UCI’s Hiura Named Semifinalist for Golden Spikes Award

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Voting is under way to name the country’s top amateur baseball player.

Keston Hiura watches the flight of an extra-base hit during Irvine’s win April 20 at USC. (MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo)

UC Irvine junior Keston Hiura is among the semifinalists for the 2017 Golden Spikes Award, an honor given to the player voted as the nation’s best in college or amateur baseball.

Presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the winner will be announced June 29 on ESPN, marking the 10th year in a row the award has been presented via a show broadcast to the entire country.

The 25 semifinalists were announced May 31, as selected by USA Baseball officials and the Golden Spikes Award Voting Committee from an initial list of more than 200 candidates.

Online public voting for the finalists is open through 5 p.m. Eastern Time this Friday, June 9. Three finalists will be selected based on the online vote totals.

Fans can vote as many times as they wish for semifinalists, at http://web.usabaseball.com/goldenspikes/vote.jsp

The leader in semifinalist voting as of Wednesday afternoon was Mississippi State outfielder Brent Rooker, with 36 percent of the votes cast, according to the website.

Jake Adams of Iowa was second at 29 percent, followed by Hiura with 9 percent of the vote.

Finalist voting begins June 14 and ends June 23 at 5 p.m. ET.

Hiura has made the most of a challenging situation this season, as he’s been hampered by a nagging arm injury that arose last year.
Despite only being able to DH, he’s performed at his full potential, commanding every Big West offensive category and presiding among the national leaders in batting average, slugging, and on-base percentage.

He’s hit for power, with eight home runs and 23 doubles, honed his plate vision and discipline with 50 walks, and even leads the team on the basepaths with nine stolen bases.

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), David Price (2007), Buster Posey (2008), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Bryce Harper (2010) and Trevor Bauer (2011).

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