Sports

Razorbacks’ Kopps wins Golden Spikes Award

Arkansas Razorbacks relief pitcher Kevin Kopps added to his postseason haul by winning the 43rd Golden Spikes Award on Thursday.

Kopps, who had Tommy John surgery in 2018, relieved for a Razorbacks team ranked No. 1 much of the season and the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

The 43rd award, presented on ESPN’s SportsCenter, is given by USA Baseball and honors the top amateur baseball player in the United States based on their athletic ability, sportsmanship, character, and overall contribution to the sport.

Kopps, the SEC pitcher of the year, had a hand in 23 of the Hogs’ 50 wins with a 12-1 record and 11 saves. Kopps appeared in 33 games, allowed nine runs in 89⅔ innings and struck out 131. The senior from Sugar Land, Texas, led the nation with his 0.90 ERA, and opponents batted .162 against him.

He was selected with the 99th overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft by the San Diego Padres.

“With his record-setting consistency and dominance out of the bullpen that were unmatched by starters or relievers in 2021, Kevin is truly deserving of this prestigious award and his place within the exceptionally talented group of past winners,” USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO Paul Seiler said in a statement.

Other finalists included Vanderbilt pitchers Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker.

Kopps, who joins current Kansas City Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi (2015) as the only winners of the award from Arkansas, also took home the Dick Howser Trophy on June 18.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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