Murray Named to USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List
Thursday, April 10, 2014 | by Matt Moretti III (@Moretts13)
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MURRAY 2014 STATS (PDF)

DURHAM, N.C
. -- USA Baseball released its 50-man midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list on Thursday, bringing the organization one step closer to naming the top amateur baseball player in the country. FGCU starting pitcher Mike Murray joins the list adding to the list of accolades the unbeaten sophomore has already achieved during the 2014 season.

Mike Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forrest Hill HS) took the mound for the Eagles last Friday night against one of the nation’s top hitting teams in Kennesaw State and continued to show why he is one of the top hurlers in the nation as he worked his second-consecutive complete game, this time in shutout fashion, allowed just four hits, struck out four, walked none and picked up his seventh straight win, 5-0.

Murray is just the second pitcher in FGCU history to throw back-to-back complete games. Ricky Knapp did so in March of 2012 when he went the distance against North Florida and East Tennessee State in consecutive outings. The sophomore has lowered his A-Sun best ERA to a miniscule 0.43 which now ranks third in the nation and isn’t even the lowest that it has been this season. During his streak of 43.1 innings without allowing an earned run that was snapped last week at Stetson, Murray’s ERA dropped as low as 0.18 at one point. His 57 strikeouts also lead the league, rank 12th in the nation and have already surpassed his 2013 total of 54. With a 9.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio, Murray is now 10th in the nation in that category.

“Mike is the second player in FGCU’s rich pitching history to be named a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award,” head coach Dave Tollett added. “Chris Sale was named to the four finalists in 2010 which was won by Bryce Harper. Mike is having a special season for us and he has big things ahead of him. I’m glad the nation is starting to take notice.”

The watch list will continue to be a “rolling” list until May 27 -- when the semifinalists for the award are announced -- ensuring that athletes can play themselves into consideration for the award. The Golden Spikes Award trophy will be awarded live in Los Angeles on July 17.

Twenty-three new players were added to the list since its initial release on February 14, joining 27 others from the preseason watch list. The Southeastern Conference led all conferences in watch list players, placing nine on the midseason update, while 17 different NCAA conferences had at least one athlete on the list. The Atlantic Coast Conference had six athletes on the list.

Cal State Fullerton, Florida State, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Louisiana State, Oregon State, Pepperdine and Virginia each had two athletes on the midseason watch list. Vanderbilt junior right-handed pitcher, Tyler Beede, is featured on the 2014 Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list after being one of three finalist for the 2013 Golden Spikes Award.

In addition to Beede, Thomas Eshelman (Cal State Fullerton) and Aaron Nola (Louisiana State) were both semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award in 2013.

USA Baseball officials will announce the 30-man watch list for the 2014 Golden Spikes Award on Thursday, May 8. USA Baseball will then release the semifinalists on Tuesday, May 27. The list of athletes will then be sent to a voting body consisting of Golden Spikes Award winners, 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 2014. Tuesday, May 27, 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 names.

Last year, University of San Diego infielder, Kris Bryant, took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that includes Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Buster Posey (2008).

Other past winners of the Golden Spikes Award include Terry Francona (1980), Will Clark (1985), Robin Ventura (1988), Jason Varitek (1994), J.D. Drew (1997), Mark Prior (2001), Jered Weaver (2004), Tim Lincecum (2006) and David Price (2007).

Important 2014 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award dates include:
Friday, Feb. 14: 60-man preseason watch list released, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors.
Thursday, April 10: 50-man midseason watch list released, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors.
Thursday, May 8: 30-man watch list, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors.
Tuesday, May 27: Semifinalists announced, selected by USA Baseball officials; semifinalist voting begins; voters to select three.
Friday, May 30: Deadline to vote for finalists, 5 p.m. ET.
Tuesday, June 3: Finalists announced; finalist voting begins; voters to select one.
Friday, June 13: Deadline to vote for winner, 5 p.m. ET.
Thursday, July 17: Golden Spikes Award presentation.

The complete 2014 preseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List is as follows:

Name, Position, Class, School (in order of last name, new players bolded)
Brady Aiken, LHP, Senior, Cathedral Catholic (Calif.) HS
Brian Anderson, IF, Junior, Arkansas
Brett Austin, C, Junior, NC State
Tyler Beede, RHP, Junior, Vanderbilt
Aaron Brown, OF/LHP, Junior, Pepperdine
Nick Burdi, RHP, Junior, Louisville
Michael Conforto, OF, Junior, Oregon State
Austin Cousino, OF, Junior, Kentucky
J.D. Davis, OF/RHP, Junior, Cal State Fullerton
Tyler Davis, RHP, Junior, Washington
Chris Ellis, RHP, Junior, Mississippi
Joey Epperson, OF/IF, RS-Senior, UC Santa Barbara
Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Sophomore, Cal State Fullerton
Erick Fedde, RHP, Junior, UNLV
Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Junior, TCU
Blake Fox, LHP, Sophomore, Rice
Kyle Freeland, LHP, Junior, Evansville
Clinton Freeman, OF, Sophomore, East Tennessee State
Jeff Gardner, OF, Senior, Louisville
Aaron Garza, RHP, Junior, Houston
Casey Gillaspie, IF, Junior, Wichita State
Grayson Greiner, C, Junior, South Carolina
Chris Haddeland, RHP, Junior, Linfield
Ian Happ, IF, Sophomore, Cincinnati
Seth Harrison, OF, Senior, Louisiana Lafayette
Matt Imhof, LHP, Junior, Cal Poly
Michael Katz, IF, Junior, William & Mary
Nathan Kirby, LHP, Sophomore, Virginia
Ross Kivett, IF, Senior, Kansas State
Ryan McBroom, OF, Senior, West Virginia
Daniel Miles, IF, Junior, Tennessee Tech
DJ Miller, IF, Senior, Delaware State
Corey Miller, RHP, Senior, Pepperdine
Andrew Morales, RHP, Senior, UC Irvine
Michael Murray, RHP, Sophomore, FGCU
Aaron Nola, RHP, Junior, LSU
Mike Papi, OF, Junior, Virginia
Mark Payton, OF, Senior, Texas
Max Pentecost, C, Junior, Kennesaw State
A.J. Reed, LHP/IF, Junior, Kentucky
Kyle Schwarber, C, Junior, Indiana
Kade Scivicque, C, Junior, LSU
Austen Smith, IF, Senior, Alabama
D.J. Stewart, OF, Sophomore, Florida State
Ryan Thompson, RHP, Senior, Campbell
Trent Thornton, RHP, Sophomore, North Carolina
Sam Travis, IF, Junior, Indiana
Luke Weaver, RHP, Sophomore, Florida State
Ben Wetzler, LHP, Senior, Oregon State
Bradley Zimmer, OF, Junior, San Francisco

About the Golden Spikes Award
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. The 2012 Golden Spikes Award winner was Mike Zunino of the University of Florida. Past winners of this prestigious award include current Major League Baseball players such as Bryce Harper (’10), Stephen Strasburg ('09), Buster Posey ('08), David Price (’07), Tim Lincecum (’06), Alex Gordon (’05), Jered Weaver (’04), Rickie Weeks (’03) and Mark Kotsay (’95). Former Major League stars that have captured the award include Pat Burrell (’98), Robin Ventura (’88), Jim Abbott (’87), Will Clark (’85), Dave Magadan (’83), Terry Francona (’80), Tim Wallach (’79), and Horner (’78).  For more information, please visit GoldenSpikesAward.com.  Fans can follow the Golden Spikes Award on Twitter @USAGoldenSpikes.

About USA Baseball
USA Baseball is the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the United States and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee and the World Baseball Softball Confederation. The organization selects and trains the World Baseball Classic, World Cup and Pan Am teams (and all other USA Baseball Professional Teams); the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team; the USA Baseball 18U, 15U and 12U National Teams; and the USA Baseball Women’s National Team, all of which participate in various international competitions each year.  USA Baseball also presents the Golden Spikes Award annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country.  For more information, please visit USABaseball.com.

HAMMOND STADIUM
Following the series with Jacksonville, the Green and Blue will return to Hammond Stadium on Tuesday (Apr. 15) for a 6:30 p.m. date with No. 13 Florida. The Eagles split their early season two-game set with the Gators, the victory serving as head coach Dave Tollet’s 400th victory at FGCU. Tickets for the game at Hammond Stadium are on sale now through the FGCU Ticket Office.

TICKETS TO HAMMOND STADIUM
Reserved tickets will be $10 and youth reserved for children 12 and under will only cost $7. General admission tickets are available for $7 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased by calling the FGCU Ticket Office at 239-590-7145 and will be available for pick-up if need be at Hammond Stadium on game day. Tickets will also be sold outside of the stadium by FGCU Ticket Office representatives.

CREDENTIALS
All media and photographer credential requests for the game at Hammond Stadium should be directed to Matt Moretti III (mmoretti@fgcu.edu). Credentials will be available for pick up at the FGCU ticket tables at Hammond Stadium on the day of the game.

ATLANTIC SUN CHAMPIONSHIP
For the first time in program history, the FGCU baseball team will play host to the 2014 Atlantic Sun Baseball Championship set to take place May 21-25 at Swanson Stadium. The top eight teams in the standings at the end of the regular season will advance to the championship and compete in a double-elimination style tournament to determine the A-Sun’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles are three-time A-Sun Regular Season Champions and finished second in the league last season.

TICKETS
Single-game tickets for FGCU Baseball are available at a cost of $6 for adults and $3 for children. Season tickets and tickets to the 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship are also available. For more information and additional deals, visit FGCUathletics.com/tickets, or call the ticket office at 239-590-7145.