Jeff Clement Named As Finalist For 2005 Johnny Bench Award

June 1, 2005

LOS ANGELES - USC junior catcher Jeff Clement (Marshalltown, Iowa/Marshalltown HS) has been named one of three finalists for the 2005 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award, the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced today. The award is presented to the nation's top collegiate catcher.

Arizona's Nick Hundley and Texas' Taylor Teagarden are the other finalists. A final vote will take place during the College World Series with the winner to be announced on June 29 in Wichita, Kansas. Johnny Bench will present the award.

This season, Clement leads USC in most offensive categories including batting average (.353), hits (71), doubles (17), home runs (13), RBI (48), walks (43) and on-base percentage (.482). He has only three errors on the season (.994 fielding percentage) and has thrown out 24 of 58 runners (41%), including one pickoff at second base.

Clement is one of five finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation's top amateur player by USA Baseball. He earned 2005 USA Today Sports Weekly All-America first team honors, as well as his third consecutive All-Pac-10 Conference honor.

He is third on USC's career home run list with 44, behind Mark McGwire (54) and Geoff Jenkins (45).

Baseball America has slated Clement to be selected in the middle of the first round in the upcoming Major League Baseball draft, held next month.

Last summer, Clement made his second straight appearance for the U.S. National Team, batting .275 (19-for-69) with three home runs and 15 RBI. His team won the gold medal at the FISU II World University Baseball Championships in Taiwan, helping Team USA to the championship after hitting a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth in a 5-2 win over Chinese Taipei.

Clement was the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in his 2002 season after batting .298 with 21 home runs and 53 RBI, as well as being named Collegiate Baseball Freshman National Co-Player of the Year and Baseball America Freshman All-America first team.

He finished his high school career in 2002 with 75 home runs, setting a national high school record. He led Marshalltown to the 2002 4-A state championship.

USC is 37-19 on the season and will compete this weekend at the 2005 NCAA First-Round Regional at Blair Field in Long Beach.

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