LSU outfielder Dylan Crews and pitcher Paul Skenes were announced on Wednesday as two of the three finalists along with Florida’s Jac Caglianone for the Golden Spikes Award.
Crews and Skenes are LSU’s first Golden Spikes Award finalists since Alex Bregman in 2015. The Golden Spikes Award honors the top amateur baseball player in the nation who best exhibits exceptional on-field ability and exemplary sportsmanship.
The winner of the 45th Golden Spikes Award will be announced on June 25 during a special presentation on ESPN at 1:30 P.M. CT, leading into game two of the College World Series finals.
“USA Baseball is honored to name Jac Caglianone, Dylan Crews, and Paul Skenes the finalists for the 2023 Golden Spikes Award,” said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. “All three of these athletes are beyond worthy of this recognition, thanks to both their terrific play on the field and their tremendous character off the field. The winner of this award will join a long list of established and successful baseball players, and we look forward to crowning the recipient of the 45th Golden Spikes Award later this month.”
Crews and Skenes become the 11th and 12th LSU players to be named Golden Spikes Award finalists, tying Miami (Fla.) for the most all-time by a single program. This is the eighth time in the award’s history that a school boasts multiple players as finalists, a feat that has been accomplished twice by LSU. The other time that LSU had two finalists was in 1994 when Russ Johnson and Todd Walker were finalists for the award.
Crews is among the nation’s best all-around stars and he was named SEC Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Crews has reached base in all 61 of LSU’s games in 2023, which included a 26-game hitting streak. He is near the top of the national leaderboard in several offensive categories, including on-base percentage (second, .573), runs scored (second, 87), and batting average (third, .432).
The junior also leads the SEC in batting average, hits (95), on-base percentage, runs scored, and walks (61) while posting an immaculate 1.000 fielding percentage in center field. In addition, Crews was also named to the conference’s Community Service Team.
Crews earned Baton Rouge Regional MVP honors after helping the Tigers advance to the Super Regional. Crews batted .615 (8-for-13) from the plate with a double, two home runs and four RBIs in the Baton Rouge Regional. Both of his home runs came against second-seeded Oregon State.
Skenes, who earned SEC Pitcher of the Year honors, has had one of the best seasons on the mound in college baseball history. Following the conclusion of NCAA Regionals, the junior ace leads the nation with 179 strikeouts, which is 41 more than the pitcher with the second most strikeouts. Skenes sits at the top of the national leaderboard in strikeouts per nine innings (16.22) and WHIP (0.79) as well.
Skenes has been at the front of the Tigers’ rotation on their run to the NCAA Super Regional as he is 11-2 on the year with a 1.90 ERA, good for the fourth lowest in the country. Skenes also leads the SEC in nearly every statistical pitching category, including batting average against (.171), ERA, innings pitched, strikeouts, and wins. Skenes has allowed three or fewer runs in all but one start in his first season at LSU, including 10 outings permitting one or zero runs.
Skenes is also a three-time SEC Pitcher of the Week and joined Crews as a member of the Baton Rouge Regional All-Tournament Team.
Caglianone has been a key contributor in their run to the NCAA Super Regional whether its at the plate, the infield or the mound. Caglianone is the nation’s leader in home runs with 31 home runs – which broke Florida’s single-season record – and ranks fifth in the country with 84 RBIs.
Caglianone, who is a member of the All-SEC First Team sits first in the SEC and second in the nation with 194 total bases. Additionally, he owns a .779 slugging percentage and has collected 84 hits, good for third and fifth-best in the conference, respectively.
On the mound, Caglianone has a record of 7-3 with a 3.78 ERA over 16 starts. He has allowed the third-fewest hits of any qualified pitcher in the SEC and is holding opponents to a.184 batting average against, which is fourth in the conference.
Caglianone, who has twice been named the SEC Player of the Week and was the MVP of the Gainesville Regional, is the sixth player from Florida to be named a Golden Spikes Award finalist. The last Florida player to be named a Golden Spikes finalist was Brady Singer in 2018.
Both Florida and LSU boast one winner in the 45-year history of the prestigious Golden Spikes Award.