Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, was a great place for Palo Alto grad Ozzy Braff to start his college baseball life. In the end, though, there was no place like home.
Braff spent two years at Whitman,an NCAA Division III institution, where, as a sophomore, he hit .358 with 40 runs scored, 10 doubles, a triple, five home runs and drove in 17 runs in 151 at bats, earning a second-team All-Northwest Conference selection.
Last year, he transferred to San Jose State and moved back into the family home, part of a plan to make baseball more of a priority.
The younger brother of T.J. Braff, who played college ball at Santa Clara, Ozzy is looking to improve on a solid junior year with the Spartans.
"It's been great," Braff said. "I spend most of my time at home."
Braff, who missed the start of last season with a hand injury, led San Jose State with a .298 overall batting average, including a team-best .393 in Mountain West play, where he also earned second-team all-conference honors.
A shortstop at Palo Alto and Whitman, the Spartans used Braff at second base, where he didn't commit an error in 133 total chances.
"I'm excited to get out there and help the team," Braff said. "I'd love to have a big senior year. This is the last time I'll get the team aspect of baseball and it's important for me to focus on the team. I can always get better at everything."
Braff hopes to help the Spartans stop a four-year run of losing seasons. The last time San Jose State enjoyed a winning season, Braff was a junior at Paly, helping the Vikings win the SCVAL De Anza Division title. He was teammates with BJ Boyd, who signed with the Oakland Athletics following that season. Boyd played at Single-A Stockton last year.
Braff would love the opportunity to join him in pro ball next year.
"I had a great time playing at Whitman but I wanted to put baseball more in the forefront of my life," he said. "I want to keep playing. I love the game."