SIU's Bullock Named to Johnny Bench Award Watch List
Tuesday, March 02, 2010

WICHITA, Kan. - Southern Illinois senior catcher Tyler Bullock was one of 53 catchers named to the Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award delivered by Papa John's Pizza, which was released Monday by The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission.

Bullock is the only catcher in the Missouri Valley Conference named to the initial watch list.

"It's a big honor and I didn't think anything would come like this," Bullock said. "I just want to provide us with better defense behind the plate and I've been working on that."

This is the second-straight year SIU has had a catcher nominated for the award, as Mark Kelly was one of 44 catchers on the 2009 watch list.

"We are happy for Tyler, especially since this is such a prestigious award," head coach Dan Callahan said. "He's sat patiently in the shadows of Mark Kelly the past two years waiting for his chance to be the everyday guy. Bull is not only being recognized as a quality hitter, but as a fine catcher too."

Bullock has led the Salukis in home runs in each of the past two seasons and is one of only seven players in school history to do so.

He has had a strong start to the 2010 season and has a hit in all five Saluki games. He hit a grand slam in the 17-16, extra innings victory over Jacksonville State on Feb. 26 and has driven in five runs this year.

Because the award is given annually to the top division one collegiate catcher, the list will be updated to include other candidates until May 5, 2010.

The watch list will be narrowed down to ten semifinalists, whom will be announced May 19, 2010. Ballots 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 2, 2010 prior to the NCAA Regionals and Major League Baseball Draft. 
 
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 13th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on July 1, 2010.

"We are extremely appreciative to the Coleman Company, Papa John's Pizza and Mr. Johnny Bench for supporting this prestigious award," stated Bob Hanson, President/CEO of the Sports Commission. "They are the ones who make all of this possible."