On Wednesday morning the College Baseball Foundation named Nebraska’s Spencer Schwellenbach as the 2021 recipient of the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award.
The award was started in 2010 and Schwellenbach is the first Husker to be honored with the trophy. Former Husker Jake Meyers was a finalist for the award in 2017, but lost to three-time winner Brendan McKay from Louisville.
The award is named for the former Washington State standout who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s and who was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The award will be presented by the College Baseball Foundation during the virtual Night of Champions event on June 26.
“Every year, the quality of athletes in college baseball makes it harder and harder to narrow down to a winner for this award,” said George Watson, chairman of the John Olerud Award selection committee.” Each of our five finalists was deserving of this award. In the end, what set Spencer apart was not only his ability to have an impact in every game for the Cornhuskers, but his leadership in helping guide Nebraska to the top of the Big Ten and a berth in the NCAA postseason. We are excited to see what the future holds for him and are proud to have him represent the John Olerud Award.”
The 2021 Big Ten Player of the Year and a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, Schwellenbach took the mound for the first time in 2021. A contributor in all three facets of the game, Schwellenbach was Nebraska’s No. 3 hitter all season, started every game at shortstop and served as the team’s closer.
Offensively, Schwellenbach ranked in the top 10 in the Big Ten in runs, RBIs and walks, while in the field he committed just four errors in 186 chances.
The Saginaw, Mich., native took the mound for the first time during his Husker career this season and was electric, leading the Big Ten with 10 saves. Following a season-high 4.2-inning outing in a win over #1 Arkansas at the Fayetteville Regional, he dropped his blistering ERA to 0.57 in 31.2 innings over 18 appearances. He struck out 34 and allowed just two runs.
Along with being named the 2021 Olerud Player of the Year, Schwellenbach was also named a third-team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and a first-team selection as a relief pitcher on the Central-ABCA/Rawlings All-Region team on Wednesday