Owen Ozanich

From BR Bullpen

Owenparma.jpg

Owen Ozanich

Biographical Information[edit]

Owen Ozanich has pitched for the French national team in the European Championship, the Universiades, and in qualifiers for the World Baseball Classic. He has led the French Division I in wins, strikeouts and ERA and posted a 91-15 record for the Rouen Huskies from 2011 to 2018. He has also played in the Australian Baseball League, for Team Europe, in the Italian Baseball Serie A for Parma, 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. He has pitched the only perfect game in French D1 history.

Ozanich pitching in what would be his final game with the Rouen Huskies

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 walked on orginally as an infielder for the University of Vermont Catamounts. When it became clear that former MLB/NPB infielder Matt Duffy would beat out Ozanich for the starting shortstop nod, Ozanich was turned solely into a pitcher. 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 both infield and pitcher with the South Burlington Expos of The Green Mountain Baseball League in Vermont from 2009-2011.

Ozanich, who has dual French/American citizenship, chose to continue his career in Rouen, France following graduation from the University of Vermont in 2011. His first start with his new club came in the 2011 European Cup. Ozanich pitched a complete game shutout, giving Rouen a 1-0 win over the Tenerife Marlins.

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 that 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 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 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. 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 represented France in the inaugural Global Baseball Match series vs. Samurai Japan in March 2015. The European All-Star team dropped Game 1 to the Japanese, 4-3, at the Tokyo Dome before bouncing back in Game 2 with an impressive 6-2 victory against the number one ranked team in the world. Ozanich was the only French player on the roster which featured three ex-MLB players: Shairon Martis, Yurendell DeCaster and Fernando Martinez. Ozanich travelled to Gwangju, South Korea in July 2015 to take part in the Universiade games with France. His start against heavily favored Korea was cut short after four scoreless innings due to heavy rain, and France finished a disappointing 8th in the games.

Owen went 10-1 in 2015 regular season for Rouen who finished in first place in the French Division 1. In 57.2 IP, he surrendered 9 earned runs (1.40 ERA) allowing 35 hits and 5 walks (0.69 WHIP) to go along with 50 strikeouts. In the 2015 Challenge de France Ozanich won his semi-final start against Montpellier, going 6 innings, allowing 1 earned run on 4 hits, 1 walk and 5 strikeouts. Ozanich was named 2015 French Finals MVP, Rouen beat Montpellier to claim their 11th title. In the playoffs, Owen pitched 21.0 innings, went 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA, surrendering 16 hits, 5 ER, 3 BB while striking out 22. Combined in 2015 Ozanich went 13-1 in 83.2 IP, 15 earned runs (1.61 ERA), 55 hits, 9 walks (0.76 WHIP) with 77 strikeouts.

Ozanich again played for Europe in the Asian Winter League in Taiwan in 2015 and 2016. He led team Europe in innings pitched (19.1), strikeouts (17), WHIP (0.98) and ERA (1.86) in 2015 and again led team Europe in innings pitched (14.1) in 2016, where he played for former MLB infielder Desi Relaford, who managed the 2016 squad. For his time with Team Europe, Ozanich logged 33.2 IP, 37 H, 18 ER, 9 BB, 27 K, (3-to-1 K/BB) with a 1.36 WHIP and a 4.81 ERA against professionals from the KBO, NPB and CPBL. He is the only player to have played for Europe three times (Japan 2015, Taiwan 2015 and Taiwan 2016).

In March 2016, Ozanich started France's first game in the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers against host nation Panama. Carlos Ruiz homered twice off the French starter as Panama beat France. Ozanich lasted 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. France finished with a 1-2 record, beating Spain the following day before again falling to Panama at Rod Carew Stadium in the elimination game.

