Ryan Garko Named Johnny Bench Award Finalist

June 3, 2003

Wichita, Kan. - Stanford senior catcher Ryan Garko (Walnut, CA/Servite HS) has been named one of three national semifinalists for the Fourth Annual Johnny Bench Award announced The Greater Wichita Sports Commission on Tuesday. Garko, who reached the semifinal round last year, is the first ever finalist from Stanford. Johnny Bench will present the award to the nation's top collegiate catcher during the 2003 season the day after the conclusion of the College World Series on June 24 at the Greater Wichita Sports Banquet.

'Every catcher that plays this game wants to be like Johnny Bench,' said Garko. 'It's a real honor to be named one of the finalists for this award.'

Garko, the Co-Pac-10 Player of the Year and an All-American candidate, has had a monster senior season for the Cardinal. Garko leads the club in batting average (.418, #2 Pac-10), home runs (18, #3 Pac-10), RBI (87, #2 Pac-10), hits (94, #2 Pac-10), total bases (168, #2 Pac-10), slugging percentage (.747, #1 Pac-10), multiple-hit games (30), multiple-RBI games (26), sacrifice flies (7) and extra-base hits (83). He also ranks second on the in hit-by-pitches (9) and on-base percentage (.477).

Garko is within reach of two Stanford single-season records. His .418 batting average is just .012 percentage points behind the .430 mark put up by school record holder Tom Williams in 1972 and his 87 RBI are just five shy of the school record of 92 set by Rick Lundblade.

Garko earned NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player honors for the second time in his career in 2003 (co-winner in 2000) after hitting .615 (8-13) with three homers, nine RBI, eight runs scored and a 1.385 slugging percentage. He was also especially successful in 24 Pac-10 games (23 starts), hitting .433 with 10 homers and leading the conference in Pac-10 games only with 39 RBI, a .856 slugging percentage and 77 total bases.

Garko also has more home runs (18) than strikeouts (13) and is averaging just one strikeout every 17.3 official at bats.

Among Garko's other highlights this season was a series of Player of the Week honors (NCBWA National Co-Hitter, College Baseball Insider West Regional, Pac-10) earned by going 10-for-13 (.769) with three homers, 12 RBI and a stolen base to lead the Cardinal to a key three-game sweep at USC (May 3-4).

He is Stanford's active career leader in home runs (39, #9 all-time), RBI (186, #10 all-time), doubles (56, #6 all-time), total bases (424), slugging percentage (.600), walks (90), on-base percentage (.444), sacrifice flies (20), putouts (1133), games played (208) and games started (188, co-leader with Quentin).

The other two finalists were Colt Morton (Jr., North Carolina State) and Tony Richie (Jr., Florida State).

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