UCLA junior catcher Shane Zeile has been named to the 2014 Johnny Bench Award watch list presented by BaseballSavings.com, as announced today by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission.
Zeile is off to a hot start at the plate through the first 12 games, leading the Bruins with a .359 batting average thus far. Zeile has also logged a team-high four multi-hit games while leading UCLA with 14 total hits, seven walks and a .469 on-base percentage. In addition, the Valencia, Calif. native has logged seven RBI, two doubles and a .410 slugging percentage as well.
Behind the plate, Zeile has handled a pitching staff that has allowed the lowest opposing batting average (.181) and the fewest hits (69) in the conference. Last season, Zeile started 57 of the Bruins’ 66 games, logging nine doubles and two home runs as he helped UCLA earn its first NCAA Championship in program history.
The Johnny Bench Award watch list will be narrowed down to the semifinalists, whom will be announced May 15, 2014. Ballots will be sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced June 3, 2014. 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 17th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 26, 2014.
The Bruins (7-5) will take on a trio of opponents this weekend, hosting Pepperdine (9-3) and Houston (9-2) on Friday and Saturday respectively before heading across town to play rivals USC (8-3). Game times are 6 p.m., 2 p.m. and 1 p.m. respectively.