Kentucky's A.J. Reed wins Howser Trophy as nation's top player

Two-way star A.J. Reed of Kentucky excelled on both sides of the plate, dominating hitters and pitchers.
Bobby McDuffie/Icon SMI

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Kentucky two-way star A.J. Reed has won the Dick Howser Trophy as the top player in college baseball.

Reed was honored Saturday during a ceremony at the College World Series. The Houston Astros' second-round draft pick hit a nation-leading 23 home runs and had a 12-2 record as a pitcher.

Reed is Kentucky's first national baseball player of the year and is in line to become the third consensus national player of the year from the Southeastern Conference, along with David Price of Vanderbilt in 2007 and David Magadan of Alabama in 1985.

Reed, who plays first base in addition to pitching, batted .336 with 73 RBIs and a .476 on-base percentage this season. He made 16 starts on the mound for Kentucky, had a 2.09 ERA, struck out 71 and walked 29.

The Howser Trophy is given in memory of the former Florida State All-America shortstop and major-league player and manager who died of brain cancer in 1987.

The writers association also named Louisville's Nick Burdi the Stopper of the Year and UC Irvine's Mike Gillespie the coach of the year.

Burdi (3-1) recorded a school-record 18 saves and has an 0.51 ERA. Gillespie led the Anteaters (40-23) to the CWS for the second time after they bounced back from losses in eight of their last nine regular-season games.

Tim Tadlock was named the Skip Bertman National Coach of the Year after leading Texas Tech (45-19) to its first CWS appearance. The award is named for the LSU coach who won five national titles in the 1990s and is presented by the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.

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