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Zack Collins becomes first Hurricane to earn Johnny Bench award

Zack Collins was named as the recipient of the 2016 Johnny Bench Award honoring the nation’s top collegiate catcher Thursday at the 19th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet.

Collins, who was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the first round of the 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in early June, is the first University of Miami representative to win the award, which was created in 2000.

Collins beat out finalists Logan Ice (Oregon State) and Keith Skinner (North Florida) for the honor.

The Pembroke Pines native, who earned first-team All-America honors from Baseball America, D1Baseball, NCBWA, Perfect Game and Rawlings, delivered another dominant season swinging the bat and behind the plate in 2016.

Collins batted .363 for the season, leading Miami with 16 home runs and 59 RBI to go along with a nation-leading total of 78 walks. He reached base at a .544 clip, the second-highest in the country, and recorded a team-high .668 slugging percentage.

A back-to-back All-ACC First-Team selection, Collins started 62 of a possible 64 games, including 59 starts behind the plate. He just four errors as a key member of a Miami defense that tied for first nationally with a .983 fielding percentage.

Collins, who signed a professional contract with the White Sox as the No. 10 overall pick last week, ended the season ranked third among active players in career home runs (42), third in career RBI (183) and first in career walks (177).

In Collins’ three seasons with the Hurricanes, Miami won two ACC regular season championships (2014, 2016) and three straight ACC Coastal Division titles (2014-16), and made two trips to the College World Series (2015, 2016).