Zack Hess, Zach Watson on Golden Spikes Watch List

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BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU sophomore pitcher Zack Hess and sophomore outfielder Zach Watson were named Friday to the initial Watch List for the 2018 Golden Spikes Award.

USA Baseball announced the 55-player preseason watch list, beginning the process of identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2018 season. The 41st Golden Spikes Award will be presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation on June 28 in Los Angeles.

Watson, a 2017 Freshman All-America and Freshman All-SEC selection, hit a team-best .317 last season with nine doubles, three triples, nine homers, 37 RBI, 42 runs and 12 stolen bases. He led the Tigers in NCAA Tournament play by batting .333 (16-for-48) in 12 games with one double, five homers, 10 RBI, 12 runs and four steals.

The Ruston, La., native, was named to the 2017 College World Series All-Tournament team after batting .346 (9-for-26) in seven games with one double, one homer, two RBI, five runs and two steals.

Watson launched two home runs in consecutive games against Texas Southern and Southeastern Louisiana in the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional, becoming the first LSU player to homer four times in a regional since 2001. Watson batted .357 (5-for-14) in the regional with four homers, seven RBI and five runs.

Hess, a 2017 Freshman All-American and a member of the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll, worked the early part of last season as a mid-week starter before making a move to the Tigers’ bullpen on April 4. After becoming a full-time reliever, Hess worked 32.1 innings in 22 appearances and allowed nine earned runs on 19 hits with 18 walks and 48 strikeouts.

The product of Forest, Va., pitched brilliantly in the 2017 College World Series as a reliever, appearing in five of the Tigers’ seven games while recording three saves and 11 Ks in seven innings. Hess completed the season with a 7-1 record and a 3.12 ERA in 60.2 innings with 83 strikeouts, 30 walks and four saves.

Hess was named SEC Freshman of the Week on May 22 after making two appearances in LSU’s three-game sweep of Mississippi State that clinched the SEC championship for the Tigers. Hess worked a combined 4.2 shutout innings in with two hits, one walk and eight strikeouts.

A complete list of the 55-player USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list is as follows:

Name, Position, Class, School, Conference

Chris Acosta-Tapia, OF, Sr., Oklahoma Wesleyan, Kansas Collegiate

Johnny Aiello, 3B, Jr., Wake Forest, ACC

D.J. Artis, OF, Jr., Liberty, Big South

Luken Baker, 1B/DH, Jr., TCU, Big 12

Joey Bart, C, Jr., Georgia Tech, ACC

Seth Beer, 1B/OF, Jr., Clemson, ACC

Alec Bohm, 3B, Jr., Wichita State, American Athletic

Kris Bubic, LHP, Jr., Stanford, Pac-12

Michael Byrne, RHP, Jr., Florida, SEC

Tim Cate, LHP, Jr., UCONN, American Athletic

Griffin Conine, OF, Jr., Duke, ACC

Trey Cumbie, LHP, Jr., Houston, American Athletic

Gianluca Dalatri, RHP, So., North Carolina, ACC

Tanner Dodson, UT, Jr., California, Pac-12

Colton Eastman, RHP, Jr., Cal State Fullerton, Big West

Jeremy Eierman, SS, Jr., Missouri State, Missouri Valley

Tyler Frank, SS, Jr., Florida Atlantic, Conference USA

Logan Gilbert, RHP, Jr., Stetson, Atlantic Sun

Steven Gingery, LHP, Jr., Texas Tech, Big 12

Ethan Hankins, RHP, Sr., Forsyth Central High School

Zack Hess, RHP, So., LSU, SEC

Sean Hjelle, RHP, Jr., Kentucky, SEC

Nico Hoerner, SS, Jr., Stanford, Pac-12

Tyler Holton, LHP/DH, Jr., Florida State, ACC

Niko Hulsizer, OF, Jr., Morehead State, Ohio Valley

Jonathan India, 3B, Jr., Florida, SEC

Julian Infante, 1B/DH, Jr., Vanderbilt, SEC

Jared Janczak, RHP, Jr., TCU, Big 12

Greyson Jenista, 1B/OF, Jr., Wichita State, American Athletic

Nolan Kingham, RHP, Jr., Texas, Big 12

Jackson Kowar, RHP, Jr., Florida, SEC

Shea Langeliers, C, So., Baylor, Big 12

Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Sr., Mountain Ridge High School

Nick Madrigal, 2B, Jr., Oregon State, Pac-12

Jake Mangum, OF, Jr., Mississippi State, SEC

Jake McCarthy, OF, Jr., Virginia, ACC

Shane McClanahan, LHP, Jr, South Florida, American Athletic

Drew Mendoza, 3B, So., Florida State, ACC

Casey Mize, RHP, Jr., Auburn, SEC

Konnor Pilkington, LHP, Jr., Mississippi State, SEC

Tyler Pittmon, IF, Sr., Antelope Valley, California Pacific

Tristan Pompey, OF, Jr., Kentucky, SEC

Patrick Raby, RHP, Jr., Vanderbilt, SEC

Cal Raleigh, C, Jr., Florida State, ACC

Alfonso Rivas, 1B, Jr., Arizona, Pac-12

Ryan Rolison, LHP, So., Ole Miss, SEC

Braden Shewmake, 2B, So., Texas A&M, SEC

Brady Singer, RHP, Jr., Florida, SEC

Nick Sprengel, LHP, Jr., San Diego, West Coast

Travis Swaggerty, OF, Jr., South Alabama, Sun Belt

Brice Turang, SS, Sr., Santiago High School

Andrew Vaughn, 1B, So., California, Pac-12

Steele Walker, OF, JR, Oklahoma, Big 12

Matt Wallner, UT, So., Southern Miss, Conference USA

Zach Watson, OF, So., LSU, SEC

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