June 13, 2009

Ben Orloff Wins Brooks Wallace Award

June 13, 2009

IRVINE, Calif. --- UC Irvine senior shortstop Ben Orloff has been named recipient of the 2009 Brooks Wallace Award by the College Baseball Foundation.

The annual award is in dedication to the former Texas Tech player and assistant coach. This is the first season that the Brooks Wallace Award has been presented to the nation's top shortstop.

Orloff became UCI's first Big West Conference Player of the Year this season after batting .358 with a team-high 91 hits and 62 runs scored. He was named to the Irvine Regional All-Tournament team after hitting .353 in the postseason with three RBI and three runs scored. A ninth-round draft choice of the Houston Astros, he led the `Eaters to a 45-15 overall record and 22-2 Big West mark as UCI won the program's first conference title.

Named a first team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, Orloff started the last 215 games of his career. He rewrote four program records in 2009, becoming UCI's all-time leader in games played (241), at bats (877), runs scored (178) and hits (281).

COLLEGE BASEBALL FOUNDATION RELEASE:

ORLOFF NAMED 2009 BROOKS WALLACE AWARD WINNER

Jun 13th, 2009

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Ben Orloff, the first Big West Conference Player of the Year in UC Irvine history, has been named the recipient of the 2009 Brooks Wallace Award -- given to the nation's best shortstop -- today by the College Baseball Foundation.

Orloff, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound senior from Simi Valley High School, hit .358 with a team-high 91 hits and 62 runs scored this year. He was named to the Irvine Regional All-Tournament team after hitting .353 in the postseason. He started all 60 games while leading the Anteaters to a 45- 15 record, including a 22-2 Big West record and conference championship. He had 18 stolen bases, 176 assists against just seven errors and a .976 fielding percentage.

"It's a great honor to just be mentioned with all the other shortstops in the country, and the win the Wallace Award is even more unbelievable," Orloff said. "Knowing who Brooks Wallace is and what he was all about makes this award that much more special."

The Brooks Wallace Award is a dedication to the memory of the former Texas Tech player and assistant coach. Wallace was a slick-fielding shortstop at Tech from 1977-80. A four-year starter, he was named All-Southwest Conference and All-District VII his senior year. He led the Red Raiders to their first appearance in the Southwest Conference Tournament in 1980.

After playing two years in the Texas Rangers organization, he returned to Texas Tech and served as a graduate assistant and later as an assistant coach. In the summer of 1984, he was diagnosed with cancer and fought the disease courageously until his death on March 24, 1985, at age 27. The Plano, Texas, native was married to the former Sandy Arnold and they had one daughter, Lindsay Ryan.

Orloff was part of a group of Wallace Award finalists that included Christian Colon of Cal State Fullerton, Jedd Gyorko of West Virginia, Bryant Hernandez of Oklahoma, and Bryan Marquez of New Mexico State.

"Ben Orloff is literally on the shortest list of the best and most complete baseball players I have coached, seen or known," UC Irvine coach Mike Gillespie said. "Ben's skills on both defense and offense are exceptional, but it is his intangibles that truly set him apart. His leadership, work ethic and instincts for the game are simply remarkable and almost unmatched. He is the perfect teammate and unselfish beyond description. "To see Ben recognized as the Brooks Wallace Award winner is a testimony to the accomplishments of the perfect college player, and all who know him are thrilled for him. I am thoroughly convinced the committee hit a grand slam in its selection of Ben Orloff."

The CBF will present Orloff with the Wallace Award during the inaugural College Baseball Awards Show at 7 p.m. on July 2 at the United Spirit Arena in Lubbock. In addition to the Wallace, other awards presented during the show will include the Dick Howser Trophy for the national player of the year, and the Pitcher of the Year Award. The College Baseball Awards Show will be complimented by the National College Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony as a part of the July 1 through July 4 college baseball celebration.

This year is the first season in which the Brooks Wallace Award is presented to the nation's top collegiate shortstop. Previous winners were: Kurt Suzuki, Cal State Fullerton (2004); Alex Gordon, Nebraska (2005); Brad Lincoln, Houston (2006); David Price, Vanderbilt (2007); and Buster Posey, Florida State (2008).