For many players, the choice of where to go to college can come down to either going to a school and trying to establish a winning tradition, or going somewhere where they can continue that tradition.
Maryland’s Matt Shaw may be one of those who got to do some of both.
The junior joined a Terrapins program that had seen modest success in recent years but nothing like the heights the program has reached in the last two seasons as Shaw cemented himself as the starting shortstop. Before 2022, Maryland hadn’t won a conference championship in more than 50 years and played in just three regionals total in that span.
But over the last two seasons, the Terrapins have put together back-to-back Big Ten championship seasons and this year qualified for their third straight regional. Along the way, Shaw put together a historic season.
His production on the field and his leadership on and off of it are the reasons why Shaw is this year’s winner of the Brooks Wallace Award, which honors the nation’s top shortstop.
“What an incredible shortstop and an even better person this young man is that we have selected this year,” said Larry Wallace, co-chair of the Brooks Wallace Award. “We are so proud to have Matt represent Brooks’ award and are excited to have him join the Wallace family. The glove and power that he showed this year to go along with the humble young man he obviously is.
"Hats off to all the young men who made our list, what incredible seasons they all had.”
The award, which will be presented at a later date, is named for former Texas Tech shortstop Brooks Wallace, who played for the Red Raiders from 1977 to 1980. Wallace died of leukemia in 1985 at the age of 27.
The Big Ten Player of the Year in 2023, Shaw put together a tremendous season in leading the Terps to the Big Ten title. He finished the year hitting. 341 with 24 home runs and 69 RBIs in 62 games. Just as importantly, his defense was solid with just eight errors in 295 chances for a .974 fielding percentage.
He compiled a .697 slugging percentage and .445 on-base percentage. His home run and RBI totals ranked second on both the team and the Big Ten. In three seasons with Maryland, he has started all 167 games in which he has played with a career .320 batting average, 53 home runs and 166 RBIs.
A two-time All-Big Ten selection as a sophomore and junior, Shaw also was named a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist, the only player named on both the Golden Spikes and Wallace Award semifinalist lists. He also was named a first-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball in leading the Terrapins to a No. 2 seed at the Winston-Salem regional hosted by No. 1 Wake Forest.
Prior to his junior season, Shaw was named the Perfect Game Baseball Summer Player of the Year and the Cape Cod Baseball League Most Valuable Player after leading the Bourne Braves to the CCBL Championship. He is ranked the No. 13 draft prospect and No. 3 shortstop by Baseball America.
“Clearly, Matt is a shortstop who separated himself from the field of others in the NCAA and within the Big Ten,” said Tom Quigley, co-chair of the Wallace Award. “He beams with confidence. I’m hoping his future will be a bright one.”
For more information on the Brooks Wallace Award, visit the College Baseball Foundation website at www.collegebaseballhall.org.