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Jacob Stallings Named To Johnny Bench Award Watch List

by Dan D'Uva
Friday, March 09, 2012

Jacob Stallings Named To Johnny Bench Award Watch List
WICHITA, Kan. - North Carolina senior catcher Jacob Stallings, a member of the Chatham Anglers in 2009 and 2010, was named one of 43 nominees -- including two other Anglers: UConn's Joe Pavone ('09) and Army's J.T. Watkins ('11) -- to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List this week. Stallings owns a .349 average on the year with 12 runs scored and nine RBI out of the cleanup spot. Semifinalists for the award will be announced May 16.

2012 marks the second time Stallings has been named to the Bench Award Watch List. His solid play in 2010 (a .307 average in 52 games and 41 starts at catcher) garnered the recognition last year. In 2011, he started all 67 games, all but two at catcher, while batting .292 and setting Carolina's single-season record for caught stealings with 32, third most in the country.

Jacob Stallings at Veterans Field, August 2, 2010.

Stallings appeared in 30 games for Chatham over the course of the 2009 and 2010 summers, as the Tar Heels played deep into the NCAA tournament both years. In 85 at-bats, the Brentwood, TN native collected 15 hits, 12 walks and 7 runs scored. In 2010, Stallings cut down a stunning ratio of would-be base stealers, leading the Cape Cod Baseball League with 12 assists in only 17 games.

The 6-4, right-handed hitter is among several North Carolina backstops to summer with Chatham in recent years, including Dan Moylan (1998, 1999), Chris Ianetta (2002), Tim Federowicz (2007), Stallings (2009, 2010), and Matt Roberts (2011, 2012).

At Carolina so far in 2012, Stallings ranks fourth on the team with a .349 average entering the weekend of March 9 and owns the second-highest OBP with a .477 mark this season. He has walked eight times this season and is two walks shy of 90 for his career. He is 2-for-2 for runners caught stealing, totaling 49 for his Tar Heel career.

The Bench Award is given to the nation's top collegiate catcher every year and was won by James Madison's Jake Lowery last season. The entire 2012 list is available at WichitaSports.com

TarHeelBlue.com contributed to this report.