FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas senior reliever and SEC Pitcher of the Year Kevin Kopps begins Friday’s Fayetteville Regional called college baseball’s National Player of the Year.
The Collegiate Baseball newspaper on Thursday named Kopps its National Player of Year making Kopps the first relief pitcher ever honored by the publication as its National Player of the Year.
For the nationally unanimous No. 1 in the polls 46-10 SEC regular season/SEC Tournament champion Razorbacks, Kopps, 10-0 with 10 saves, has recorded a nationally leading 0.81 earned run average for 66 1-3 inning with 105 strikeouts vs. 15 walks with scoreless innings stretches of 19 2-3 and 20 2-3.
In addition to his SEC Pitcher of the Year, All-SEC First Team and All-SEC Defensive Team honors, Kopps has twice been named Pitcher of the Month by the National, Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and is on watch list for the NCBWA’s Stopper of the Year Award and in contention for the Golden Spikes and Dick Howser Trophy awards honoring their choices for National Player of the Year.
Kopps follows former Razorbacks (2015) and current Kansas City Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi as a Razorbacks named National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball.
The Razorbacks and Kopps begin their 4-team double-elimination Fayetteville Regional Tournament at 2 p.m. Friday against the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders at Baum- Walker Stadium followed by the 7 p.m. first-round game between Big Ten champion Nebraska and Colonial Athletic Association Conference champion Northeastern at 7 p.m.