Left-handed pitcher JP Sears has been named a semifinalist for the 2017 Golden Spikes Award, it was announced Wednesday by USA Baseball.
Sears is just one of 25 players across the country in all of levels of collegiate baseball to be named a semifinalist for the prestigious award and is the lone Southern Conference representative. Past winners of the award include MLB stars Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Buster Posey and Kris Bryant.
The junior was placed on the Golden Spikes Midseason Watch List earlier this year and continued to impress to become a semifinalist for the award.
Sears leads the nation in strikeouts with 142 and ranks fourth in strikeouts per nine innings with 13.41. He was selected the Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year after finishing the regular season with a 7-2 record and 2.03 earned run average.
The southpaw had arguably the most dominant start in college baseball this season when he struck out 20 batters in a two-hit, complete game shutout of VMI on March 24. The 20 strikeouts are tied for the most in program history and the most by a single pitcher in Division I this season.
Sears' 20-strikeout game came 364 days after he struck out 19 batters at VMI last season. After the record performance, Sears owns two of the top-six strikeout totals in Southern Conference history.
The Sumter, South Carolina, native posted seven double-digit strikeout games in 14 starts, including reaching 15 strikeouts on three occasions. Sears struck out at least 11 batters in his final three regular season starts, all victories.
Sears' season ranks among the best in The Citadel history, finishing with the fifth most strikeouts in a season, despite pitching just the 22nd most innings. His 13.41 strikeouts per nine innings rank fourth in a single season. His 317 career strikeouts are good for third all-time in Bulldog history.
USA Baseball officials will announce the finalists for the 2017 Golden Spikes Award on Wednesday, June 14. To select the finalists, the list of semifinalists is sent to a voting body consisting of past Golden Spikes Award winners, past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers and members of the media, representing a group of more than 200 voters in total.