OMAHA, Neb. - College Baseball Lineup has announced the creation of the Brett Tomko Award, an honor which will be presented yearly to the NCAA Division II Baseball Pitcher of the Year. The annual award will be given to the college baseball pitcher whose on-the-field performance is deemed the most outstanding at the Division II level.
The award is named after former Florida Southern College standout, Brett Tomko. In his one season of playing for the Moccasins in 1995, Tomko became the first-ever student-athlete to be named both the NCAA Division II Player and Pitcher of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association after posting a 15-2 record and a 1.35 ERA. On the season, Tomko pitched 127 innings and amassed 154 strikeouts, which is second-most on the school's single-season list. On the season, he threw seven complete games, a school-record tying three shutouts and also recorded two saves on the season to help lead the Mocs to 51-10 record.
In the title game of the 1995 NCAA Championships, Tomko threw a complete-game shutout against Georgia College to lead FSC to its record eighth NCAA Division II National Championship. Along the way that season, Tomko was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Division II Championships and also earned the Sunshine State Conference Pitcher of the Year Award and was also selected as the conference's Male Athlete of the Year.
Following his historic 1995 season, Tomko was drafted in the second round of the MLB Draft by the Cincinnati Reds. He made his big league debut in 1997 and has won 100 games in 14 seasons in the majors pitching for 12 different organizations. Five times in his major league career, Tomko reached double-digit wins and he also had five seasons of pitching over 190 innings. He also pitched in the postseason for two different organizations, Seattle in 2000 and 2002 and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006. In over 1,800 career innings of work, Tomko, who is currently pitching in Triple A in the Kansas City Royals organization with Omaha Storm Chasers, recorded 1,209 strikeouts, threw 13 complete games and had two shutouts.
The Tomko Award is the third major award given to an NCAA Division II Baseball player as it joins the Tino Martinez Award and the Josh Willingham Award. The Tino Martinez Award was established in 2010 and is awarded to the Division II Player of the Year, while the Josh Willingham Award began last season and is awarded to the Division II College Baseball Most Valuable Player.
Martinez was a standout player at the University of Tampa and played in the major leagues for 16 seasons with the New York Yankees, while Willingham was a standout at the University of North Alabama and is currently in the midst of his 11th season in the major league and is now a member of the Minnesota Twins.
The winner of the inaugural Brett Tomko Award will be named on Monday, June 2 following the conclusion of the NCAA Division II Championships, which will be held from May 24-31 in Cary, N.C. The semifinalists and finalists for this year's award will be revealed in the weeks leading up to the announcement of the winner.
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