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Owen Ozanich

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Owen Ozanich

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Owen Ozanich has pitched for the French national team in the European Championship and in qualifiers for the World Baseball Classic. He has led the French Division I in wins and ERA and has gone 43-10 for the Rouen Huskies in French regular season and postseason play and in the European Cup tournament. He has also played in the Australian Baseball League and had played NCAA Division I ball in the United States. Ozanich has played infield and outfield at times in his career in addition to his work on the mound.

Ozanich was born in France before moving to Aruba and then the United States. He grew up in South Burlington, Vermont. In 2001, the South Burlington little league team advanced to the championship game of the New England bracket, playing on national television (ESPN2) - the furthest any Vermont little league team has ever gone. Ozanich was the winning pitcher in the state championship game which sent the team to the regional tournament.

Ozanich played two seasons for both the SBHS varsity team and the South Burlington Legion team. In 2007, Ozanich helped lead the Rebels to a 20-0 record and the Vermont State Championship. That summer, the legion team composed of many of the same players also won the state championship, posting a 30-7 overall record.

In the fall of 2007 Ozanich played NCAA Division I baseball when he made the University of Vermont (NCAA D1) baseball team as a walk-on player. He appeared in 35 games over two seasons at the University of Vermont. As a freshman, he had a 1-1 record, 4.88 ERA in 20 games. In the summer of 2008, Ozanich pitched for the Bennington Bombers of the NYCBL, posting a 3.86 ERA. He fell to 0-3, 9.18 in 2009 in 16 2/3 IP. Vermont dropped baseball after his sophomore season. Ozanich played with the South Burlington Expos of The Green Mountain Baseball League in Vermont from 2009-2011.

He has dual French/American citizenship, allowing him to play in Europe without counting as a foreign player slot. He has played for the Rouen Huskies since May 2011, following graduation from Vermont.

Rouen took home the 2011 Challenge de France, qualifying for the 2012 European Cup. For his efforts during the week long tournament, Ozanich took home the best pitcher award. The Huskies swept not only through the French field, going 5-0 in the Challenge, but in the awards department as well. In addition to Ozanich winning the award for best pitcher, Rouen's Joris Bert took home the award given to the top hitter, and Jordan Crystal was named the tournament MVP.

With a 19-9 record, the Rouen Huskies finished third in the French league during the 2011 regular season before advancing to the French D1 finals against Montpellier in October 2011. Rouen beat Montpellier three games to two to claim the 2011 title. In limited at bats when not pitching, Ozanich finished the regular season with a .323 batting average (10-for-31) with two doubles and a triple. He also scored eight runs and drove in seven more in nine games, posting a .452 slugging percentage and a .432 on-base percentage along with one stolen base. On the mound for Rouen, Ozanich posted an 8-2 record in 82 1/3 IP, surrendering 69 hits, allowing 21 earned runs (2.30 ERA) while walking 17 and striking out 43 with a 1.04 WHIP (Regular season, Euro Cup and Playoffs).

Ozanich was joined by former Vermont college teammate Ethan Paquette, former Bite teammate Mathew Smith and USC pitcher Chris Mezger for the 2012 season in Rouen. The Huskies finished first in the 2012 French Division 1 with a 26-2 record. In May 2012, Rouen took home the Challenge de France, going 5-0 in the week-long event for the second consecutive season. In the 2012 European Cup, held in Rotterdam, Netherlands that June, Rouen finished with a 4-1 record, becoming the first French team to ever qualify for the Final Four, held in Nettuno, Italy the following August. Under the European Cup's previous format, the Huskies had finished second in the 2007 European Cup.

Ozanich pitching in the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers

Ozanich, along with Rouen teammates Mat Smith, Quentin Becquey and Oscar Combes participated in the inaugural Collegiate Baseball League Europe 23 & under tournament, which was held in July 2012 in Oosterhout, Netherlands. This event showcases the best prospects from Europe and elsewhere. Ozanich's team, the Falcons, finished first with a 5-1 record. Mat Smith won MVP honors, while Ozanich batted 5-for-13 (.385) with two doubles. He recorded a complete game two-hitter with one walk and five strikeouts to earn the win in game 3 of the week-long tournament.

In 2012 for Rouen, Ozanich posted a 14-3 record in 116 2/3 IP, surrendering 78 hits, allowing 26 earned runs (2.00 ERA) while walking 25 and striking out 86 with a 0.88 WHIP (Regular season, Euro Cup and playoffs). When playing in the field in 2012, Ozanich batted .342 (13-for-38) with 14 runs scored, four runs batted in, 14 walks, three steals and a .528 OBP. Rouen won the 2012 French D1 Finals, beating Savigny three games to none in the semi-finals, and then Sénart three games to one in the finals. Ozanich pitched the final game of the championship series, going eight innings for the victory. The Huskies then went to Nettuno, Italy to participate in the European Cup Final 4, a first for a French club. Rouen fell 4-0 to Fortitudo Bologna and 8-7 to L&D Amsterdam Pirates.

