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Special Bo-maha's Baseball Bites: Dick Howser Trophy headlines NCBWA awards trio at MCWS Opening Day

Updated: Jun 17, 2023

LSU's Skenes wins 2023 Dick Howser Trophy

OMAHA, NE (NCBWA) – LSU pitching standout and consensus All-American Paul Skenes is the 36th recipient of the 2023 Dick Howser Trophy presented by The Game Headwear.

The 6-5, 245-pound junior from Lake Forest, California, joins LSU star Eddy Furniss – the 1998 winner of the Dick Howser Trophy and celebrating the 25-year anniversary of his honor – as the second Tiger to capture the nation’s top collegiate baseball award since 1998.

Skenes is the 2023 Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year and one of the most decorated pitchers in the LSU’s long and successful run as a NCAA powerhouse.

The big righthander is ranked among the top five in every major NCAA Division I pitching category with a 12-2 record (tied for second), 188 strikeouts (first), 15.8 strikeouts per nine innings (first), 10.44 strikeouts-to-walks ratio (third), 0.78 WHIP (first), and 1.77 ERA (second). Opponents have managed just a .170 batting average against him with only 65 safeties in 107 total innings pitched.

The 2023 Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year also tops that conference in all five rankings and made the all-tournament team in the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional and Super Regional.

He also is second for single-season strikeouts with 188 – just 14 behind Tigers all-time great Ben McDonald with 202 in 1989.

The Californian has allowed two or fewer runs in 17 starts this season and fired shutouts against both Tulane and Kentucky in the opening rounds of the two recent NCAA regionals to help LSU make its 19th all-time NCAA World Series appearance since 1986 with six NCAA titles.

Skenes transferred from Air Force where he was All-America as a sophomore and 2022 NCBWA District Player of the Year (the first player in history to be named NCBWA District Player of the Year over two different seasons with a similar honor in 2023).

The seven-time (most in nation) Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week also has a strong background with several family members serving in the U.S. Armed Services along with his appointment to the Air Force Academy in 2020-21.

Skenes donates $10 for every strikeout in ’23 to the Folds of Honor program for educational scholarships to the spouses and children of military and first responders who have passed away or have been disabled in the line of duty.

The three-time All-America choice at Air Force in 2021 and ’22 and LSU this season also captured the 2022 John Olerud Two-Way Player Award and was Mountain West Co-Pitcher of the Year for the ’22 Falcons while notching 2021 Collegiate Baseball Co-Freshman of the Year laurels in 2021. Skenes also was selected for the 2021 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.

He was the winner among a standout field of fellow 2023 finalists sophomore 1B-P Jac Caglianone of Florida, junior OF Dylan Crews of LSU, SP Rhett Lowder of Wake Forest, and sophomore 2B JJ Wetherholt of West Virginia.

He is slated to be the starting pitcher for the Tigers when they open the 76th NCAA World Series Saturday at 7 p.m. (CDT) against Tennessee.

The announcement of the trophy honor was made at a national news conference Friday after extensive national balloting by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association at Charles Schwab Park – site of the NCAA World Series June 16-25/26.

“Paul Skenes certainly is deserving of the 2023 Dick Howser Trophy,” Howser Trophy chairman David Feaster said. “He has established himself as head and shoulders above any pitcher in NCAA Division I this season as well as a team leader and community service champion. His tremendous talent also has helped LSU make the NCAA World Series field for the 19th time overall and the first time since 2017.

“The Dick Howser Trophy committee again is indebted to the NCAA, National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, Major League Baseball, the MLB Network, and many others who have helped make this the most prestigious award in college baseball for the last four decades.”

A Florida native, Dick Howser was twice an All-America shortstop at Florida State (1957-58), then head coach of the Seminoles in 1979 after a career as a Major League player and coach. After one year in the college ranks, he returned to the majors to manage the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals and won the World Series with the Royals in 1985. The baseball stadium on the Florida State campus is named for Howser.

The Dick Howser Trophy not only honors a player with some of the best ability nationally, but it also is based upon the tenets of - leadership, moral character and courage. The top draft choices for the upcoming Major League Baseball free agent draft usually are among the Howser Trophy finalists, but this is not a criterion for the eventual winner.

NCBWA membership includes writers, broadcasters and publicists. Designed to promote and publicize college baseball, it is the sport's only college media-related organization, founded in 1962. The NCBWA has been the voting mechanism for the Howser Trophy annually since 1998.

