LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky junior left-hander Zack Thompson has been named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, it was announced on Thursday. Thompson is one of 26 of the nation’s top players in contention for college baseball’s prestigious honor.
The 2019 Dick Howser Trophy, presented by The Game Headware, in balloting by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in conjunction with the Dick Howser Trophy Committee and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. The award, given to the top player in collegiate baseball, is based on two rounds of national voting.
This is the 33rd year of the Dick Howser Trophy. The finalists will be announced on Thursday, June 6. The 2019 award will be presented at TD Ameritrade Stadium in downtown Omaha, the home of the College World Series for the eighth year. The winner will be unveiled on MLB Network on Friday, June 14.
Thompson also is one of 25 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award, which I given to the nation’s top player.
Thompson has been dominant on the mound this season, posting a 2.14 earned run average in 13 starts. In 84.0 innings he has allowed just 53 hits and 31 walks while striking out 121 batters. He has held opposing hitters to just a .179 batting average and allowed only one home run. He ranks 12th nationally in strikeouts per nine inning with 12.96.
In Southeastern Conference play, Thompson has been even better against a schedule that has seen the Cats play six ranked teams in this first nine weeks of action. He boasts a 5-1 record with a 1.91 ERA while striking out 84 batters in 61.1 innings. He has two complete game victories and opponents have hit just .176 against him.
The Selma, Indiana native was named National Pitcher of the Week by both Perfect Game and the National College Baseball Writers Association, as well as SEC Pitcher of the Week, after posting a complete game shutout victory over No. 4 Georgia on March 29. In that game, Thompson struck out a career-high 13 batters and allowing only two infield hits in the first complete game of his career while throwing a career-high 124 pitches.
He also pitched a complete game in a road win at Florida where he allowed just one unearned run to the Gators. Overall, he has logged 10 straight quality starts (6.0 innings, three or fewer earned runs).
The preseason All-America and All-SEC southpaw also became the 14th players in school history to reach 200 career strikeouts and currently ranks 16th among all active Division I pitchers (min. 75 innings) with 12.23 strikeouts per nine innings. He also ranks 17th among active pitchers in allowing just 5.99 hits per nine innings for his career.
Entering the final weekend of the regular season he currently ranks fourth on UK’s career strikeouts list with 259 and third on the single-season list with 121, which is a new record for a left-handed pitcher.
The Dick Howser Trophy, given in memory of the former Florida State University All-America shortstop and major league player and manager, who died of brain cancer in 1987, is regarded by many as college baseball’s most prestigious award. Criteria for consideration of the trophy include performance on the field, leadership, moral character and courage, qualities that were exemplified by Dick Howser’s life.