NEW YORK – The 2011 Columbia Baseball team awards were given out at the conclusion of the regular season and five different players were honored in a vote by their teammates.
Sophomore outfielder Dario Pizzano received the Lou Gehrig MVP award after a monster season at the plate. "Dario was our most consistent offensive performer," head coach Brett Boretti said. "He had several big hits for us and has continued to raise his game."
At the conclusion of the regular season, Pizzano tied for the Ivy League lead in base hits, was second in runs batted in, second in doubles, first in home runs and first in total bases. He led the Lions in batting average, runs scored, base hits, doubles, home runs, RBI and total bases. During Ivy League play, he walked 14 times and struck out just four times in 66 at-bats.
Senior outfielder Jason Banos earned the Joseph P. Allen Memorial Award, given to the member of the team who has made the greatest contribution in terms of inspirational leadership, sportsmanship, team and college loyalty, and service as a player. "Jay had an outstanding career at Columbia," Boretti stated. "He's one of the best hitters in the history of the program and will be sorely missed. A great person and leader, he overcame injuries and had one of his best years as a senior."
A two-time captain, Banos started all 37 games he played in 2011, batting .323 with six home runs and 30 runs batted in. He played left field, center field and first base this season for Columbia, showcasing his versatility while consistently producing at the plate.
The team's Cy Young award went to sophomore right-hander Stefan Olson. "Stef had some great starts this season," Boretti explained. "He gave us a shot to win each time out."
Olson was dominant during a large portion of the season, as he held opposing hitters to a .209 batting average. Olson was part of two shutouts, a complete-game four-hitter in a win over Cornell and a combined 8-0 shutout with Harrison Slutsky in a victory against Harvard in which Olson allowed just three hits through the first seven innings.
Junior infielder Jon Eisen took home the Mr. Hustle award, finishing fourth on the squad in runs scored and stolen bases and second on the team in sacrifice bunts. "Jon is always looking to do extra," Boretti said, "and get better each day."
Rookie right-handed pitcher Zack Tax earned the team's Rookie of the Year award after a strong first season on the mound. "Zack did a great job out of the pen and with his one start," Boretti said. "He has a very bright future and will be a guy we'll rely on heavily." Tax pitched in 10 games for the Lions, posting a 3.63 earned run average and a 2-0 record. He struck out 15 batters in 22 1/3 innings and opponents batted just .221 against the right-hander.