FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas baseball players Zack Cox and Brett Eibner have been named to the 33rd Golden Spikes Award Watch List, as announced Thursday by USA Baseball. The Razorback duo is part of the prestigious 50-player list that will eventually be narrowed down to recognize the top amateur baseball player in the nation.
Arkansas is one of nine programs in the country to have two players earn a spot on the Golden Spikes list. In a show of the strength and depth of the Southeastern Conference, 10 of the 12 teams in the league have at least one player listed, representing 15 of 50 selections, the most of any conference.
"To be in the running for the Golden Spikes Award is a tremendous honor and it speaks to the kind of players Zack and Brett are," head coach Dave Van Horn said. "This award is basically the Heisman of college baseball so it’s a big deal to be part of the watch list. Both Zack and Brett work so hard and they put up the numbers to back it up so I think the recognition is definitely deserved."
After an impressive freshman campaign, Cox returns to the Razorback lineup for his second season in Cardinal and White. Last year, he posted a .266 batting average, 13 home runs and 39 RBI. The Louisville, Ky., native also carried a 5-1 record on the mound in 14 relief appearances. For his season performance, Cox earned Freshman All-America honors, marking the second straight season an Arkansas player was selected as Eibner was a Freshman All-American in 2008.
Cox made his presence felt during Arkansas’ run to the College World Series, earning SEC Tournament and NCAA Norman Regional all-tournament honors. He went on to impress during the summer ball season with the Cotuit Kettleers in the Cape Cod League. Cox went on to earn the MVP award for the West All-Star Team and hit .344 in 23 games with the Kettleers. He was named the No. 6 prospect in the Cape Cod League.
Eibner enters his junior season in a Razorback uniform as a dual-role weapon for the team. Last season, he belted 12 home runs to go along with 34 RBI. His loudest swing of the bat, a game-tying two-run blast in the top of the ninth inning against No. 6 Virginia, came in front of 21,383 fans at the College World Series. As a weekend starter, he made 17 starts and had a 5-5 record. Following a one-hit shutout performance at No. 1 Georgia, he earned Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week recognition.
The Houston, Texas, native also made a mark in the Cape Cod League as a member of the Wareham Gatemen during summer ball. Eibner totaled three home runs at the plate and went 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA on the mound. He also participated in the Cape Cod League All-Star Game Home Run Derby. Eibner was named the No. 18 prospect in the prestigious league.
Both Cox and Eibner also garnered Baseball America preseason All-America First Team accolades earlier in the month.
In addition to the 50 players on the initial release, the list is a "rolling" list to allow players to work themselves into consideration during the season. On June 1, the list will be cut down to 30 names. At that time fans can vote for their favorite players at GoldenSpikesAward.com. The five finalists will be named June 8. The Golden Spikes Award will be presented Tuesday, July 13, at the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star FanFest in Anaheim, Calif.
The Razorbacks open their 2010 season this weekend with a home series against Ball State. First pitch of Friday’s season opener is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. at Baum Stadium.