DURHAM, N.C. (UofA) - Arkansas sophomore pitcher DJ Baxendale has been named a semifinalist for the 2011 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, as announced on Tuesday. Baxendale is one of 30 semifinalists for the award, which is presented to the nation's top amateur baseball player.
The 30 semifinalists will be reduced to three finalists on Tuesday, June 7 and the winner of the award will be revealed on Friday, July 15, at 6 p.m. on MLB Network's "MLB Tonight" program. Starting on Tuesday, fans will be able to vote for who they think is the top amateur player by visiting GoldenSpikesAward.com.
A native of Jacksonville, Ark., Baxendale has been one of the top pitchers in the Southeastern Conference this season, earning second team All-SEC honors. The sophomore right hander enters the NCAA Tournament with a 9-2 record and a 1.75 ERA. He currently ranks second in the SEC in ERA and tied for fifth in victories. In SEC games this season, Baxendale compiled a 4-2 record with one save and a 2.25 ERA. All four victories came against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament and three were against SEC Co-Champions Florida, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. In those victories over the SEC champions, Baxendale bested the other team's ace, defeating Hudson Randall of Florida, Michael Roth of South Carolina and Sonny Gray of Vanderbilt.
One of the most versatile pitchers in college baseball, Baxendale has seen time in both the Arkansas starting rotation and the bullpen, starting 11 games and coming out of the bullpen seven times. Baxendale showcased his versatility in the season's final weekend, starting the series opener against Ole Miss, throwing 8.1 innings and allowing just two runs in a tough-luck loss. Two days later, the right hander came out of the bullpen in the series finale, throwing a scoreless inning to earn a save and clinch the Western Division championship for the Razorbacks.
Baxendale is one of six semifinalists from the SEC and is one of only four sophomores to be included on the list.
Arkansas, a two seed in the Tempe Regional, opens play in the 2011 NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. (CT) against third seed Charlotte.
For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.