OMAHA, Neb. -- The nation's best defense in college baseball this season now has two awards to prove it, as seniors Darin Ruf and Vicente Cafaro from Creighton have been honored with a Rawlings Gold Glove. The awards are betstowed upon the best defensive players at each position at the college level.
Ruf is the first Division I player in the award's history to win it more than once (also 2007), while Cafaro claims his second Gold Glove after winning one at the junior college level (also in 2007). Additionally, Creighton is the first Division I school to claim multiple award-winners in the same season.
Creighton's defense finished the 2009 season with a .984192 fielding percentage mark, the best in college baseball's aluminum bat era. Only the 1971 West Virginia squad, which finished at .984802, has finished the season with a better mark. CU's defense entered the College World Series ranked seventh nationally with 1.23 double plays per game and 69 double plays overall as well.
Ruf, a first baseman who started all 227 games over the past four years for Creighton, recently wrapped up one of the top careers in Bluejay history. He was named the 2007 Joe Carter Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year as a sophomore and twice named first-team all-MVC in his career.
Ruf finished with 2,251 career putouts, a figure that ranks third-most in NCAA history and just 38 shy of the all-time mark. He is Creighton's all-time leader in sacrifice flies (22) and putouts (2,251). Other notable accomplishments Ruf had during his CU career were being second in RBI (201), third in total bases (423) and hits (275), sixth in walks (135), seventh in doubles (57) and 10th in home runs (27). He graduated with a 3.52 GPA in Finance and was a three-time member of the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team. Ruf was also named a CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Third Team Academic All-American, just the sixth baseball player in school history to earn that honor. A native of Omaha, Neb., Ruf recently signed with the Philadelphia Phillies organization after being selected in the 20th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Cafaro is a senior second baseman from Maracay, Venezuela who spent the past two seasons at Creighton. While with the Bluejays, he started 110 of the 112 games he played in, totalling 117 hits, 75 runs, 43 extra-base hits and 66 walks while being hit by 34 pitches. Playing at second base, Cafaro owned a sparkling .987 fielding percentage in 2009, making just four errors in 303 chances. His 201 assists led the MVC this season and rank second-most in Bluejay history. He did not make an error in league play in 2009 and made headlines locally when he sucessfully executed the hidden-ball trick to end a victory over Southern Illinois. Before arriving at Creighton, Cafaro won an Gold Glove at the NJCAA level while attending Iowa Western CC.
The Rawlings Gold Glove has been the standard for outstanding defensive play in the Major Leagues for the past 52 years. This year marks the third season for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award with the ABCA.
Rawlings has been the longtime sponsor of the ABCA/Rawlings All-Region and All-American teams. The ABCA All-American Committees select the Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners in their respective divisions. Every college and high school coach in the country has the opportunity to participate through his respective regional chair.
Nine players from each division (NCAA I, II and III, NAIA, and Junior College I, II and III) are announced at the respective site of each division's national championship. The high school division awards are announced in Omaha during the Division I College World Series. Each winner receives the Rawlings Gold Glove Award similar to the MLB award. Each recipient's school also receives the award for permanent display.
2007 Rawlings Division I Gold Glove Winners
P - Tyson Ross, So., California
C - Tyler Weber, Jr., Wichita State
1B - Darin Ruf, So., Creighton
2B - Mike Bionde, Sr., Rutgers
SS - Sergio Miranda, Jr., VCU
3B - Dan Biedenharn, Sr., Wright State
OF - Tommy Lentz, Sr., Winthrop
OF - Matt Stiffler, Jr., Ohio
OF - Jonathan Wyatt, Sr., Georgia
2008 Rawlings Division I Gold Glove Winners
1B - Rich Poythress, So., Georgia
2B - Ryan Wilkes, Sr., Kentucky
3B - Paul Gran, Sr., Washington State
SS - John Hee, Sr., Hawaii
C - Buster Posey, Jr. Florida State
OF - Evan Bigley, Jr., Dallas Baptist
OF - Alex Hassan, So., Duke
OF - Sean Ratliff, Jr., Stanford
P - Adam Holdenrid, Sr. Northern Illinois
2009 Rawlings Division I Gold Glove Winners
1B - Darin Ruf, Sr., Creighton
2B - Vicente Cafaro, Sr., Creighton
SS - Ben Orloff, Sr., UC Irvine
3B - Brett Henry, Sr., Troy
C - Micah Gibbs, So., LSU
OF - Tyler Holt, So., Florida State
OF - Trent Mummey, So., Auburn
OF - A.J. Pollack, Jr., Notre Dame
P - Nick Greenwood, Jr., Rhode Island