04/11/06 — Smith named to Johnney Bench Award watch list

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Smith named to Johnney Bench Award watch list

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on April 11, 2006 1:58 PM

GREENVILLE -- East Carolina senior catcher Jake Smith has been named to the 2006 Coleman Company -- Johnny Bench Award Watch List, which is given annually to the top division one collegiate catcher the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced.

Smith, a Greensboro native, has played 33-of 34 games behind the plate and is batting .287 on the season. Currently he leads the club in home runs (6), RBI (35), doubles (10), total bases (65), sacrifices (6) and slugging percentage (.504).

On Feb. 27, he became the first Pirate of the season to earn Conference USA weekly honors with his Hitter-of-the-Week accolades. That week he led ECU to a three victories, batting 8-for-18 (.444) with two doubles, a home run and 10 RBI. He hit safely in each game and drove in all of his 10 runs during ECU's three wins. Smith opened the week by going 3-for-6 against Duke with two doubles, a career-high five RBI and three runs scored. He also went 5-for-12 during the Keith LeClair Classic, hitting his second homer of the season while collecting four RBI in a 3-for-5 performance against UNC Wilmington.

Playing in 51 games a season ago, Smith hit .259 with four homers, 31 RBI and 33 runs scored.

Catchers are nominated for the award by their coaches and the list will be updated to include other candidates until May 1, 2006.

The watch list will be narrowed down to ten semi-finalists, whom will be announced May 11, 2006. A comprehensive biography will be created on each of the semi-finalists and sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced May 31, 2006 prior to the NCAA Regionals and Major League Baseball Draft. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series.