Stephens named to USA Baseball 60-man watch list for Golden Spikes Award

DURHAM, N.C. --- Tennessee Tech sophomore first baseman Zach Stephens has been named to USA Baseball’s 60-man watch list for the Golden Spikes Award.

"It's pretty crazy to me," Stephens said. "I'm kind of speechless about being in the top-60 in the nation."

Since 1978, The Golden Spikes Award is given to the top amateur baseball player in the country who exhibits exceptional on-field ability and exemplary sportsmanship. Notable winners of the award include Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Stasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008), David Price (2007) and Tim Lincecum (2006).

Stephens, and Southeast Missouri’s Trenton Moses, are the only two players for the Ohio Valley Conference on the watch list.

“Zach is very deserving with the kind of season that he has put together,” TTU head coach Matt Bragga said. “He’s still a young player and has already made great strides after his freshman season. He is definitely capable of improving every year and could finish with a great career at Tech.”

Stephens, who has started all 43 games at first base this season, currently leads the Golden Eagles in several offensive categories including home runs (16), RBIs (46), hits (70) and runs (40).

He ranks fourth in the nation in home runs, second in slugging percentage (.783), third in total bases (130), seventh in batting average (.422) and seventh in on base percentage (.520).

"I'd say I've had a strong season," Stephens said. "I think I've been more consistant and I'm hoping to keep that up for the rest of the season."

USA Baseball officials will announce the 30 semifinalists for the 2012 Golden Spikes Award on Tuesday, May 29. The list of 30 will then be sent to a voting body consisting of 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 2012. Tuesday, May 29, 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 30 names. On Tuesday, June 5, USA Baseball will announce the three finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day.

To view the complete list of USA Baseball’s 60-man watch list release click here

To learn more about the Golden Spikes Award click here