UVU baseball: Goose Kallunki a finalist for top college baseball honor
Shane Truskolaski, Utah Valley Athletics
OREM, Utah -- A day after being drafted by the San Diego Padres, Goose Kallunki has been named one of three finalists for the 2012 Dick Howser Trophy presented by Easton Foundations, the award for the top player in college baseball.
Kallunki, a first-team All-American, joins two other All-Americans; LSU outfielder Raph Rhymes and Florida catcher Mike Zuzino as the finalists for the prestigious 26th annual awarding of the Howser Trophy. Past winners of the award include current New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira (Georgia Tech) and San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (Florida State).
The winner will be announced on Friday, June 15, at an 11 a.m. (CDT) national news conference at TD Ameritrade Park – the second-year home of the 66th annual NCAA World Series.
Kallunki, the 2012 Great West Player of the Year, was the first Wolverine in school history to receive first-team honors and the program's third All-American in as many years. He led UVU to a 47-win season and its third straight Great West Conference regular season and tournament titles.
The Orem, Utah, native leads all Division I players with 86 RBI and is No. 2 in total bases (168), No. 3 in slugging percentage (.734), No. 5 in home runs (18), No. 6 in batting (.419) and No. 8 in hits (96) and on-base percentage (.491). Kallunki was a two-time National Player of the Week and a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award.
Balloting was conducted by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in conjunction with the College Baseball Foundation, the Dick Howser Trophy committee and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
Each finalist embodies the major principles of character, leadership, desire and competitive spirit exhibited by Dick Howser, the All-America shortstop and later head coach at Florida State before managing the Kansas City Royals to the world championship in 1985. He is also the namesake for Dick Howser Stadium at FSU.
Rhymes, the 2012 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, is leading the nation in hitting with a .452 (99-for-219) batting average. He has produced 11 doubles, four home runs and 52 RBIs this season. Rhymes was a 30th round draft choice by the New York Yankees in the 2012 MLB Draft, after being in the 40th round last season by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He has helped the Tigers to a 46-16 overall record this season, the No. 7 national seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament and a matchup with Stony Brook in the Baton Rouge Super Regional this weekend.
Zunino, a two-time All-American and one of the three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award as the nation’s top catcher, became the highest-drafted player in Florida history when the Seattle Mariners took him third overall in the MLB draft.
The All-SEC first-team catcher was the 2011 SEC Player of the Year and is a three-time NCAA Gainesville Regional All-Tournament team selection. He has helped the Gators to a 45-18 record and will be making an appearance in the Gainesville Super Regional this weekend against NC State.
Voting for the Dick Howser Trophy has been conducted by the NCBWA membership since 1999 after the American Baseball Coaches Association selected the recipient from 1987-1998. The NCBWA also selects the Stopper of the Year, the Division I National Coach of the Year and National Freshman Hitter and Pitcher of the Year, along with NCAA Division II and III All-America teams, Players and Coaches of the Year.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.
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