DURHAM, N.C. – Cal State Fullerton sophomore Thomas Eshelman was named to the Golden Spikes Award 30-Man Watch List, USA Baseball announced on Thursday, bringing the organization one step closer to naming the top amateur baseball player in the country.
Eshelman was named to the 30-man list for the second consecutive season after being a semifinalist during his freshman campaign in 2013. He was one four players from the Big West Conference named to the list on Thursday, tying the conference for the most watch-list players along with the Southeastern Conference.
In 2014, Eshelman is currently 6-2 with a 1.81 ERA in 94.1 innings pitched. He's allowed opponents to hit just .215 against him, surrendering 74 hits with only 17 of those going for extra bases. He also leads the team with 10 quality starts this year.
The Carlsbad, Calif. native leads the nation with a 23.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 0.29 walks per nine innings average. Both of those marks would rank second on the Cal State Fullerton single-season record book behind only his freshman season numbers. He is also ranked sixth in the nation in WHIP (0.82) and 14th in the nation with four complete games.
On Apr. 25, Eshelman became the first Titans pitcher to toss 10 innings since Jason Windsor did so in a 2-1 victory over Jered Weaver and Long Beach State on May 21, 2004. Eshelman tossed a complete-game shutout in the team's 10-inning walk-off victory over Hawaii. He scattered six hits, did not issue a walk and fanned six.
The Titans have produced three Golden Spikes Award winners in the program's history: Tim Wallach (1979), Phil Nevin (1992) and Mark Kotsay (1995).
The watch list will continue to be a "rolling" list until the semifinalists for the award are announced on May 27, ensuring that athletes can play themselves into consideration for the award. The Golden Spikes Award trophy will be awarded live in Los Angeles on July 17.
Six new players were added to the list since its last release on April 10, joining 24 others from the first watch list. Along with the four players from both the SEC and Big West, 15 different NCAA conferences are represented on the list. The West Coast Conference, PAC 12 Conference and Atlantic Sun Conference all had three athletes on the list.
USA Baseball officials will announce the list of semifinalists for the 2014 Golden Spikes Award on Tuesday, May 27. The list of athletes will then be sent to a voting body consisting of Golden Spikes Award winners, past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of media that closely follow the amateur game, select professional baseball personnel, and current USA Baseball staff, representing a group of more than 200 voters in total.
Fan voting will once again be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2014. Tuesday, May 27 marks the day when amateur baseball fans from across the country will be able to vote for their favorite semifinalist on GoldenSpikesAward.com. As part of this selection process all voters will be asked to choose three players from the list of names.
Last year, University of San Diego infielder, Kris Bryant, took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that includes Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009) and Buster Posey (2008).
Other 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) and David Price (2007).
Important 2014 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award dates include:
Friday, Feb. 14: 60-man preseason watch list released, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
Thursday, April 10: 50-man midseason watch list released, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
Thursday, May 8: 30-man watch list, shaped by USA Baseball officials and advisors
Tuesday, May 27: Semifinalists announced, selected by USA Baseball officials; semifinalist voting begins; voters to select three
Friday, May 30: Deadline to vote for finalists, 5 p.m. ET
Tuesday, June 3: Finalists announced; finalist voting begins; voters to select one
Friday, June 13: Deadline to vote for winner, 5 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 17: Golden Spikes Award presentation
The complete 2014 30-man midseason Golden Spikes Award list as follows:
Name, Position, Class, School (in order of last name)
Caleb Adams, OF, Junior, Louisiana Lafayette
Aaron Brown, OF/LHP, Junior, Pepperdine
Nick Burdi, RHP, Junior, Louisville
Michael Conforto, OF, Junior, Oregon State
Tyler Davis, RHP, Junior, Washington
Chris Ellis, RHP, Junior, Mississippi
Joey Epperson, OF/IF, RS-Senior, UC Santa Barbara
Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Sophomore, Cal State Fullerton
Erick Fedde, EHP, Junior, UNLV
Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Junior, TCU
Mike Franco, RHP, Junior, Florida International
Kyle Freeland, LHP, Junior, Evansville
Casey Gillaspie, IF, Junior, Wichita State
Grayson Greiner, C, Junior, South Carolina
Matt Imhof, LHP, Junior, Cal Poly
Connor Joe, IF, Junior, San Diego
Michael Katz, IF, Junior, William & Mary
Nathan Kirby, LHP, Sophomore, Virginia
Jordan Luplow, OF, Junior, Fresno State
Andrew Morales, RHP, Senior, UC Irvine
Michael Murray, RHP, Sophomore, Florida Gulf Coast
Aaron Nola, RHP, Junior, Louisiana State
Max Pentecost, C, Junior, Kennesaw State
Josh Prevost, RHP, Senior, Seton Hall
A.J. Reed, LHP/IF, Junior, Kentucky
DJ Stewart, OF, Sophomore, Florida State
Sam Travis, IF, Junior, Indiana
Drew Weeks, OF/IF, Junior, North Florida
Ben Wetzler, LHP, Senior, Oregon State
Bradley Zimmer, OF, Junior, San Francisco