May 27, 2008
LEWISBURG, Pa. -
Bucknell baseball senior co-captain Jason Buursma (Seattle, Wash./Lakeside School) added another award to his already impressive resume as he was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America First Team as a designated hitter, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced on Tuesday. With the award, Buursma becomes the 115th student-athlete in Bucknell history to earn Academic All-America honors and is the first student-athlete to earn a first-team selection since former Bison men's soccer player Jonathan Hemmert was a first-team honoree in 2004.
Buursma is the 30th Bucknell baseball player to receive Academic All-America recognition since 1970, the second for the program in the last three years as Matt Capece was named to the third team as a senior in 2006. To be considered for Academic All-America, a student-athlete must carry a 3.20 cumulative grade-point average or higher, have completed one year of coursework at his university and be a starter or significant reserve.
Buursma had already collected a number of major awards this spring as he was named the 2008 Patriot League Player of the Year, the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the Patriot League Tournament MVP. He has also received national attention as he was named to the 2008 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Award and the Dick Howser Trophy watch lists and was selected as one of 10 national finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, becoming the only student-athlete in the nation to be a candidate for all three awards.
Buursma earned a First Team All-Patriot League selection as an outfielder this season, which marked the fifth all-league recognition of his career. He is the first Bucknell player to collect five all-league accolades, matching the second-highest total in league history. Buursma was also recognized among his peers at Bucknell as he won the Christy Mathewson Award at Bucknell's annual Senior Athletic Awards Banquet on Apr. 29, presented to the most outstanding athletes in the senior class.
Through three-plus seasons with the Orange and Blue, Buursma has become one of the most decorated players in program history, earning a spot on the ABCA All-East Region First Team as a relief pitcher in 2006 in addition to his five all-league accolades. He was taken in 43rd Round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft by the Seattle Mariners as a pitcher and is a two-time member of the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award Watch List.
Buursma holds the school's career saves record with 15 and finished 2007 with the second-lowest ERA in Patriot League history, 1.65. This season, Buursma broke the school record for home runs against Lehigh on Apr. 27 when he hit his 22nd of his career. He alos surpassed the program's single-season wins record, logging his ninth victory of the year on the mound in game two of the Patriot League championship series at Navy, which secured the fourth Patriot League title in program history.
Buursma was honored as the 2008 Patriot League Tournament MVP after he accomplished the remarkable feat of recording all four of Bucknell's tournament wins en route to the championship. In the semifinals, he came out of the bullpen to post both victories as the No. 4-seeded Bison knocked off top-seeded Army, 2-1, in the three-game series. He followed up in the championship round by logging two more wins in relief outings, carrying Bucknell to a two-game sweep of Navy. Buursma finished the league tournament with a 0.00 ERA in 10.0 innings on the mound, allowed just three hits, struck out eight and walked none for an opponent's batting average of .091. He also scored the winning runs in both contests against the Mids as the Orange and Blue battled back from five-run deficits to win both games.
Entering NCAA Regional play this weekend, Buursma leads the Bison both in batting average (.372) and ERA (2.72). At the plate, he has scored 33 runs on 54 hits with six doubles, one triple and 12 home runs for a .676 slugging percentage, while posting 35 RB, as well. On the mound, Buursma boasts a 9-3 record in 19 appearances for a total of 79.1 innings. He has recorded 75 strikeouts and has walked only 10 as opponents are currently hitting just .233 against him.
Away from the diamond, Buursma has performed equally as well in the classroom. He collected ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District first team honors for a second consecutive season, making him eligible for his Academic All-America recognition. He graduated with a 3.57 grade-point average as an economics major with a philosophy minor, was named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll twice and was a Dean's List student. During the fall of his junior year, Buursma spent the semester studying abroad at Oxford.
Buursma and the rest of the 2008 Patriot League champion Bucknell baseball team will be in action this Friday evening, May 30, when the squad will face Florida State in its opening game of the NCAA Tournament at 7 p.m., in Tallahassee, Fla.