LUBBOCK, Texas – In a season that seems to have been focused on offensive numbers, with home runs and runs scored up significantly, there are still plenty of front-line pitchers who know how to get guys out.
The teams who have one, or more, of those dominant arms are the ones leading the pack heading into the postseason. And this year’s finalists for the 2022 Pitcher of the Year Award reflect the trust awarded them by their coaches all season to lead by example.
The five finalists for the 2022 Pitcher of the Year Award are sophomores Chase Dolander from Tennessee, Pete Hansen from Texas, Connor Hjerpe from Oregon State, Rhett Lowder from Wake Forest and Drew Thorpe from Cal-Poly.
“This is an exciting group of finalists that all exemplify exactly what this award is about,” said Chris Snead, Pitcher of the Year Award co-chair. “Each is talented in their own right and a leader on their respective teams.”
Here’s a closer look at the five finalists:
- Chase Dolander, Soph., Tennessee: Perhaps the most consistent pitcher on the most consistent team from the start of the season until now, Dolander is an ace in every sense of the word. In leading the Vols to the SEC regular-season and tournament championships, Dolander went 9-0 on the year with a 2.21 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 69.1 innings. He was named SEC Pitcher of the Year.
- Pete Hansen, Soph., Texas: A first-team All-Big 12 selection, Hansen helped lead the preseason No. 1 Longhorns into the finals of the league tournament. On the season he compiled a 10-1 record and 3.01 ERA while striking out 107 batters in 92.2 innings while holding opponents to a .208 batting average.
- Connor Hjerpe, Soph., Oregon State: The Beavers finished the regular season tied for second in the Pac-12 and were a Top 5 team for most of the season thanks to the efforts on the mound of Hjerpe. The right-hander was 10-2 with a 2.33 ERA in 15 starts, striking out 140 batters in 89 innings while holding opponents to a .191 batting average. He is a first-team All-Pac-12 selection.
- Rhett Lowder, Soph., Wake Forest: One of the surprise teams this season has been the Demon Deacons, who finished third in the Atlantic Division of the ACC. Leading the charge on the mound was Lowder, who finished the regular season with an 11-3 record and 2.61 ERA in 15 starts. He struck out 98 in 93 innings. He was the first Demon Deacon to be named ACC Pitcher of the Year.
- Drew Thorpe, Soph., Cal-Poly: Cal-Poly put together a tremendous season that saw the Mustangs finish second in a good Big West Conference. In 15 starts this season, Thorpe went 10-1 and compiled a 2.32 ERA with 149 strikeouts in 104.2 innings of work, where he held opposing batters to a .175 batting average.
For more information on the Pitcher of the Year Award, visit the College Baseball Foundation website at www.collegebaseballhall.org.