Sandlin, Wallner named to Golden Spikes watch list

By FROM SOUTHERN MISS,

DURHAM, N.C. – USA Baseball released the Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list on Tuesday, moving closer to naming the top amateur baseball player in the country, including both RHP Nick Sandlin and OF Matt Wallner of Southern Miss. Presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the 41st Golden Spikes Award will be presented on June 28 in Los Angeles.

The midseason watch list features 40 of the nation's top amateur players from the college ranks. The Golden Spikes Award Advisory Board will continue to maintain a rolling list of athletes, allowing players to play themselves into consideration for the award before announcing the semifinalists on May 21.

 “We are excited to announce the forty players on the Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s Executive Director and CEO. “These athletes have proven themselves worthy of consideration for this prestigious award through the eyes of the advisory board and from the overwhelming fan support through our nomination process.”

Sandlin, the Evans, Ga., native posts a 4-0 record with a 1.29 ERA after eight appearances. Through 49 innings pitched, Sandlin’s tossed 75 strikeouts and has allowed only 28 hits.

Wallner has found his swinging form as of late having homered in the last three Sunday’s of competition. With a .355 batting average, Wallner’s homered eight times, including three grand slams and has driven in 39 RBI, a team and conference high.

In total, 13 different NCAA conferences have at least one athlete on the list, including two NCAA Division II conferences in the Gulf South Conference and the Sunshine State Conference. The Southeastern Conference leads all conferences represented on the midseason watch list with nine athletes, while seven players represent both the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Pac-12 Conference.

The defending College World Series champions, Florida, leads all schools with three athletes on the 2018 midseason watch list. Arizona State, Kentucky, NC State, Oregon State, and Southern Mississippi all placed two athletes on the list.

On Monday, May 21, USA Baseball will announce the semifinalists for the 2018 Golden Spikes Award. The list of semifinalists will then be sent to a voting body consisting of baseball media members, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and the 40 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters. As part of this selection process, all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list of semifinalists. On June 6, USA Baseball will announce the finalists, and voting for the winner will begin that same day.

Fan voting will once again be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2018. Beginning with the semifinalist announcement and continuing through the finalist round voting deadline, fans from across the country will be able to vote for their favorite player on GoldenSpikesAward.com.

The winner of the 41st Golden Spikes Award will be named on Thursday, June 28, at a presentation in Los Angeles. The finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Award Dinner that evening at Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.

USA Baseball has partnered with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation to host the Golden Spikes Award since 2013. The Foundation was formed to honor legendary USC and USA Baseball Olympic team coach, Rod Dedeaux, and supports youth baseball and softball programs in underserved communities throughout Southern California.

Last year, Louisville’s Brendan McKay took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that include Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008), and David Price (2007).

The 2018 Golden Spikes Award timeline:

•      Monday, May 21: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists announced, voting begins 


•      Sunday, June 3: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists voting ends 


•      Wednesday, June 6: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists announced, voting begins 


•      Friday, June 22: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists voting ends 


•      Thursday, June 28: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation 


A complete list of the 40-player Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list is as follows: Name, Class, Position, School, Conference

Luken Baker; Jr.; IF/DH; TCU; Big 12


Joey Bart; Jr.; C; Georgia Tech; ACC


Seth Beer; Jr.; IF/OF; Clemson; ACC


Alec Bohm; Jr.; IF; Wichita State; American Athletic

Kyle Brnovich; So.; RHP; Elon; Colonial Athletic

Brian Brown; Sr.; LHP; NC State; ACC 


Logan Browning; Sr.; LHP/OF; Florida Southern; Sunshine State

Kris Bubic; Jr.; LHP; Stanford; Pac-12


Michael Busch; So.; IF; North Carolina; ACC


Michael Byrne; Jr.; RHP; Florida; SEC 


Gage Canning; Jr.; OF; Arizona State; Pac-12


Joe DeMers; Jr.; RHP; Washington; Pac-12


Colton Eastman; Jr.; RHP; Cal State Fullerton; Big West

Jeremy Eierman; Jr.; IF; Missouri State; Missouri Valley


Tyler Frank; Jr.; IF; Florida Atlantic; Conference USA


Logan Gilbert; Jr.; RHP; Stetson; Atlantic Sun


Luke Heyer; Sr.; IF/OF; Kentucky; SEC


Chris Holba; Jr.; RHP; ECU; American Athletic


Jonathan India; Jr.; IF; Florida; SEC


Jake Irvin; Jr.; RHP; Oklahoma; Big 12


Mitchell Kilkenny; Jr.; RHP; Texas A&M; SEC


Brett Kinneman; Jr.; OF; NC State; ACC


Cody Klemens; Jr.; IF; Texas; Big 12


Blaine Knight; Jr.; RHP; Arkansas; SEC


Trevor Larnach; Jr.; OF; Oregon State; Pac-12


Davis Martin; Jr.; RHP; Texas Tech; Big 12


Shane McClanahan; Jr.; LHP; South Florida; American Athletic

Keegan McGovern; Sr.; OF; Georgia; SEC


Drew Mendoza; So.; IF; Florida State; ACC


Casey Mize; Jr.; RHP; Auburn; SEC


Tristan Pompey; Jr.; OF; Kentucky; SEC


Griffin Roberts; Jr.; RHP; Wake Forest; ACC 


Adley Rutschman; So.; C/IF; Oregon State; Pac-12


Nick Sandlin; Jr.; RHP; Southern Mississippi; Conference USA

Zack Shannon; Sr.; RHP/IF; Delta State; Gulf South


Brady Singer; Jr.; RHP; Florida; SEC


Bren Spillane; Jr.; IF/OF; Illinois; Big Ten


Spencer Torkelson; Fr.; IF; Arizona State; Pac-12


Andrew Vaughn; So.; IF; California; Pac-12


Matt Wallner; So.; UT; Southern Mississippi; Conference USA

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