COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio State standout sophomore catcher Dan Burkhart has been named today one of 13 semifinalists for the Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award, given annually to the nation’s top collegiate catcher and delivered by Papa John’s Pizza.

Burkhart, who leads all Big Ten Conference catchers in overall hitting (.360) as well as in Big Ten games only (.343), is in the midst of a breakout season. He ranks fourth overall (among all players) in the Big Ten in RBI (55) and sixth in slugging (.617). He enters the Iowa series starting today with 47 runs scored, 63 hits and a .429 on-base percentage, in addition to his high average, slugging and RBI totals.

Defensively Burkhart, who is from Cincinnati and Archbishop Moeller High School, has thrown out 16 potential base stealers fourth-most in the Big Ten despite having the fourth-fewest attempts against him (42). He is fielding at a .984 rate and has started 47 games behind the plate.

The Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award semifinalists are (in alpha order):

  • Buck Afenir, University of Kansas;
  • Billy Alvino, High Point University;
  • Griffin Benedict, Georgia Southern University;
  • Dan Burkhart, Ohio State University;
  • Jeffrey Farnham, New Mexico State University;
  • Mark Fleury, University of North Carolina;
  • Chris Henderson, George Mason University;
  • Greg Lagreid, Washington State University;
  • Francis Larson; University of California, Irvine;
  • Josh Phegley, University of Indiana;
  • Tony Sanchez, Boston College;
  • Matt Williams, Duke University; and
  • J.T. Wise, University of Oklahoma.

The finalists will be announced June 3, 2009 prior to the NCAA Super Regionals and Major League Baseball Draft.