March 3, 2008
WICHITA, Kan. - UCLA junior catcher Ryan Babineau has been named to the official watch list for the 2008 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award, the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission has announced. The watch list features 36 catchers from 22 conferences, including two Pac-10 backstops.
The Johnny Bench Award's watch list will be narrowed down to 10 semi-finalists by May 14, and the finalists will be announced June 3, prior to the NCAA Super Regionals. A final vote will take place during the College World Series, and the winner will be announced at the 11th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 27.
Babineau, a 6-foot-2 catcher from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., has logged a career .268 batting average, totaling 11 home runs, two triples, 15 doubles, 62 RBI and 60 runs in 120 career games (118 starts). Babineau has caught more games (120) than any Pac-10 catcher. In three games this season, the Bruins' catcher has posted a .333 average.
A 13th round selection by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2005 MLB Draft, Babineau serves as one of UCLA's three team captains this spring. Last season, he played in all 61 games (59 starts), earning All-Pac-10 honorable mention accolades after hitting at a .272 clip. Babineau slugged five home runs and collected 37 RBI and 34 runs as the Bruins advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals for the first time since 2000.
In 2006, Babineau earned freshman All-America honors from Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball. That spring, he gained All-Pac-10 honors after registering a .258 batting average and .332 on-base percentage as a true freshman.
A leader both on and off the field, Babineau serves as a student ambassador representing UCLA's baseball team. The junior co-captain has assisted at various fundraisers with UCLA's "Hugs for Cubs" program, making visits to UCLA Children's Hospital to meet with youngsters battling cancer.