Murray Named to USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award 30-Man Watch List
USA Baseball released its 30-man midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list on Thursday, bringing the organization one step closer to naming the top amateur baseball player in the country. FGCU’s unbeaten ace right-hander Mike Murray remains on the list after being named to the 50-man watch list earlier this season.
Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forrest Hill HS) will be in pursuit of history when he takes the mound on Friday night. A win will give him 12 for the season and will be an FGCU single-season record, surpassing MLB All-Star Chris Sale’s mark set in 2010. The 11 victories he currently possesses already lead the nation in that category. He will square off with Jared Burton of ETSU who will be making his first start of the season in his 26th appearance.
Murray, a three-time A-Sun Pitcher of the Week, worked through 6.0 innings in his last start at NKU and gave up nine hits to go with four earned runs while walking two and striking out six in an 8-5 victory, extending his league-lead in punch outs to 71 and bringing his A-Sun leading ERA to 1.51. Murray is one of just two pitchers in FGCU history to win double-digit games along with fellow wins-record holder Chris Sale. He is also one of just nine pitchers in the A-Sun in the last 10 years to win double-digit games in a season. Murray is on pace for at least one more start after his upcoming one this weekend before the conclusion of the regular season.
“Mike has been so consistent and so good for us,” FGCU head coach Dave Tollett added. “He is having a year like Chris Sale did when he finished second for this very award. He is one of the hardest workers we have and is having a truly special season as a result of that.”
The sophomore has also been named to the College Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher of the Year watch list in recognition of the stellar season he is putting together. His name is mentioned alongside players from all of the power conferences including in-state rivals and perennial college baseball powers, Florida State, Miami and Florida. He is the only player on the College Baseball Hall of Fame watch list that comes from the A-Sun.
Earlier this season Murray became just the second pitcher in FGCU history to throw back-to-back complete games. Ricky Knapp did so in March of 2012 when he went the distance against North Florida and East Tennessee State in consecutive outings. During his streak of 43.1 innings without allowing an earned run that was snapped at Stetson, Murray’s ERA dropped as low as 0.18 at one point.
The watch list will continue to be a “rolling” list until the semifinalists for the award are announced on May 27, ensuring that athletes can play themselves into consideration for the award. The Golden Spikes Award trophy will be awarded live in Los Angeles on July 17.
Six new players were added to the list since its last release on April 10, joining 24 others from the first watch list. The Southeastern Conference and the Big West Conference led all conferences in watch list players, with four each on the second midseason update. Additionally, 15 different NCAA conferences are represented on the list. The West Coast Conference, PAC 12 Conference and Atlantic Sun Conference all had three athletes on the list.
USA Baseball officials will announce the list of semifinalists for the 2014 Golden Spikes Award on Tuesday, May 27. The list of athletes will then be sent to a voting body consisting of Golden Spikes Award winners, 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 2014. Tuesday, May 27 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 names.
Last year, University of San Diego infielder, Kris Bryant, took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that includes Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Buster Posey (2008).
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).
Important 2014 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award dates include:
Friday, Feb. 14: 60-man preseason watch list released, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
Thursday, April 10: 50-man midseason watch list released, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
Thursday, May 8: 30-man watch list, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
Tuesday, May 27: Semifinalists announced, selected by USA Baseball officials; semifinalist voting begins; voters to select three
Friday, May 30: Deadline to vote for finalists, 5 p.m. ET
Tuesday, June 3: Finalists announced; finalist voting begins; voters to select one
Friday, June 13: Deadline to vote for winner, 5 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 17: Golden Spikes Award presentation
The complete 2014 30-man midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list is as follows:
Name, Position, Class, School (in order of last name, new players bolded)
Caleb Adams, OF, Junior, Louisiana Lafayette
Aaron Brown, OF/LHP, Junior, Pepperdine
Nick Burdi, RHP, Junior, Louisville
Michael Conforto, OF, Junior, Oregon State
Tyler Davis, RHP, Junior, Washington
Chris Ellis, RHP, Junior, Mississippi
Joey Epperson, OF/IF, RS-Senior, UC Santa Barbara
Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Sophomore, Cal State Fullerton
Erick Fedde, EHP, Junior, UNLV
Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Junior, TCU
Mike Franco, RHP, Junior, Florida International
Kyle Freeland, LHP, Junior, Evansville
Casey Gillaspie, IF, Junior, Wichita State
Grayson Greiner, C, Junior, South Carolina
Matt Imhof, LHP, Junior, Cal Poly
Connor Joe, IF, Junior, San Diego
Michael Katz, IF, Junior, William & Mary
Nathan Kirby, LHP, Sophomore, Virginia
Jordan Luplow, OF, Junior, Fresno State
Andrew Morales, RHP, Senior, UC Irvine
Michael Murray, RHP, Sophomore, FGCU
Aaron Nola, RHP, Junior, Louisiana State
Max Pentecost, C, Junior, Kennesaw State
Josh Prevost, RHP, Senior, Seton Hall
A.J. Reed, LHP/IF, Junior, Kentucky
DJ Stewart, OF, Sophomore, Florida State
Sam Travis, IF, Junior, Indiana
Drew Weeks, OF/IF, Junior, North Florida
Ben Wetzler, LHP, Senior, Oregon State
Bradley Zimmer, OF, Junior, San Francisco
Full coverage of each game including live stats can be found at FGCUAthletics.com. If you can’t reach a computer, follow @FGCU_Baseball on Twitter or “like” FGCU Baseball on Facebook for daily news, photos and a constant stream of live updates during each game.
ATLANTIC SUN CHAMPIONSHIP
For the first time in program history, the FGCU baseball team will play host to the 2014 Atlantic Sun Baseball Championship set to take place May 21-25 at Swanson Stadium. The top eight teams in the standings at the end of the regular season will advance to the championship and compete in a double-elimination style tournament to determine the A-Sun’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles are three-time A-Sun Regular Season Champions and finished second in the league last season.
Tickets to the 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship are now available. General admission day passes are available for $10 and tournament passes can be purchased for $45. Reserved seating day passes are available for $15 and tournament reserved seating passes are available for $55. For more information and additional deals, visit FGCUathletics.com/tickets, or call the ticket office at 239-590-7145.