FAYETTEVILE, Ark. – Arkansas sophomore outfielder Andrew Benintendi is one of 35 players named as a semifinalist for the 2015 Dick Howser Trophy, presented by Easton Foundations to the top player collegiate baseball.
The Cincinnati, Ohio native has emerged as one of the best players in the country in 2015, leading the nation in slugging percentage and ranking second in home runs with 17 bombs on the year.
Benintendi is one of two power five conference players to rank in the top 10 in the country in home runs and batting average as he looks to become just the third player in SEC history to lead the league in both categories.
As the SEC’s only .400 hitter, Benintendi has seen his average sky rocket 102 points over the last 24 games to an SEC-leading .411 on the year, while also pacing the league in slugging percentage (.772), on base percentage (.507), total bases (139) and home runs (17).
He has also reached base in 35 of his last 50 plate appearances and is the first player in program history with 15-plus home runs and 20-plus stolen bases in a season.
This is the 29th year of the Dick Howser Trophy, presented by Easton Foundations. The finalists will be announced on Wednesday, June 10. The 2015 award will be presented at TD Ameritrade Stadium in downtown Omaha, the home of the College World Series for the fifth year. The winner will be unveiled on MLBNetwork on Friday, June 12 and then a press conference with the winner will be held on Saturday, June 13 at 10 a.m. (CDT), the opening day of the 2015 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.
The winner’s name is inscribed on the permanent trophy, a bronze bust of Howser displayed at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg – home of the Tampa Bay Rays. Both the winner and his school receive a special trophy to keep.
Benintendi and the Razorbacks return to action Friday evening, taking on Georgia in game two of the series at Foley Field in Athens, Georgia. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. CT.
- Is the first player in school history with at least 15 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a season.
- Is one of only two players in the country with 10+ home runs and 20+ stolen bases.
- He is on the brink of becoming the third player in SEC history to lead the league in home runs and batting average.
- Is second in the country with 17 home runs on the year.
- Leads the country with a .772 slugging percentage.
- Ranks fourth in the SEC with 49 RBI on the year (7 behind leader).
- Had a span of four home runs in six plate appearances against Mississippi Valley State and Kentucky.
- Leads the SEC with a .507 on base percentage.
- Leads the SEC with a .411 batting average.
- Has reached base in 35 of his last 50 plate appearances and in 24 consecutive games.
- Has not struck out over his last nine games and 36 at bats.
- His .411 batting average would be the highest since 2011 when Zack Cox set the school record at .429.
- Has nine multi-hit games over the last 12 contests, including five three-hit games.
- Ranks fifth in the SEC with 20 stolen bases on the year.
- Has eight stolen bases over the last 14 games.
- Leads the SEC with 139 total bases.
- Ranks third in the SEC with 52 runs scored.
What People Are Saying
“To me it’s a no brainer, he’s outplayed the entire league and is the SEC Player of the Year.” – Chris Burke (ESPN Analyst and 2001 SEC Player of the Year)
“There are only a few hitters in the SEC you have to game plan for and Benintendi leads that list.” – Tom Hart (ESPN Analyst)
“Benintendi has been an enormous reason for the Razorbacks resurgence. He is far more than big statistics.” – Dari Nowkhah (SEC Network Analyst)
“He’s the SEC Player of the Year and it’s not even close.” – Dave Perno (SEC Network Analyst)
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