2 Canes named to Wallace Award watch list

LUBBOCK, Texas - University of Miami sophomore pitcher Chris Hernandez and junior shortstop Ryan Jackson have been named to the College Baseball Foundation's 2009 Brooks Wallace Player of the Year Watch List for the award given annually to the nation's top collegiate baseball player.

Hernandez is coming off one of the most decorated freshman seasons in school history, finishing a perfect 11-0 with a 2.72 ERA en route to numerous All-American honors. The Miami native, who struck out a team-high 117 batters in 112 2/3 innings in 2008, was recognized as the National Freshman Pitcher of the Year by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Association. He was named First Team All-America by Louisville Slugger and Second Team All-America by Baseball America and Rivals.com. He was also named Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman of the Year and First Team All-ACC after going 8-0 in 10 league starts.

Jackson also had a breakout year in 2008, hitting .360 with four home runs, 50 RBI, 49 runs scored and 10 stolen bases en route to First Team All-ACC honors. He led the Hurricanes with 19 doubles in 2008, in addition to ranking second in at-bats (242) and hits (87) and third in batting average. His .360 average at the conclusion of his sophomore season was 124 points higher than his average in 2007 (.236), easily the greatest turnaround on the UM roster. Jackson also had another stellar year defensively at shortstop, committing just eight errors on 310 chances for a .974 fielding percentage.

Hernandez and Jackson also spent this past summer as teammates on the USA Baseball National Team that went 24-0 and won the gold medal at the 2008 FISU World Championships. Jackson finished the summer tied for fourth on the team in RBI (13) while Hernandez went 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 16 innings of work.

The Wallace Award is dedicated to the memory of former Texas Tech player and assistant coach Brooks Wallace. Wallace was a slick-fielding shortstop at Texas Tech from 1977 to 1980. A four-year starter, he was named All-Southwest Conference and All-District his senior year. He led the Red Raiders to their first-ever appearance in the Southwest Conference Tournament in 1980.

After playing two years in the Texas Rangers organization, he returned to Texas Tech and served as a graduate assistant and later as an assistant coach. In the summer of 1984, he was diagnosed with cancer and fought the disease courageously until his death on March 24, 1985, at age 27. The Plano, Texas native was married to the former Sandy Arnold and they had one daughter, Lindsay Ryan.

In conjunction with the College Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, the winner will be recognized at the 2009 banquet on Thursday, July 2 at 7 p.m. in the United Sprint Arena on the campus of Texas Tech University.

Last season, Miami had four players on the preseason watch list - first baseman Yonder Alonso, left-handed pitcher Eric Erickson, third baseman Mark Sobolewski and second baseman Jemile Weeks.

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