June 4, 2008
From Bucknell Athletic Communications
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell baseball's Jason Buursma has made the latest cut of nominees for the Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Award, the College Baseball Foundation announced on Wednesday. With the NCAA field now narrowing to 16 teams for Super Regional play, the Wallace Watch List has been reduced to 16 candidates for National Player of the Year honors.
Buursma is in select company as he is joined on the list by Arizona State's Brett Wallace, Ike Davis and Tommy Rafferty, Florida State's Buster Posey, Georgia's Gordon Beckham, Kentucky's Sawyer Carroll, Miami's Chris Hernandez and Yonder Alonso, Missouri's Aaron Crow, North Carolina's Dustin Ackley and Tim Fedroff, San Diego's Brian Matusz, UC Irvine's Scott Gorgen and Wichita State's Conor Gillaspie.
From this group, three Wallace Award finalists will be selected following NCAA Super Regional play, with the winner being announced on July 2. Along with their head coaches and parents, the finalists will be invited to Lubbock, Texas, from July 2-4 to participate in the College Baseball Foundation's "Past Meets Present" celebration of college baseball. The 2008 College Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees will also be present for the three days of festivities.
Buursma helped the Bison become the first Patriot League team to ever win an opening round NCAA Tournament game as he went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a double and an RBI in Bucknell's 7-0 upset victory over No. 2 Florida State at the Tallahassee Regional last Friday evening. He enjoyed his finest season of his career at the plate with the Orange and Blue this spring as a senior, hitting a team-best .367 with 58 hits, 37 runs scored, seven doubles, one triple, 13 home runs, 37 RBI and a slugging percentage of .671. His home run total ranks second in both Bucknell and Patriot League history for a single season, one shy of both records.
He followed up the next day with an outstanding outing on the mound against Tulane which saw him throw 4.1 scoreless innings, letting up just one hit with no walks and three strikeouts to finish his career with a 17.1 consecutive shutout innings streak intact. On the mound in 2008, Buursma went 9-3 with a 2.58 earned-run average in 83.2 innings, just 10 walks and 78 strikeouts, while opposing hitters batted only .226 against him.
Buursma has collected a number of major awards this spring as he was recently selected to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America first team as a designated hitter in addition to being named the 2008 Patriot League Player of the Year, Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the Tournament MVP. He has also appeared on the Dick Howser Trophy watch list and was selected as one of 10 national finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.
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. On Apr. 29, Buursma was recognized among his peers at Bucknell as he won the Christy Mathewson Award at Bucknell's annual Senior Athletic Awards Banquet, presented to the most outstanding athletes in the senior class.
In his four seasons with the Orange and Blue, Buursma became 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 and two academic all-district citations. 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 set a new Patriot League record for career ERA, finishing with a 2.13 in 181.2 innings of work. This season, Buursma broke the school record for home runs against Lehigh on Apr. 27 when he hit his 22nd of his career. He also 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.
After four years with the Orange and Blue, Buursma has etched his name into the program's single season top-10 lists 14 times and appears on 17 of Bucknell's career top-10 lists. In the League's record book, Buursma ranks in the top-10 for five single season categories and three career categories. In addition to holding the league's ERA record, he is fourth all-time in career home runs (24) and third all-time in career saves (15).
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.
The Bison finished 2008 with the second-highest wins total in school history at 30-24-2 and won their fourth Patriot League championship, earning a Patriot League record fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament. At the NCAA Tallahassee Regional, Bucknell captured its first ever tournament victory, upsetting Florida State, 7-0, in the opening round of regional play.