After putting up an extraordinary draft year, Arizona Wildcats junior infielder JJ Matijevic has been named a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, which is given to the best amateur baseball player in the country.
Matijevic is one of 25 players to earn the distinction.
This year, the junior from Pittsburgh has put up a slash line of .389/.440/.650 while leading the country in doubles, taking two bases 29 times (2nd most in school history). He is also the only Arizona player to reach double digits in home runs, slugging ten pitches out of the park in 2017.
You will be able to vote for Matijevic to win the award at GoldenSpikesAward.com
This past Sunday may have been Matijevic’s final game at Hi Corbett Field, and he took a little time afterwards to take it all in.
“Sunday was tough for me,” he explained on Tuesday. “Just those seniors, I’ve been with ‘em for three years and it got to me a little bit. This place is special to me and the most important thing to me is the players and coaches.”
“It kinda hit me a little bit,” Matijevic added on if it potentially being his last game in Tucson sunk in. “It possibly couldn’t be because we could still possibly play here for Super Regionals, and I know that and I know there’s a lot more baseball to be played.”
The key to Matijevic’s success this year has been trying to not do too much.
“When I’m going good is when I’m just being myself and not try to do too much,” he explained. “When I’m missing balls and swinging at bad pitches is when I just get out of my comfort zone and try to do too much and just swinging hard.”
Terry Francona remains the only Arizona player to have ever won the Golden Spikes Award, winning it in 1980.
Here’s the full list of players that have been named a semifinalist:
- Jake Adams, Jr., IF, Iowa
- J.B. Bukauskas, Jr., RHP, North Carolina
- Jake Burger, Jr., IF, Missouri State
- Griffin Canning, Jr., RHP, UCLA
- Morgan Cooper, Jr., RHP, Texas
- Greg Deichmann, Jr., OF, LSU
- Drew Ellis, Jr., IF, Louisville
- Alex Faedo, Jr., RHP, Florida
- Stuart Fairchild, Jr., OF, Wake Forest
- Steven Gingery, So., LHP, Texas Tech
- Nate Harris, Sr., RHP, Louisiana Tech
- Adam Haseley, Jr., LHP/OF, Virginia
- Luke Heimlich, Jr., LHP, Oregon State
- Keston Hiura, Jr., IF/OF, UC Irvine
- Gunner Leger, Jr., LHP, Louisiana Lafayette
- Nick Madrigal, So., IF, Oregon State
- J.J. Matijevic, Jr., IF, Arizona
- Brendan McKay, Jr., LHP/IF, Louisville
- Nate Pearson, So., RHP, College of Central Florida
- David Peterson, Jr., LHP, Oregon
- Brent Rooker, Jr., OF, Mississippi State
- JP Sears, Jr., LHP, The Citadel
- Brian Shaffer, Jr., RHP, Maryland
- Pavin Smith, Jr., IF/OF, Virginia
- Evan White, Jr., IF, Kentucky