LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky junior left-hander Zack Thompson has been named a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, it was announced by USA Baseball on Wednesday. Thompson is one of 25 of the nation’s top players in contention for college baseball’s prestigious honor.
The Golden Spikes Award goes to the nation’s top player and will be announced on June 14. It is presented by USA Baseball and the Rod Dedeaux Foundation. Fan voting will be part of the finalist selection process beginning today through Sunday, May 26 at Golden Spikes Fan Vote.
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.
Thompson is the ninth player from Kentucky to be named to the Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List, joining RHP Trevor Gott and C Luke Maile (2012), OF Austin Cousino and 1B/LHP AJ Reed (2014), RHP Dustin Beggs (2016), 1B Evan White (2017) and IF/OF Luke Heyer and OF Tristan Pompey (2018).