Arkansas' Andrew Benintendi named 2015 Golden Spikes Award winner
LOS ANGELES -- Arkansas outfielder Andrew Benintendi was awarded one of the highest honors in collegiate baseball Tuesday evening when he was named the 38th recipient of the Golden Spikes Award during a live presentation on SportsCenter at ESPN’s Los Angeles studio.
The prestigious Golden Spikes Award is the fourth national player of the year honor for Benintendi, who leads the country with 20 home runs on the year after guiding Arkansas to its eighth College World Series appearance in program history in 2015. The sophomore is the third SEC player in the past four years to capture the Golden Spikes Award.
Along with consensus All-America first team honors, the Cincinnati native has been named the Baseball America National Player of the Year, Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year and the recipient of the Dick Howser Trophy. He was also named the program’s first SEC Player of the Year.
When the College World Series comes to a close this week, Benintendi is in line to be the third player in SEC history to lead the league in home runs and batting average, joining Mississippi State’s Rafael Palmeiro in 1984 and Kentucky’s Jeff Abbott in 1994 as the only players to accomplish the feat.
Benintendi’s combination of power and speed made him the first Division I player with 20-plus home runs and 20-plus stolen bases since Western Kentucky’s Wade Gaynor in 2009, and the first SEC player to accomplish the feat since Vanderbilt’s Dominic de la Osa during the 2007 season.
In the best baseball conference in America, Benintendi leads the SEC in batting average, home runs, slugging percentage, on base percentage and walks, and is the only player in the nation to rank in the top 25 nationally in every category.
Recently selected by the Boston Red Sox with the seventh overall pick in the MLB draft, Benintendi is the third-highest drafted player in program history behind Jeff King going No. 1 overall in 1986 and Kevin McReynolds at No. 6 overall in 1981.
The Golden Spikes Award has been presented by USA Baseball since 1978 to honor the top amateur baseball player in the nation. The award is sponsored by Major League Baseball and is presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation.