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Razorback RHP Blaine Knight -nominee

DURHAM, N.C. – Arkansas junior right-hander Blaine Knight is one of 40 players named by USA Baseball to the midseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List for the second time in as many years. The 41st Golden Spikes Award recognizes the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2018 season and will be presented on June 28 in Los Angeles.

Knight was named to the same midseason watch list at this point last year and finished the year as one of Arkansas’ top arms, making 16 starts and compiling a 3.28 ERA, the second-lowest ERA among Arkansas starting pitchers. His eight wins in 2017 were the most by an Arkansas pitcher since Chris Oliver had eight in 2014.

Just three years ago, former Razorback Andrew Benintendi won the 38th Golden Spikes Award, joining Philip Stidham as the second Razorback to ever be named a finalist for the prestigious award. Since then, Zach Jackson and Knight have made it four-straight years that a Razorback has been named to at least the midseason watch list.

This year, Knight has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the Southeastern Conference as he’s racked up a perfect 6-0 record with a team-leading 1.93 ERA, which is fourth-best in the league.

Knight has been Arkansas’ ace hurler on the weekend and since conference play has started, he’s come out on top when going opposite four of the SEC’s preseason All-American pitchers (S. Hjelle, B. Singer, R. Rolison, C. Mize). In each of those starts, Knight’s team has earned the victory and he’s struck out four or more while going at least four innings, which has been a big factor in Arkansas holding a one-game lead in the SEC Western Division.

Even though the Razorbacks lost the series at No. 2 Florida, the major bright spot was on Friday night when Knight outdueled Gator starter Brady Singer striking out 10 over 6.2 innings. The strikeout total made him one of two pitchers to strike out that many Florida batters in a game this year.

Last week, Knight was even better when going up against potential first-round pick in Auburn’s Casey Mize. Knight allowed just one run over 6.1 innings, while striking out six on 113 pitches. It was his best outing as a starter in conference play this year and made him one of only four undefeated starting pitchers in the SEC.

For his career, Knight has a 2.86 ERA over 185.2 innings with 190 strikeouts. With 26 more strikeouts, he will crack into the top-10 all-time for strikeouts in a career by a Razorback pitcher.

Since 1978, 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, the Golden Spikes Award has been presented each year to the player who exhibits exceptional athletic ability and exemplary sportsmanship

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