The Howser Trophy was created in 1987 shortly after Howser's death. Previous winners of the Howser Trophy are Mike Fiore, OF, Miami (Fla.), 1987; Robin Ventura, 3B, Oklahoma State, 1988; Scott Bryant, 1B-P, Texas, 1989; Alex Fernandez, P, Miami-Dade Community College South, 1990; Frank Rodriguez, P, Howard College (Texas), 1991; Brooks Kieschnick, UT-P, Texas, 1992 and 1993; Jason Varitek, C, Georgia Tech, 1994; Todd Helton, 1B, Tennessee, 1995; Kris Benson, P, Clemson, 1996; J. D. Drew, OF, Florida State, 1997; Eddy Furniss, 1B, LSU, 1998; Jason Jennings, UT-P, Baylor, 1999; Mark Teixeira, 1B, Georgia Tech, 2000; Mark Prior, P, USC, 2001, Khalil Greene, SS, Clemson, 2002; Rickie Weeks, 2B, Southern U., 2003; Jered Weaver, P, Long Beach State, 2004; Alex Gordon, 3B, Nebraska, 2005; Brad Lincoln, P/DH, Houston, 2006; David Price, P, Vanderbilt, 2007; Buster Posey, C, Florida State, 2008; Stephen Strasburg, P, San Diego State, 2009; Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice, 2010; Taylor Jungmann, P, Texas, 2011; Mike Zunino, C, Florida, 2012; Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego, 2013; A.J. Reed, DH-P, Kentucky, 2014; Andrew Benintendi, OF, Arkansas, 2015; Seth Beer, OF, Clemson, 2016; Brendan McKay, DH-P, Louisville, 2017; Brady Singer, P, Florida, 2018; Adley Rutschman, C, Oregon State, 2019; No Award, COVID-19, 2020; Kevin Kopps, P, Arkansas, 2021; and Ivan Melendez, 1B, Texas, 2022.


Oral Roberts' Denton wins 2023 NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award,

Leads Nation With 15 Saves

OMAHA, NE (NCBWA) – Oral Roberts’ Cade Denton received 2023 Stopper of the Year honors by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), the organization announced Friday. He is the first player from the Summit League to receive the award since the Stopper of the Year debuted in 2005.

Denton, a right-handed pitcher, holds a 2-1 record and is tied with a nation-best 15 saves. The junior gave up 12 earned runs on 44 hits in 58.1 innings pitched. He fanned 78 batters and walked just 11, limiting opponents to a .210 batting average. Denton held opponents scoreless in 25 of his 33 appearances.

He picked up his second win of the season against Oregon in Game 2 of the Super Regionals (June 10), allowing two runs on four hits in 3.1 innings pitched. Denton was voted Pitcher of the Year and First Team All-League by The Summit League coaches. In 2022, Denton was selected as an NCBWA Third-Team All-American relief pitcher.

A native of Rowlett, Texas, Denton is the third consecutive player from the Lone Star state to win the Stopper of the Year, joining Arkansas’s Kevin Kopps (Sugar Land) and Texas State’s Tristan Stivors (Castroville).

The remaining finalists for the Stopper of the Year Award included Kyle Amendt (Dallas Baptist), Simon Miller (UTSA), Camden Minacci (Wake Forest), Tyson Neighbors (Kansas State), Brandon Neely (Florida), Mitchell Scott (Kent State), Teddy Sharkey (Coastal Carolina), James Tallon (Duke) and Andrew Walters (Miami).

Denton joins a standout list of previous NCBWA Stoppers of the Year: Texas' J. Brent Cox, 2005; Kansas' Don Czyz, 2006; Luke Prihoda of Sam Houston State, 2007; Georgia's Joshua Fields, 2008; San Diego State's Addison Reed, 2009; Texas' Chance Ruffin, 2010; Texas' Corey Knebel, 2011; Southeastern Louisiana's Stefan Lopez, 2012; UCLA's David Berg, 2013 and 2015; Louisville's Nick Burdi, 2014; Miami (Fla.)'s Bryan Garcia, 2016; Louisville's Lincoln Henzman, 2017; Florida's Michael Byrne, 2018; UCLA's Holden Powell, 2019; Arkansas' Kevin Kopps, 2021; and Texas State’s Tristan Stivors in 2022. There was no winner in 2020 due to the COVID-19-shortened season.


