By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Willamette University senior baseball player Connor Bailey (CF, San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) has been chosen by the Oregon Sports Awards as one of three finalists for the 2019 Ad Rutschman Small College Men's Athlete of the Year Award. Bailey was nominated by Willamette as part of the selection process.
The Ad Rutschman Small College Men's Athlete of the Year will be announced on the NBC Sports Northwest talk show The Bridge between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. (PDT) on Wednesday, July 17. All amateur and professional awards will be announced on The Bridge and most of the single-sport prep awards will be announced on the radio during The Noe Show on Rip City Radio (620 AM). Awards will be announced from July 8 through July 31.
From 2001 through 2018, winners were announced during the Oregon Sports Awards show inside the Stanford Theatre at Nike World Headquarters. Plans are to return to an awards show format in 2020, although the location has not yet been determined. Nike remains an event sponsor.
Each year, the Oregon Sports Awards honor athletes, coaches, teams and organizations with ties to the State of Oregon. This year's awards cover the 2018-19 academic year since many of the awards go to collegiate and high school student-athletes.
In addition to Bailey, other finalists for the Ad Rutschman Small-College Men's Athlete of the Year Award are Zach Beltz, a track and field competitor at Southern Oregon University, and Mitchell Fink, who has played basketball at Oregon Institute of Technology.
Bailey concluded the 2019 season as the Northwest Conference Player of the Year and was chosen First Team All-NWC for the second consecutive year. He was named First Team All-West Region by D3baseball.com and was selected Second Team All-West Region by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA). He was chosen Men's Athlete of the year at Willamette for 2018-19.
In 2018, Bailey was named First Team All-West Region by the ABCA and was chosen Third Team All-West Region by D3baseball.com after helping Willamette win the NWC Tournament championship on its way to the NCAA Division III Spokane Regional Final. In 2017, he was chosen Honorable Mention All-NWC.
This spring, he led the Bearcats with a .386 batting average and a .657 slugging percentage. He played and started in 34 of 35 games. He topped the offensive chart with 140 at bats, 54 hits, 38 runs, 24 walks and seven homers. He tied for the team lead with 13 doubles and two triples, while ranking second on the team with 33 RBIs and a .470 on-base percentage.
Bailey set career records at Willamette by amassing 213 hits and 615 at bats. He tied a school record with nine triples in his career. He finished second all-time at Willamette with 143 runs and 138 RBIs. He was third with 29 home runs, 43 doubles and 101 walks. He is sixth all-time with a .346 career batting average.
In May, Bailey graduated from Willamette with a bachelor's degree and a major in Economics. He volunteered with Habitat for Humanity for two years, read to Bush Elementary School students, and participated in the baseball team's free kids clinic.