Martin, Kjerstad, named to ‘USA Baseball’ preseason watch list for top player

| allHOGS •

FAYETTEVILLE — Heston Kjerstad and Casey Martin have been named to the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List, given to the top amateur baseball player in the country.

Arkansas has had 10 players land on the preseason watch list in the award’s history, as the duo was also named to last year’s opening watch list.

One Razorback has won the accolade, as Andrew Benintendi took home the 2015 edition.

A junior from Amarillo, Texas, Kjerstad put together a .327 batting average last year over 65 starts, leading the team in hits (87) and home runs (17).

It was the second consecutive season he’s tallied 87 knocks, as he drove in 51 RBIs and scored 53 runs in 2019.

With his 58 RBIs in 2018, the feat made him the first Razorback to have 50 or more in his first two seasons since Rodney Nye in 1988 and 1999.

He finished the year with 24 multi-hit performances, good for third on the team, with half of his multi-hit games consisting of three or more. Kjerstad finished the 2019 season as a Second Team All-SEC honoree.

Martin, a junior from Lonoke, Arkansas, finished his sophomore season with a .286-.548-.364 line at the plate, starting all 66 games.

He tallied 81 hits, 40 for extra bases with 21 doubles, four triples and 15 homers. Martin also recorded 57 RBIs and scored 67 runs, both figures ranking second on the squad last season.

He earned All-SEC Second Team honors as a sophomore after hitting .295 in conference play with 38 hits, 28 runs and a team-high nine homers and 22 RBIs.

Martin tied for the team lead in multi-hit performances with 26 and was second in multi-RBI games with 16. Overall, his 155 total bases were good enough for 15th in the NCAA last season.

Both Kjerstad and Martin were picked to the SEC Coaches Preseason All-SEC First Team and were slotted as Preseason All-Americans by all five outlets.

The 2020 schedule starts with Eastern Illinois for the second-straight season, beginning on Friday, Feb. 14, at 2 p.m. at Baum-Walker Stadium.

Information from Razorback Sports Communications is included in this story.