Oral Roberts' Folmar wins 2023 NCBWA Mike Martin National Coach of the Year

OMAHA, NE (NCBWA) – After tying the program record with 51 wins and leading the program to its first College World Series appearance since 1978, Oral Roberts head coach Ryan Folmar has been named the 2023 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Mike Martin National Coach of the Year. The Golden Eagles (51-12 entering the 2023 CWS) have checked every box this season, winning The Summit League regular season and tournament titles, sweeping through the Stillwater Regional, and edging Oregon in three games in the Eugene Super Regional to punch their second-ever ticket to Omaha. Folmar led Oral Roberts to becoming just the third No. 4 seed in NCAA Division I history to advance to the College World Series and the first in more than a decade. Oral Roberts took a 21-game winning streak into its Super Regional after taking down all three foes in Stillwater. First, the Golden Eagles defeated Folmar’s alma mater, host and No. 11 overall seed Oklahoma State, 6-4. In the winner’s bracket, ORU erased an early 8-0 deficit to defeat Washington, 15-12. The Golden Eagles clinched their Super Regional spot with a 6-5 win over Dallas Baptist in the Regional final. In the opening Super Regional game, Oral Roberts surrendered an 8-0 lead in a 9-8 defeat. The Golden Eagles bounced back quickly, earning a come-from-behind, walk-off 8-7 victory of their own in game two to even the series, then clinched it with an 11-6 triumph in game three. Now, Oral Roberts will square off against TCU in its opening game of the College World Series. “Ryan Folmar has been a pacesetter in college baseball as well as to the Oral Roberts program,” NCBWA Executive Director Bo Carter said. “The job he did during the regular season and then going 5-1 on the road in NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals attests to the leadership he has provided for the Golden Eagles. Congratulations go to one of the outstanding coaches for 10-plus seasons at ORU. He also led his team that was seeded No. 4 in the NCAA Stillwater Regional to the World Series – one of three teams to accomplish this in NCAA history.”

In his 11th year as the head coach at Oral Roberts, Folmar has won Summit League Coach of the Year honors six times and reached five NCAA Regionals. He was also an assistant on the staff for a decade before that, reaching 10 Regionals and a Super Regional in 2006. As head coach, he has a 370-222 overall record. This year, Folmar has guided Cade Denton to NCBWA Stopper of the Year and first team All-America honors, as well as outfielders Jonah Cox (second team), and Matt Hogan (third team) to All-America recognition by the NCBWA. About the Mike Martin National Coach of the Year Award

The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Coach of the Year Award, introduced in 2008, is voted on by the NCBWA Board of Directors, and chosen from a list that includes all Division I conference coaches of the year and the coaches of the eight NCAA College World Series teams. In 2020, the NCBWA board of directors voted unanimously to name the annual award after Mike Martin, the winningest head coach in NCAA Division I baseball history after he retired at Florida State in 2019 with a 2,029-736-4 mark over 40 seasons in leading the FSU program from 1980-2019. “When I heard about it,” he said with a smile, “I was simply flabbergasted. It is such an honor to have my name associated with this award, and it is a tribute to all the players and coaches who worked with me at Florida State.” "We could not think of any other coach historically to associate a name for this annual award besides Coach Mike Martin," said Carter. "He has meant so much to college baseball, as it has continued year-by-year to gain additional national popularity." NCBWA membership includes writers, broadcasters and publicists. Designed to promote and publicize college baseball, it is the sport's only college media-related organization, founded in 1962. All-Time NCBWA Coaches of the Year 2023: Ryan Folmar, Oral Roberts 2022: Link Jarrett, Notre Dame 2021: Tony Vitello, Tennessee 2020: None 2019: Eric Bakich, Michigan 2018: Gary Henderson, Mississippi State 2017: Pat Casey, Oregon State 2016: Gary Gilmore, Coastal Carolina 2015: Paul Mainieri, LSU 2014: Mike Gillespie, UC Irvine 2013: Tracy Smith, Indiana 2012: Matt Senk, Stony Brook 2011: David Esquer, California 2010: Jim Schlossnagle, TCU 2009: Brian O’Connor, Virginia 2008: Mike Batesole, Fresno State

The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the Dick Howser Trophy presented by The Game Headwear to the nation's top player, the Stopper of the Year Award, and the Mike Martin National Coach of the Year to the nation's top coach. It also selects All-America Teams for all divisions, a Division I Freshman All-American team, Division I, II and III Players of the Week and Division I, II and III Players of the Year.


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