Rouen's overall 2016 record was 39-4. The Huskies finished first in the 2016 regular season with a 24-3 record. Ozanich led the team with a 9-0 record to go along with a 1.22 ERA in 74.0 IP, 44 H, 10 ER, 10 BB, 83 K with a 0.72 WHIP. The Huskies took home the 2016 Challenge de France, sweeping past Clermont-Ferrand, Toulouse, Montpellier and Senart. Ozanich was awarded best pitcher for his performance, a one hit, complete game shutout against Montpellier in the semi-finals. The Huskies also took home the 2016 CEB Cup which they hosted in June. Ozanich pitched a complete game shutout (9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K vs. Karlovac in the semi-final) and won Best Pitcher honors. On July 16, 2016, Ozanich started the first ever FFBS All-Star Game for France, throwing three scoreless innings, striking out two. Ozanich won Rouen's first semi-finals game in Toulouse, beating former Florida Marlins pitcher Harvey Garcia, allowing one run over six strong frames. Ozanich helped the Huskies win their 12th championship at home over rival Senart with two strong starts against the Templiers (16 IP, 1 ER in the French Series). His overall stats for 2016 were: 13-0 record, 114.0 IP, 57 H, 12 ER, 22 BB, 117 K, 0.94 ERA, 0.69 WHIP.

On September 3, 2016 Ozanich started against Rob Cordemans and the Netherlands at the Yoshida Challenge. He pitched 5 innings allowing just one earned run while striking out 3 against the Dutch. The following week in Holland, in his lone appearance in the 2016 European Championships, Ozanich pitched 3 innings giving up 2 runs against Italy.

Ozanich with Europe in 2015-16

In the 2017 regular season Owen went 7-1 in 66.2 IP, 48 H, 8 ER, 12 BB, 72 K (1.08 ERA). Rouen finished in first place in the regular season with a 26-2 regular season record en route to winning the 2017 French Series over Senart in a thrilling five game series. The 2017 Huskies finished 36-7 overall. Ozanich pitched against 2017 European Champions Rotterdam in the 2017 Champions Cup in Regensburg, Germany (5.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 K). Overall on the 2017 season went 9-2 in 94.1 IP, 78 H, 18 ER, 20 BB, 101 K, with a 1.03 WHIP and 1.71 ERA. In July 2017, Ozanich again was voted by the fans to start the second ever FFBS All-Star Game for France, where he threw another three scoreless innings, striking out two, matching his previous year's performance. This year, Ozanich was voted to start a third straight All-Star Game. He logged another three scoreless innings, striking out 4. In the first 3 contests the right-hander has not allowed a run in nine innings of work while striking out eight along the way.

Ozanich with Santiago Industriales in Chile in December 2018

Rouen finished with a 15-9 record in the 2018 regular season, in which Ozanich went 8-2 in 74.1 IP, 60 H, 14 ER, 10 BB, 81 K (0.94 WHIP, 1.70 ERA). The Huskies took home their 9th Challenge de France on May 13th with a 13-5 victory over Senart in the final. During the annual tournament, Ozanich pitched 7 innings, allowing no earned runs while striking out 6 in his semi-final start. In June's European Champions Cup held in Rotterdam, Ozanich went the distance (9 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K) in a 127 pitch effort to lead the Huskies to an 8-1 win over Amsterdam. Rouen finished 4th in Europe that June. On October 13, 2018, Ozanich pitched a complete game, 1 hit-shutout in game 3 of the French Series to help the Huskies sweep the Montigny Cougars and claim their 14th French championship. Ozanich picked up two wins in the finals, allowing just one run in 16.2 IP, striking out 18 on his way to Finals MVP honors. Overall in 2018, Owen went 13-2 in 125.1 IP, 93 H, 19 ER, 24 BB, 126 K (0.93 WHIP, 1.36 ERA). Since joining the Rouen Huskies in May 2011, Ozanich has compiled a 91-15 career record (.858 win pct.) in 831.0 IP, surrendering 142 earned runs (1.53 ERA) allowing 580 hits, 142 walks (0.86 WHIP), while striking out 748 (5.26 K/BB) (all competitions: French regular season, Euro Cup, Challenge de France, Playoffs, Final 4). During his time as a position player in France he batted .331 (47-for-142) in the regular season. If you add games outside of France along with playoffs, during his time as a position player Ozanich hit .285 (61-for-214) with 46 runs scored, 8 doubles, 1 triple, no home runs, 31 RBI and 10 stolen bases (all competitions: French regular season, Euro Cup, Challenge de France, Playoffs, Final 4). His winning pct. WHIP K/BB and ERA are all first in French history.


