Jackets' Wieters, Payne Named Semifinalists for USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award

May 1, 2007

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech juniors Matt Wieters and Danny Payne have been named semifinalists for the 2007 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, as announced by USA Baseball Tuesday morning.

Wieters and Payne are among 50 semifinalists for the award, which has been presented to the nation’s premier amateur baseball player in each of the last 29 years. The winner’s name will be announced June 29, 2007, during the 2007 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Show, presented by Major League Baseball.

Payne is leading the Yellow Jackets in average (.377), hits (63), runs (50), doubles (16), triples (3), on base percentage (.512) and stolen bases (15), while Wieters is hitting .361 with 14 doubles, two triples, and seven home runs and leads the team in RBI (42), total bases (99), and slugging percentage (.596).

Georgia Tech is one of nine schools with multiple members among the 50 semifinalists as 40 different colleges and universities are represented on the list. Among conferences, the ACC landed 10 players on the list, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) nine players, Pac-10, 6 players, and the Big XII has five players represented.

USA Baseball instituted a new selection and balloting procedure for the award in 2007, with a voting body of 125 selecting the five finalists and eventual 2007 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award winner.

For the past 29 years, USA Baseball has honored the top amateur baseball player in the country with the Golden Spikes Award. Following the first ever presentation of the Award to Bob Horner of Arizona State in 1978, the Golden Spikes Award has been presented each year to the player who exhibits exceptional athletic ability and exemplary sportsmanship. The 2006 Golden Spikes Award winner was Tim Lincecum of the University of Washington. Past winners of this prestigious award include current Major League Baseball players such as Alex Gordon (’05), Rickie Weeks (’03), Khalil Greene (’02), Jason Jennings (’00), Pat Burrell (`98), J.D. Drew (’97), Mark Kotsay (’95), and Jason Varitek (’94). Former Major League stars that have captured the award include Robin Ventura (’88), Jim Abbott (’87), Will Clark (’85), Dave Magadan (’83), Terry Francona (’80), Tim Wallach (’79), and Bob Horner (’78).

Both Payne and Wieters also appear on the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List while Wieters is a member of the Dick Howser Trophy Watch List.

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