKay has a .356 batting average, 17 home runs, 56 RBI, .683 slugging percentage and .476 on-base percentage. On the mound, McKay owns a 9-3 record with a 2.31 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 97.1 innings while opposing batters are hitting just .178 against him. Along with his national player of the year awards, McKay was named as the 2017 ACC Player of the Year, is a finalist for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award and is a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award. His other honors this season include being named National Player of the Month in February by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, the National Midseason Player of the Year by Perfect Game, the National Midseason Most Valuable Player by D1Baseball and selected as a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy.
Ellis leads the Cardinals with a .362 batting average to go with 17 home runs, 18 doubles, 55 RBI, .695 slugging percentage and .453 on-base percentage. The Jeffersonville, Indiana native has started all 60 games this season splitting his time between first base and third base. Ellis was an All-ACC First Team selection and was chosen as a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy. He was also selected as the National Player of the Month in April by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association after hitting .455 (30-for-66) in 19 games with five doubles, one triple and eight homers, 22 RBI and a .532 on-base percentage.
Henzman has provided the Cardinals with a dominant option in the closer role this season leading the nation with 16 saves to go with his 3-0 record, 1.30 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 34.2 innings pitched and 24 total relief appearances. Thirteen of the Lexington, Kentucky native’s 16 saves came against ACC foes, while opposing hitters are batting just .147 against him this season. The 16 saves for Henzman rank as the third most in a season by a Louisville player, while his 19 career saves are also third all-time.
The No. 7 national seed Cardinals (50-10) will make their fifth straight NCAA Super Regional appearance, including the fourth consecutive at home, when they host Kentucky in the best-of-three series starting Friday at noon ET at Jim Patterson Stadium.
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Assistant Sports Information Director