Owen Ozanich spent the 2011 and 2012 off seasons in Adelaide, Australia, where he played for the East Torrens Red Sox of the South Australian Baseball League (SABL). On November 18, 2011, Ozanich played in the 2011 SABL All-Star Game. The SABL All-Stars beat the Adelaide Bite 10-9, Ozanich pitched one inning and played left field and third base.

Ozanich pitching for the ABL's Adelaide Bite in 2012

On January 12, 2012, Ozanich made his debut with the Australian Baseball League's Adelaide Bite. The Bite called up Ozanich to bolster their bullpen during the final weeks of the regular season and playoffs. Ozanich made two appearances, pitching 4 innings, allowing 4 hits and 1 run while picking up 2 strikeouts. The Bite finished the regular season with a 20-25 record before being ousted in the first round of the ABL playoffs versus Sydney. Following the conclusion of the Bite's season, Ozanich continued to pitch and play the field for East Torrens, splitting time between shortstop and the outfield when not pitching. He batted .366 to go with a 4-4 record and 3.69 ERA. East Torrens finished with a 7-16-1 record. Ozanich led the team in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched and ERA.

The following off season Ozanich returned to Adelaide, again with the East Torrens Red Sox. East Torrens finished with a 14-14-2 record, just missing a playoff spot. The season before Ozanich arrived, the club won only 4 games, that number increased to 7 in Owen's first year and 14 in his second. He again led East Torrens in wins (4), innings pitched (73.2), strikeouts (49) and ERA (2.93). At the plate he hit over .300 again, playing RF and 2B when not on the mound. Ozanich signed his second professional contract with the Adelaide Bite, however he did not appear in any games during his second stint in the Australian Baseball League with the exception of the annual SABL vs. Bite All-Star game, where the Bite won the rematch of the 2011 contest. The Bite missed 2012-2013 the playoffs, finishing with a 21-25 overall record.

During his two seasons in the SABL, Ozanich batted 46-for-131 (.351) with 20 runs scored, 9 doubles, a triple, 20 RBI and 5 stolen bases. On the mound he posted an 8-9 record in 141 1/3 IP, surrendering 118 hits, allowing 52 earned runs (3.31 ERA) while walking 38 and striking out 110 with 1.10 WHIP and 2 saves. Ozanich, along with Kensington's Nick Talbot were the only two players in the SABL to post back to back seasons of .300 or better batting averages (min 50 AB) and sub 4.00 ERA's (min 50 IP).

The Rouen Huskies finished the 2013 regular season in first place with a record of 24-4 in France. The team also swept through the 2013 Challenge de France with a 4-0 record, earning a spot for the 2014 European Cup. Ozanich posted a 2-0 record in 11 1/3 IP in the tournament with a 0.79 ERA, 2 BB and and a tournament high 13 K. He batted .333 (3-for-9) with 2 runs scored and an RBI. In the 2013 regular season Ozanich had a 10-0 record in 80 2/3 IP, he surrendered 54 hits, allowing 9 earned runs (1.00 ERA) while walking 5 and striking out 85 (0.73 WHIP). He led the French league in wins, WHIP, opponents' batting average and ERA. At the plate, he hit .410 (16-for-39) with 5 doubles, 8 runs scored, 7 RBI, 3 steals, 9 walks to go with a .538 SLG and .520 OBP. In the 2013 European Cup, Ozanich pitched 15 IP, going 0-1, allowing no earned runs (0.00 ERA) along with 7 hits, 3 walks and 15 strikeouts. In the 2013 playoffs, Ozanich batted .308 (4-for-13) with 2 RBI. The Huskies won their 10th French League title against Senart in the finals (rematch of 2012 finals). On the mound he had a 2-2 record in 28 1/3 IP, surrendering 22 hits, allowing 6 earned runs (1.91 ERA) while walking 7 and striking out 18. In late September 2013, Rouen won both games against Antwerp and Moscow in the qualifying round to remain in the European A Cup in 2014. In game 1 vs. the Belgians, Ozanich went 3-for-3 with 3 RBI in an 11-5 victory. In the must win game 2, Ozanich pitched a complete game one-hit shutout, striking out 13 and walking none to notch the 7-0 win. Combining regular season statistics with Challenge de France statistics, European Cup statistics, French playoffs, and 2014 Qualifier statistics, Ozanich pitched 144 1/3 innings, posting a 15-3 record, allowing 16 earned runs (0.99 ERA), 95 hits and 17 walks while striking out 144 (0.77 WHIP), he did not allow a home run the entire season. At the plate he batted a combined 28-for-75 (.373) with 5 doubles, 12 runs scored, 14 RBI and 4 stolen bases. The Huskies finished with an overall record (regular season, Challenge de France, Euro Cup, playoffs and 2014 Qualifier) of 37-11.

