Kevin Kopps is one step closer to the college baseball’s most prestigious honor.
The Razorback pitcher is one of three finalists, along with Vanderbilt’s Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker, for the 43rd Golden Spikes Award, USA Baseball announced Thursday.
As college baseball’s most dominant pitcher, Kopps finished the 2021 campaign with a 12-1 record and 11 saves.
He posted the nation’s lowest ERA (0.90) and WHIP (0.76), striking out 131 in 89.2 innings of work. Opposing hitters had a .162 average against the right-hander, who set the program’s single-season record for ERA during his historic year.
Kopps has taken home nearly every major award in college baseball this year. The Sugar Land, Texas, native won the Dick Howser Trophy and was named the SEC Pitcher of the Year as well as Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year.
He was voted the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association District 7 Player of the Year and was the first reliever to win the College Baseball Foundation’s National Pitcher of the Year Award.
Kopps, a consensus first-team All-America honoree, was also named Pitcher of the Year by Perfect Game/Rawlings.
Kopps is just the third Razorback to be named a Golden Spikes Award finalist and the first since Andrew Benintendi took home the award in 2015. Arkansas’ Phil Stidham also earned finalist honors in 1991.
2021 marks just the second year in the history of the Golden Spikes Award that not only do all of the finalists hail from the same conference, but also the second time that they have all played in the Southeastern Conference.
All four finalists for the award in 2015 also suited up in the SEC (Andrew Benintendi, Arkansas; Alex Bregman, LSU; Carson Fulmer and Dansby Swanson, Vanderbilt).
Additionally, this is just the second time ever that all the finalists for the award have been pitchers. All three finalists for the 2011 prize also made their mark on the mound, including eventual-winner Trevor Bauer (UCLA), as well as Danny Hultzen (Virginia), and Taylor Jungmann (Texas).