By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
DALLAS, Texas – Tennessee Tech junior designated hitter / outfielder Kevin Strohschein and senior first baseman Chase Chambers were both selected as semifinalists for the 2018 Dick Howser Trophy, announced by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Thursday. The award, given to the top player in collegiate baseball, is based on two rounds of national voting.
Both Strohschein and Chambers represent the first Golden Eagle players named as Dick Howser Trophy semifinalists. The two veterans have helped lead Tech to a consensus Top-25 national ranking, – currently as high as No. 16 by the NCBWA – a program-record 44 victories, an Ohio Valley Conference-record 25 league wins and the OVC regular season title. Winners of 35 of their past 36 games, the Golden Eagles also set the OVC record with a 28-game winning streak from Mar. 13 to Apr. 28
The first player in OVC history to win both Rookie and Player of the Year in the same season back in 2016, Strohschein leads the Golden Eagles with 88 hits, 15 home runs and a 6.92 slugging percentage. He is batting .398 in 50 games on the year, totaling 56 runs, 14 doubles, three triples, 56 RBI and a .454 on base percentage.
Chambers leads the OVC with a .408 batting average while ranking first on the Golden Eagles with 68 RBI and a .508 on base percentage. He has accumulated 82 hits in 50 games to go along with 62 runs, 11 doubles, 13 home runs, a .667 slugging percentage and 38 walks to just 21 strikeouts. The first baseman also owns an impressive .987 fielding percentage.
Tech ranks as just one of just schools nationally with multiple players named semifinalists, joining Florida (four), Oregon State (four), NC State (two), Kentucky (two) and Texas Tech (two). A total of 35 collegiate players were named semifinalists for this year's honor.
This is the 32nd year of the Dick Howser Trophy. The finalists will be announced on Friday, June 8. The 2018 award will be presented at TD Ameritrade Stadium in downtown Omaha, the home of the College World Series for the seventh year. The winner will be unveiled on MLB Network on Friday, June 15 and then a press conference with the winner will be held on Saturday, June 16 at 10 a.m. (CDT), the opening day of the 2018 CWS.
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.
A Florida native, Howser was twice an All-America shortstop at Florida State (1957-58), then coached the Seminoles in 1979, after a career as a major league player and coach. After one year in the college ranks, Howser returned to the majors to manage the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals and won the World Series with the Royals in 1985. The baseball stadium on the Florida State campus is named for Howser.