John Olerud Two-Way Player Award names five finalists

May 30th, 2023

LUBBOCK, Texas – With the 2023 college baseball regular season done and the Field of 64 announced, the cream has risen to the top in the chase for a national championship.

The cream also has risen to the top as the five finalists for the 2023 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, presented by the College Baseball Foundation, have been announced, with three finalists preparing to lead their teams into the NCAA Tournament in the quest for the national championship.

The five finalists for the award, presented by the College Baseball Foundation, are junior left-hander/first baseman Jac Caglianone from Florida, junior left-hander/first baseman T.J. Fondtain from San Diego State, junior right-hander/first baseman Caden Grice from Clemson, senior right-hander/infielder Ryan Ignoffo from Eastern Illinois and sophomore left-hander/infielder Payton Tolle from Wichita State.

“We started this season with one of the largest watch lists we’ve ever had for this award, and these five tremendous individuals have risen to the top with their consistency and production all season,” Olerud Award co-chairman George Watson said. “The finalists have differentiated themselves not only through the statistics they’ve racked up but by being leaders of their respective teams. Each one of them is more than deserving of this award.”

The award is named for the former Washington State University standout who achieved success both as a first baseman and left-handed pitcher during the late 1980s and was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The award will be presented by the College Baseball Foundation later this summer.

Here is a closer look at the finalists:

  • Jac Caglianone, Soph., LHP/1B, Florida: Caglianone announced his presence early on in the season with a tremendous start, and he hasn’t slowed down since. His 28 home runs lead not only the Southeastern Conference but the nation, and his 76 RBIs rank second in the SEC and ninth in the nation. He entered the conference tournament hitting .350. On the mound, he is 6-2 with a 3.96 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 61.1 innings.
  • T.J. Fondtain, Jr., LHP/1B, San Diego State: Fondtain took over the role of mound ace for the Aztecs in 2023 and led them to a tie for the Mountain West regular season championship. He ended the regular season with a 7-3 record and 2.80 ERA to go with 93 strikeouts in 86.2 innings. At the plate, he was a solid .279 hitter with nine home runs and 35 RBIs.
  • Caden Grice, Jr., RHP/1B, Clemson: Clemson’s surge the second half of the season was due in large part to the consistency of its play, and no one for the Tigers has been more consistent throughout the season than Grice. On the mound, he is an impressive 7-1 with a 3.18 ERA, both ranking in the top five in the Atlantic Coast Conference, while striking out 82 batters in 62.1 innings. At the plate, he hit .296 with 14 home runs and 54 RBIs.
  • Ryan Ignoffo, Sr., RHP/IF, Eastern Illinois: Ignoffo helped lead the Panthers to a solid season and a fifth seed in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament by hitting .338 with 15 home runs and 56 RBIs, ranking in the top 10 in the conference in all three categories, including second in RBIs. On the mound, he helped the Panthers nail down wins by recording three saves and a 1-1 record in 36 innings with 41 strikeouts.
  • Payton Tolle, Soph., LHP/IF, Wichita State: Tolle helped lead the Shockers to a third-place finish in the American Athletic Conference with his efforts both on the mound and at the plate. He compiled a 9-2 record – the nine wins leading the AAC – with a 4.57 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 82.2 innings, and at the plate hit .320 in the regular season with 13 home runs and 47 RBIs.

For more information on the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award or the College Baseball Hall of Fame, visit