Garver Named Johnny Bench Award Semifinalist

May 16, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Mitch Garver, an Albuquerque native and a senior leader on the 16th-ranked University of New Mexico baseball team, has been named one of 15 semifinalists for the Johnny Bench Award, which is given annually to the best collegiate catcher in the nation. He was one of three finalists for the award in 2012.

“Mitch Garver is the greatest catcher in Lobo history and the best catcher in the nation,” UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said. “He deserves to win this award.”

The durable product of La Cueva High School set a UNM record earlier this season by becoming the school’s all-time hit leader for catchers. He has also started a school-record 172 straight games heading into the Lobos’ series at San Diego St. this weekend.

“It was a great honor to (be named a finalist in 2012),” Garver said, “but I really want to make it back and win it this year.”

He is fifth in the nation with 84 hits and in the top 25 in several other categories as well: batting (.398, 17th), doubles (19, 23rd), RBI (57, 18th). He is tied for the team lead with five triples and is second in both slugging (.592) and OBP (.461). His defense behind the plate has been spectacular as well. He has committed only two errors and has cut his passed ball number in half from last season.

Ballots for the Johnny Bench Award will be sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced June 4, 2013. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 15th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 27, 2013.

Johnny Bench Award Semifinalists
• Tyler Baker, Wichita State University;
• Corey Bass, University of North Florida;
• Garrett Custons, Air Force Academy;
• Blair DeBord, Kansas State University;
• Zane Evans, Georgia Tech;
• Chase Fowler, University of Southern Mississippi;
• Aramis Garcia, Florida International University;
• Mitch Garver, University of New Mexico;
• Stephen McGee, Florida State University;
• Spencer Navin, Vanderbilt University;
• Jake Romanski, San Diego State University;
• Victor Romero, Oklahoma State University;
• Ronnie Shaeffer, UC Irvine;
• Stuart Turner, University of Mississippi and
• Matt Winn, Virginia Military Institute.