Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Campbell, Rutledge semifinalists for Golden Spikes Award
Arkansas pitcher Isaiah Campbell throws to a Mississippi State batter during a game Thursday, April 18, 2019, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE One current and one former Arkansas pitcher are semifinalists for one of college baseball's top individual honors.
Arkansas pitcher Isaiah Campbell is one 25 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award that were announced Wednesday. The Golden Spikes Award, presented USA Baseball, and Dick Howser Trophy, presented by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, are given each June to the national player of the year.
Also a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes is former Arkansas pitcher Jackson Rutledge, who is pitching this season at San Jacinto College in Texas. Rutledge is the fourth JUCO player to be a semifinalist.
Finalists will be announced May 29 and the winner will be announced June 14 prior to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
Campbell is one of 10 semifinalists from the Southeastern Conference. Others are Texas A&M pitchers John Doxakis and Asa Lacy; Vanderbilt position players JJ Bleday and Austin Martin; Mississippi State pitcher Ethan Small and outfielder Jake Mangum; Georgia pitcher Emerson Hancock; Kentucky pitcher Zack Thompson; and Missouri pitcher T.J. Sikkema.
Campbell is the first Arkansas player to be named a semifinalist since Andrew Benintendi won the Golden Spikes Award in 2015.
Campbell is 9-1 with a 2.57 ERA as the top starter for the No. 4 Razorbacks.
The redshirt junior right hander has a 6.5 strikeout-to-walk rate in 84 innings and is holding opponents to a .211 batting average.
Rutledge, who left Arkansas' program during the 2018 season, is having a breakout season at San Jacinto. The sophomore right hander has a 9-2 record and 0.87 ERA in 13 starts. Rutledge has 134 strikeouts and 30 walks in 82 2/3 innings.
Rutledge has signed with Kentucky, but is expected to be drafted in the early rounds of the MLB Draft next month and could sign professionally.
Unlike the Dick Howser Trophy that is for college players only, the Golden Spikes Award is awarded to the top amateur player regardless of competition level. Bobby Witt Jr., an infielder from Colleyville, Texas, who is signed to play for Oklahoma, is the first high school player ever named a semifinalist.
Only two non-NCAA Division I players have won the Golden Spikes - Miami-Dade Community College pitcher Alex Fernandez in 1990 and outfielder Bryce Harper at the College of Southern Nevada in 2010.
First baseman Andrew Vaughn of California is looking to become the first player to win the Golden Spikes twice. Vaughn won the award last year.
2019 Golden Spikes Award Semifinalists
Hunter Bishop, Jr., OF, Arizona State
JJ Bleday, Jr., OF, Vanderbilt
Isaiah Campbell, R-Jr., P, Arkansas
Reid Detmers, So., P, Louisville
John Doxakis, Jr., P, Texas A&M
Ryan Garcia, Jr., P, UCLA
Nick Gonzales, So., INF, New Mexico State
Emerson Hancock, So., P, Georgia
Kody Hoese, Jr., INF, Tulane
Josh Jung, Jr., INF, Texas Tech
George Kirby, Jr., P, Elon
Asa Lacy, So., P, Texas A&M
Jake Mangum, Sr., OF, Mississippi State
Alek Manoah, Jr., P, West Virginia
Austin Martin, So., INF, Vanderbilt
Jackson Rutledge, So., P, San Jacinto Junior College
Adley Rutschman, Jr., C, Oregon State
T.J. Sikkema, Jr., P, Missouri
Ethan Small, R-Jr., P, Mississippi State
Noah Song, Sr., P, Navy
Bryson Stott, Jr., INF, UNLV
Zack Thompson, Jr., P, Kentucky
Spencer Torkelson, So., INF, Arizona State
Andrew Vaughn, Jr., INF, California
Bobby Witt Jr., HS-Sr., INF, Colleyville-Heritage (Texas) High School
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