North Carolina pitching ace J.B. Bukauskas has been selected as one of four finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, which honors the nation’s top amateur baseball player based on athletic ability, sportsmanship, character and overall contribution to the sport. Bukauskas, who was taken by the Houston Astros with the 15th overall pick in the Major League draft Monday, is one of three ACC players to be named as finalists. The others are Louisville’s Brendan McKay and Virginia’s Adam Haseley. Brent Rooker of Mississippi State is the other player in consideration for college baseball’s most prestigious award. The winner will be announced live on ESPN on Thursday, June 29. Bukauskas compiled a 9-1 record with a 2.53 earned run average as the Tar Heels’ Friday night starter this season on his way to earning ACC Pitcher of the Year honors. He struck out 116 in 92-plus innings and has limited opposing hitters to a .188 batting average over his three-year college career. The junior left-hander is the seventh UNC player to be named a Golden Spikes Award finalist, joining Colin Moran (2013), Dustin Ackley (2009), Andrew Miller (2006), Russ Adams (2002), B.J. Surhoff (1985) and Scott Bankhead (1984). In addition to a voting panel of more than 200 past USA Baseball national team coaches, media members and current USA Baseball staff members, fans will also have an opportunity to cast their ballots for the Golden Spikes Award. Fan voting will run through 5 p.m. on Friday, June 23 at GoldenSpikesAward.com, with the winner receiving one vote toward the overall tally.
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