Kopps a semifinalist for Golden Spikes

By: Matt Jones Matt Jones's Twitter account
Published: Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Arkansas reliever Kevin Kopps throws a pitch during a game against Nebraska in the NCAA Fayetteville Regional at Baum-Walker Stadium on June 5, 2021.
( Walt Beazley, Arkansas Athletics )
Arkansas reliever Kevin Kopps throws a pitch during a game against Nebraska in the NCAA Fayetteville Regional at Baum-Walker Stadium on June 5, 2021.

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas reliever Kevin Kopps didn’t make the preseason or midseason watch lists for the Golden Spikes Award.

But on Tuesday, Kopps was announced as one of 25 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes, which is presented by USA Baseball to the best amateur player in the country. A panel of more than 200 voters, plus a fan vote, will determine the winner.

Kopps dazzled with 13 1/3 scoreless innings over three games during the Razorbacks’ win in the NCAA Fayetteville Regional that concluded Monday with Arkansas’ 6-2 victory over Nebraska. Kopps pitched the final seven innings to lower his ERA to 0.68 in 79 2/3 innings this season.

Opponents are batting .156 against Kopps and he has 120 strikeouts to 15 walks. His ERA and WHIP (0.73) are tops nationally for qualifying pitchers. He ranks second nationally with 12 wins and 10th with 11 saves.

Kopps, who was the SEC pitcher of the year, is one of six Golden Spikes semifinalists from the SEC. Others are outfielder Tanner Allen and reliever Landon Sims of Mississippi State, Vanderbilt starting pitchers Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter, and Ole Miss starting pitcher Doug Nikhazy.

Nebraska shortstop/reliever Spencer Schwellenbach, who shut down the Razorbacks for 4 2/3 scoreless innings Sunday, also made the list, as did a pair of Big 12 position players Arkansas saw during the regular season — Texas Tech infielder Jace Jung and Oklahoma infielder Tyler Hardman.

Freshman infielder Ethan Long, who was committed to Arkansas before signing with Arizona State, is also a semifinalist.

Kopps was previously announced as one of 42 semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, which is one of two prominent national player of the year awards, along with the Golden Spikes. Collegiate Baseball Newspaper named Kopps its national player of the year last week.

Kopps would be the first relief pitcher to win the Golden Spikes since Wichita State’s Darren Dreifort in 1993. Arkansas has had one previous winner of the award, outfielder Andrew Benintendi in 2015.

Golden Spikes Award semifinalists

Andrew Abbott, LHP, Virginia

Tanner Allen, OF, Mississippi State

Jacob Berry, INF, Arizona

Colton Crowser, Sam Houston State

Henry Davis, C, Louisville

Sal Frelick, UTL, Boston College

Tyler Hardman, INF, Oklahoma

Jace Jung, INF, Texas Tech

Niko Kavada, INF, Notre Dame

Austin Knight, INF, Charlotte

Kevin Kopps, RHP, Arkansas

Jack Leiter, RHP, Vanderbilt

Ethan Long, INF, Arizona State

Ty Madden, RHP, Texas

Matt Mikulski, LHP, Fordham

Matheu Nelson, C, Florida State

Doug Nikhazy, LHP, Ole Miss

Connor Norby, INF, East Carolina

Kumar Rocker, RHP, Vanderbilt

Spencer Schwellenbach, RHP/INF, Nebraska

Landon Sims, RHP, Mississippi State

Paul Skenes, C/RHP, Air Force

Trey Sweeney, 3B, Eastern Illinois

Gavin Williams, RHP, East Carolina

Aaron Zavala, OF, Oregon


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