In the 2014 the regular season he batted .233 (7-for-30) with 5 runs scored, 2 RBI, 3 walks and a stolen base. On the mound he was 4-0 in 48 IP, allowing 11 runs (2.06 ERA) on 37 hits while walking six and striking out 41. In the Challenge de France he reached on a HBP and later scored in his only game in the field. On the mound versus Paris and their top ranked offense he threw 6 innings, surrendering just one hit for the win. Rouen ended up finishing third at the Challenge with a 3-1 record. In the 2014 European Cup, Rouen posted a 3-2 record, with wins over Nettuno, Solingen and Prague. Ozanich was again 0-for-0, with 2 runs scored as a pinch runner. In 14 innings pitched, he went 1-1, allowing 17 hits, 4 runs, 1 BB, 11 K (2.57 ERA). Overall in 2014, Ozanich hit .233 (7-for-30), with 8 runs scored, 2 RBI, 3 walks and 1 stolen base. Overall on the mound he pitched 68 1/3 IP, giving up 16 ER (2.10 ERA) to go with a 6-2 record, 55 hits, 8 walks, 54 strikeouts and a 0.92 WHIP. Ozanich has not committed an error in the field since his rookie season in 2011 and is undefeated in his four regular seasons with the Huskies (25-0 record). During these four regular seasons in France (2011-2014) he has batted .333 (46-for-138). The Huskies finished third in the regular season with a record of 20-8, just behind Paris and Montpellier. Their overall 2014 record was 28-14.

Ozanich uses three main pitches, fastball, slider and changeup. His fastball was clocked at 87 MPH in the World Baseball Classic Qualifier, 88 MPH in March 2014, 89 MPH in October 2013, and topped at 90 MPH in Rouen's playoff game at Montpellier in August 2013. Since joining the Rouen Huskies in May 2011, Ozanich has compiled a 43-10 career record (.811 win pct.) in 411 2/3 IP, surrendering 79 earned runs (1.72 ERA) allowing 297 hits, 67 walks (0.89 WHIP) while striking out 327 (all competitions: French regular season, Euro Cup, Challenge de France, Playoffs, Final 4). His career win percentage, WHIP, ERA and K/BB (4.88) are all fist in Huskies history and French league history for pitchers with a minimum of 300 IP. From 2013 to 2014, Ozanich gave up only one home run in 212 1/3 innings pitched and never gave up more than 4 earned runs in any start during those two seasons. During his time as a position player Ozanich hit .291 (60-for-206) with 44 runs scored, 8 doubles, 1 triple, no home runs, 27 RBI and 9 stolen bases (all competitions: French regular season, Euro Cup, Challenge de France, Playoffs, Final 4).

Ozanich has been with the French National team since 2011. Since then, has appeared in 11 games, posting a 2-2 record in 41.0 IP, surrendering 44 hits, allowing 18 earned runs (3.95 ERA) while walking 13 and striking out 35. Ozanich started for France against South Africa in the Qualifiers for the 2013 World Baseball Classic in Jupiter, FL on September 21, 2012, pitching three scoreless innings allowing no hits with two strikeouts. Selected to play by French national team head coach Eric Gagné in the 2014 European Championships, Ozanich was one of five Rouen Huskies, along with Yoann Vaugelade, Maxime Lefevre, Boris Marche, and Arthur Paturel. France played host to Japan, Belgium and Holland in the inaugural Yoshida Challenge in September 2014. Ozanich pitched a scoreless inning against Belgium, striking out two. Holland won the inaugural tournament after beating France 3-2 in the championship game. The previous day "Les Bleus" topped the Netherlands squad 12-8, the first in France's meetings against the European Power since 1937, following 19 straight losses. Ozanich pitched France to a 3-2 victory over host nation Germany on opening night of the tournament, beating Luke Sommer; he allowed two runs (one earned) in five before Matthieu Brelle-Andrade, Thomas Langloys and Pierrick Lemestre wrapped it up. In a 5-4 France victory over Belgium on September 16, 2014, Ozanich pitched five scoreless innings, walking one and striking out three. For the tournament he was 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in 11 2/3 IP, struggling in relief of Nicolas Dubaut (6 R in 1 2/3 IP) in his last game, a relief outing against Spain in a 10-5 French loss.

[edit] Sources

http://www.sa.baseball.com.au/cm/stats.aspx?TID=15298&CID=3090

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