Fifty semifinalists for Golden Spikes announced
Forty schools represented among 50 semifinalists

May 20, 2008

North Carolina first baseman Dustin Ackley is one of three Tar Heels among the 50 semifinalists. (North Carolina Athletics)

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DURHAM, N.C. -- USA Baseball announced Tuesday the names of the 50 semifinalists for the 2008 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award (GSA). This year marks the 31st consecutive year that the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award will be presented to the nation's premier amateur baseball player.

Today also marks the launch of goldenspikesaward.com, powered by MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball. The new Web site features content devoted exclusively to the GSA, including news, voting history, past-winner photo galleries, and photographs and video highlights for 2008 semifinalists. Fans can follow online at goldenspikesaward.com as the list of 50 players is narrowed to five finalists on Tuesday, June 3, en route to the announcement of this year's winner on Wednesday, July 16.

The 2008 GSA will be awarded as part of a production by Major League Baseball and MLBAM that will be streamed live on the Internet exclusively at goldenspikesaward.com and MLB.com. The annual event will be held in New York City following MLB All-Star Week with a time and location to be announced in early June.

Headlining this year's semifinalists are Allan Dykstra (Wake Forest), Preston Guilmet (Arizona), Brian Matusz (San Diego), Justin Smoak (South Carolina) and Brett Wallace (Arizona State), all of whom were 2007 GSA semifinalists.

North Carolina leads the way with three semifinalists (Dustin Ackley, Tim Fedroff and Alex White), and eight other schools (Arizona State, California, Georgia, Kentucky, Miami (Fla.), San Diego, South Carolina and Wichita State) have two semifinalists each.

In total, 40 colleges and universities are represented on the 2008 semifinalist list. Among conferences, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) is tops with nine players on the list, and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the Pacific 10 Conference (Pac-10) have eight and seven players, respectively.

In 2007, USA Baseball instituted a new selection and balloting procedure for the most prestigious award in amateur baseball, and it will follow the same model again in 2008. After accepting nominations from sports information directors across the country, a committee voted to determine the 50 semifinalists. The names of the 50 semifinalists will now be forwarded to a voting body of 125 who will select the five finalists and the eventual 2008 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award winner.

"USA Baseball is proud to recognize these 50 athletes and their respective baseball programs as semifinalists for the 2008 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO. "As in 2007, we see 40 different schools represented on this year's semifinalist list -- this again speaks to the level of baseball talent among college programs across the country."

A list of the 50 semifinalists:

Dustin Ackley, Sophomore, 1B, North Carolina
Yonder Alonso, Junior, 1B, Miami (Fla.)
Gordon Beckham, Junior, SS, Georgia
George Brown, Senior, LHP, St. John's
Anthony Capra, Junior, LHP, Wichita State
Alden Carrithers, Senior, 2B, UCLA
Sawyer Carroll, Senior, 1B, Kentucky
Dane Carter, Senior 3B, Texas A&M
Jason Castro, Junior, C, Stanford
Matt Clark, Junior, 1B, LSU
David Cooper, Junior, 1B, California
Collin Cowgill, Junior, OF, Kentucky
Aaron Crow, Junior, RHP, Missouri
Jordan Danks, Junior, OF, Texas
Ike Davis, Junior, 1B/LHP, Arizona State
Kentrail Davis, Freshman, OF, Tennessee
Chris Dominguez, Sophomore, 3B, Louisville
Johnny Dorn, Senior, RHP, Nebraska
Allan Dykstra, Junior, 1B, Wake Forest
Tim Fedroff, Sophomore, OF, North Carolina
Josh Fields, Senior, RHP/OF, Georgia
Ryan Flaherty, Junior, SS, Vanderbilt
Christian Friedrich, Junior, LHP, Eastern Kentucky
Conor Gillaspie, Junior, 3B, Wichita State
Scott Gorgen, Junior, RHP, UC-Irvine
Preston Guilmet, Sophomore, RHP, Arizona
Jeremy Hamilton, Junior, 1B, Wright State
Reese Havens, Junior, SS, South Carolina
Shooter Hunt, Junior, RHP, Tulane
Jake Jefferies, Junior, C, UC-Davis
Corey Kemp, Senior, C, East Carolina
Ryan Lavarnway, Junior, C, Yale
Andrew Liebel, Senior, RHP, Long Beach State
Brian Matusz, Junior, LHP, San Diego
Pat McAnaney, Senior, LHP, Virginia
Mike McKenna, Senior, OF, Florida Atlantic
Buster Posey, Junior, C, Florida State
Nate Recknagel, Senior, 1B, Michigan
Josh Romanski, Junior, LHP/OF, San Diego
David Sappelt, Junior, OF, Coastal Carolina
Josh Satin, Senior, 2B, California
Tanner Scheppers, Junior, RHP, Fresno State
Xavier Scruggs, Junior, 1B, UNLV
Chris Shehan, Junior, OF, Georgia Southern
Justin Smoak, Junior, 1B, South Carolina
Stephen Strasburg, Sophomore, RHP, San Diego State
Pat Venditte, Senior, LHP/RHP, Creighton
Brett Wallace, Junior, 3B, Arizona State
Jemile Weeks, Junior, 2B, Miami (Fla.)
Alex White, Sophomore, RHP, North Carolina

For the past 30 years, USA Baseball has honored the top amateur baseball player in the country with the Golden Spikes Award. Following the first ever presentation of the Award to Bob Horner of Arizona State in 1978, the Golden Spikes Award has been presented each year to the player who exhibits exceptional athletic ability and exemplary sportsmanship. The 2007 Golden Spikes Award winner was David Price of Vanderbilt University. Past winners of this prestigious award include current Major League Baseball players such as Tim Lincecum ('06), Alex Gordon ('05), Jered Weaver ('04), Rickie Weeks ('03), Khalil Greene ('02), Jason Jennings ('00), Pat Burrell ('98), J.D. Drew ('97), Mark Kotsay ('95) and Jason Varitek ('94). Former Major League stars that have captured the award include Robin Ventura ('88), Jim Abbott ('87), Will Clark ('85), Dave Magadan ('83), Terry Francona ('80), Tim Wallach ('79) and Bob Horner ('78).