Since first pitching for France in 2011, Ozanich has appeared in 22 games, posting a 4-7 record in 96.1 IP, surrendering 90 hits, allowing 42 earned runs (3.92 ERA) while walking 32 and striking out 75. 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, one of which being former MLB infielder Gift Ngoepe. In the 2014 European Championships 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 innings before Matthieu Brelle-Andrade, Thomas Langloys and Pierrick Lemestre wrapped it up. In a 5-4 France victory over Belgium four days later, Ozanich pitched five scoreless innings, walking one and striking out three.

On August 20, 2017, Ozanich helped France upset highly favored Chinese Taipei by the score of 4-3 in front of 8,500 fans at TianMu Stadium to open the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiades. He pitched 7.1 IP, allowing 3 runs, walking one and striking out two. France finished 3-4, with wins over Chinese Taipei, Russia and Mexico. In November 2018, Ozanich led all French pitchers in innings pitched (9.2) and strikeouts (6) in a seven game exhibition series against South Africa held in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

Following team France's seven game series in South Africa, Ozanich made the trip across the Atlantic to South America to join the Industriales de Santiago in Chile. He recorded a 1-0 record to go with a 3.00 ERA for the defending Chilean champions.

In February 2019, the French flew to Tenerife, Spain, where they held a week long intensive spring camp before facing off in a two game series against the defending Spanish league champions, the Tenerife Marlins. In game 1, Ozanich started and pitched two scoreless innings, striking out three in a game France held on to win. In game 2, the Marlins bats woke up, hitting three homers to defeat France.

Owen Ozanich played the 2019 season for Parma alongside former Rouen and current French national team pitcher Marc-Andre Habeck, and also alongside Team Europe Italian players Sebastiano Poma and Mattia Mercuri. Ozanich was the opening day starter for Parma, where he allowed just two runs over six strong innings of work in a 12-2 victory. Parma finished 4th in the 2019 European Champions Cup, where Ozanich started against his former club, picking up the win against French champions Rouen. He pitched 5.2 innings in the tournament, allowing 3 earned runs while walking none and fanning a team high nine batters. In his second outing of the event, Ozanich broke his leg on a line drive off the bat of Rotterdam's infielder Tyriq Kemp. This injury ended Ozanich's first season in Italy. Parma finished 4th in the regular season with a 12-11 record and lost 3 games to 2 to eventual 2019 Italian champion Bologna in the semi finals. In his lone season in Italy, Ozanich logged 18.2 innings over 5 appearances, allowing 8 ER, 4 BB and 18 K, finishing with a 3.86 ERA. He finished 11th in the league in ERA, just behind Alessandro Maestri (3.34) and Carlos Quevedo (3.32), and second in the league in walks per game (1.93) trailing only Raul Rivero of Bologna.

In September 2019, Ozanich pitched for France in the 2019 European Championships in Bonn, Germany. In his first game since returning from a broken tibia, Ozanich pitched three scoreless innings in a France victory over Austria. Later that week, Ozanich took the loss against the eventual Europe/Asia Olympic qualifier winner Israel. Former major league infielder Danny Valencia homered off the French starter, who struck out 4 and walked 1 in the defeat.

Ozanich will make the move back to France for the 2020 season, where he will join the Montpellier Barracudas. Prior to the beginning of the 2020 campaign, France will participate in the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers in March 2020.

Sources[edit]

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

Related Sites[edit]