Brian Baron Named Semifinalist for Rotary Smith Award

May 16, 2001

LOS ANGELES - UCLA senior designated hitter Brian Baron (Newhall, CA/Hart HS) has been named a semifinalist for the prestigious Rotary Smith Award, it was announced today. The award is goes to the top college baseball player. Earlier this season, Baron was named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, another player of the year award.

Baron recorded his 100th hit of the season yesterday in the 10-4 loss to UC Santa Barbara. On the season, he is batting .446 with 100 hits in 224 at-bats. He has 45 RBI, 15 doubles to go along with 38 runs scored.

Baron is one of 12 semifinalists for the award. He joins fellow Pac-10 players Casey Myers (Arizona State) and Mark Prior (USC), along with two other players that he's competed against this season- Cal State Fullerton's Kirk Saarloos and Tulane's Jake Gautreau. Rounding out the list are Kenny Baugh (Rice), Dewon Brazelton (Middle Tennessee State), Chris Burke (Tennessee), John-Ford Griffin (Florida State), Aaron Heilman (Notre Dame), Justin Pope (Central Florida) and John VanBenschoten (Kent State).

Finalists will be announced prior to the start of the NCAA Super Regionals during the week of June 1-3, and the winner will be announced at a dinner in Houston on June 28th.

Now in its 14th year, the Rotary Smith Award is awarded each summer to the nation's top college baseball player. The award, a national project of the Rotary Club of Houston, raises money for Rotary national charities, Texas Children's Hospital and the Karl Young League. Seven previous winners of the award were active in major league baseball during the 2000 campaign - 1988 winner Andy Benes of Evansville (St. Louis Cardinals), 1991 winner Bobby Jones of Fresno State (New York Mets), 1993 winner Darren Dreifort of Wichita State (Los Angeles Dodgers), 1994 winner Jason Varitek of Georgia Tech (Boston Red Sox), Mark Kotsay (Florida Marlins), Kris Benson (Pittsburgh Pirates) and 1997 winner Tim Hudson of Auburn (Oakland Athletics).

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