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Trio Named To Midseason Watch Lists


The national baseball publications have started releasing their midseason watch lists and so far three Big West student-athletes have earned various distinctions.

The watch list for the 2016 National Pitcher of the Year Award, presented by the National College Baseball Hall of Fame, includes Long Beach State’s Darren McCaughan and UC Santa Barbara’s Kyle Nelson.  The award, sponsored by Diamond, will be presented on July 2 in Lubbock as part of the annual Night of Champions event.

McCaughan can also be found on the USA Baseball Golden Spikes midseason watch list along with UC Irvine’s Keston Hiura.  Sponsored by Major League Baseball and presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the 39th Golden Spikes Award, which is given to the top amatuer baseball player, will be presented on June 30 in Los Angeles.  ESPN will once again serve as the programming sponsor for the Golden Spikes Award.

On Wednesday, June 1, USA Baseball will announce the semifinalists for the 2016 Golden Spikes Award. The list of semifinalists will be sent to a voting body consisting of past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of the media that follow amateur baseball closely, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and the 38 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters.

McCaughan has had a tremendous start to his sophomore campaign, going 6-1 with a 1.78 ERA through his first nine starts. He has made eight quality starts, and has not allowed more than three runs in any of his outings. The Downey, Calif., native struck out a career-high 10 batters on April 10 at CSUN, winning Big West Pitcher of the Week honors for that performance.
Earlier in the season, he tossed a pair of gems against power conference opponents at Blair Field. First, he faced the minimum through 7.1 innings against Arizona State in a 3-1 Dirtbags win, then in his next outing threw seven innings of shutout ball against Nebraska as LBSU went on to win 1-0 in 13 innings.

Hiura landed many notable accolades over his freshman season and began the 2016 season on the Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List. He’s the first Anteater to make the list since the 2007 season when Blair Erickson was a semifinalist for the award.  Hiura leads not only the team, but the Big West conference in batting average (.398) and slugging percentage (.659), while landing third in on-base percentage (.480). He also tops the league with 82 total bases, seven home runs and 32 runs batted in.

In his sophomore campaign, Nelson is currently sporting a conference-best 1.14 earned run average to rank seventh in the country.  In 39.1 innings of relief, the San Francisco, Calif., native has struck out 43 while holding the opposition to a league-low .157 batting average.  Nelson currently owns a 6-0 record with four saves.