May 2, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - USA Baseball released its 60-man midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list on Thursday and both junior 3B Eric Jagielo and junior closer Dan Slania of the University of Notre Dame were included as candidates for the top amateur baseball player in the country.
The Fighting Irish were the lone team in the BIG EAST to feature multiple selections and one of just 13 across the country. In fact, only two programs had more than Notre Dame.
Jagielo leads the BIG EAST in batting average (.390), slugging percentage (.649) and on-base percentage (.497). No player has led the conference in hitting, slugging and on-base in the same season since at least 2006. He also ranks second in the league in total bases (100), third in home runs (eight), sixth in runs scored (40), sixth in RBI (41), tied for sixth in hits (60), tied for sixth in doubles (14) and tied for sixth in sacrifice flies (five).
Jagielo could become the first Notre Dame player since Craig Cooper in 2006 (.425) to bat .400 over the course of an entire season. Jagielo would become the 10th player in the 120-year history of Irish baseball to accomplish the feat. He leads Notre Dame in both multi-hit (19) and multi-RBI games (11). Jagielo has been held hitless in just seven of his 44 games played this year. He has failed to reach base in a game just twice all year.
Slania is the most dominant closer in college baseball. He 3-1 on the season with a league-best 11 saves (in 12 chances) and a sparkling 0.25 earned-run average. Slania has allowed just 23 hits in 36.0 innings of work over 19 relief appearances. His foes have registered a .183 batting average. Slania has fanned 27 and walked six. He has only allowed three total runs, just one earned, all season.
Slania, who already owns the Notre Dame career record for saves with 28 and was named the Cape Cod League's top closer this past summer, is five shy of equaling the single-season record as well. He collected 13 as a sophomore in 2012. Slania also holds the lowest career ERA in school history (minimum of 60 innings pitched). His 1.47 ERA is far below the previous mark of 2.20 held by Mike Dury (2004-07).
The watch list will continue to be a "rolling" list until May 28 -- when the 30 semifinalists for the award are announced -- ensuring that athletes can play themselves into consideration for the award. The Golden Spikes Award trophy will be awarded live on MLB Network for the third year in a row, with a live presentation scheduled during The Rundown on Friday, July 19. Through USA Baseball's partnership with MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), the presentation will also be simulcast with a live stream available from GoldenSpikesAward.com and USABaseball.com.
USA Baseball officials will announce the 30 semifinalists for the 2013 Golden Spikes Award on Tuesday, May 28. The list of 30 will then be sent to a voting body consisting of past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of media that closely follow the amateur game, select professional baseball personnel, and current USA Baseball staff, representing a group of more than 200 voters in total.
Fan voting will once again be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2013. Tuesday, May 28, marks the day when amateur baseball fans from across the country will be able to vote for their favorite semifinalist on GoldenSpikesAward.com. As part of this selection process all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list of 30 names. On Tuesday, June 4, USA Baseball will announce the three finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day.
USA Baseball partnered with MLBAM to create GoldenSpikesAward.com in 2008. Later that year, Florida State's Buster Posey was presented the award at MLB All-Star FanFest in New York City. Stephen Strasburg of San Diego States won the award in 2009 in St. Louis, and Bryce Harper of Southern Nevada took home the trophy from Anaheim, Calif., in 2010. UCLA's Trevor Bauer was the 2011 winner and Florida's Mike Zunino won the 2012 award. Bauer and Zunino accepted their trophies as part of live presentations from MLB Network's Studio 42.
Other past winners of the Golden Spikes Award include Terry Francona (1980), Will Clark (1985), Robin Ventura (1988), Jason Varitek (1994), J.D. Drew (1997), Mark Prior (2001), Jered Weaver (2004), Tim Lincecum (2006) and David Price (2007).