May 16, 2013
THE FLATS – National semifinalists have been named for the Dick Howser Trophy, the Johnny Bench Award and the National Pitcher of the Year Award, and all three lists include Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets — Zane Evans (Howser and Bench), Palka (Howser) and Farmer (Pitcher).
The Dick Howser Trophy, presented by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association to the top player in college baseball, has been cut down to 40 players from across the country and includes both junior C/RHP Zane Evans and junior RF Daniel Palka.
Only Tech, Vanderbilt, LSU, South Carolina and North Carolina had multiple players named as semifinalists. Palka and Evans joined North Carolina’s Kent Emanuel, Colin Moran and Cody Stubbs and North Carolina State’s Trea Turner as the representatives from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The National Pitcher of the Year Award is presented by Diamond Sports and the College Baseball Hall of Fame Foundation and the list of 22 semifinalists includes senior RHP Buck Farmer. From the ACC, Farmer joined Florida State starter Scott Sitz and UNC’s Emanuel.
The Johnny Bench Award has been whittled down to 15 semifinalists by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission and is presented by BaseballSavings.com to the best two-way player in college baseball. Tech’s two-way standout Evans is joined by Florida State’s Stephen McGee from the ACC.
Evans, who has started every game this season, is making his case as the ACC Player of the Year by hitting .366 with 11 doubles, 14 home runs and 59 RBI. All of those numbers are career highs. He is second in the ACC in homers, fourth in RBI and fifth in average. On the mound, Evans leads the club with three saves, has a win over No. 2 North Carolina and a 3.86 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 16.1 innings (12 appearances). He leads the team with eight game-winning RBI.
Farmer is enjoying as dominant senior campaign as one of the elite starting pitchers nationally with an 8-3 record and 2.49 ERA. The righty has wins this season over then-No. 5 Virginia and then-No. 5 Florida State. With 98 strikeouts, he’s second in the ACC and ninth in the NCAA. Among active pitchers nationally, Farmer is the NCAA leader in career wins (32) and strikeouts (363).
Palka has also started all 53 games and is the ACC’s leader with 15 home runs and is third in the league with 60 RBI. The junior right fielder is slugging .655, which leads the conference. He has 13 doubles, two triples and has swiped four bases.
Tech (32-21) wraps up the ACC regular season this weekend at Miami and has earned a spot in the ACC Tournament, which begins next Wednesday in Durham, N.C.