SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara junior catcher Eric Yang was named a finalist for the prestigious Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award, it was announced on Monday afternoon by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission.
The award that recognizes the top catcher in the nation was whittled down from 14 semifinalists to three, including Oregon State junior Adley Rutschman and Georgia Tech junior Kyle McCann alongside Yang.
Yang, already named the Big West Field Player of the Year and a Third Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, will look to add another accolade to the trophy case after a breakout year that saw him lead the Gauchos with a .368 batting average (77-for-209) to go along with seven home runs and 45 RBIs. The West Hills, Calif. native played in all 56 games for Santa Barbara, starting 46 behind the dish and 10 at designated hitter, while leading the Gauchos (45-11) to its 12th NCAA Regional appearance in program history. He also led the team with 25 multi-hit games and finished with a slash line of .368/.479/.545.
Defensively, Yang was exceptional. He threw out 10 runners trying to steal in 30 attempts for a 33.3 caught stealing percentage and recorded a .993 fielding percentage. In addition to his numerous accolades, Yang was also named Big West Athlete of the Week (Apr. 1) after hitting .500 (7-for-14) with a home run and six RBIs to lead UCSB to a series win at Cal State Fullerton.
A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 22nd Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 27, 2019.