The baseball Heisman has three Cardinals on its initial watch list.
Louisville junior outfielder Corey Ray, junior second baseman Nick Solak and sophomore pitcher and first baseman Brendan McKay were named Wednesday to the midseason USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list. The award, given annually to the nation's top amateur baseball player, will be presented on June 30 in Los Angeles.
The midseason watch list features 60 of the nation's top amateur players from the high school and college ranks. Louisville is among three schools with three players named to the updated watch list, which includes 18 players featured on the preseason list and 42 new players. The Golden Spikes Award Advisory Board will continue to maintain a rolling list of athletes, allowing players to play themselves into consideration for the award before announcing the semifinalists on June 1.
A native of Darlington, Pennsylvania, McKay has compiled a 7-1 record with a 2.15 ERA and 73 strikeouts in nine starts and 58.2 innings pitched this season. At the plate, the lefty swinging McKay has a .316 batting average, three home runs, 11 doubles, two triples and 24 RBI while starting 36 games as a hitter. A semifinalist for the 2015 Golden Spikes Award, McKay has assumed the role as the No. 1 starter in the weekend pitching rotation while hitting either third or fourth in the batting order throughout the season for the third-ranked Cardinals.
Ranked among the top professional prospects in the nation this season, Ray is hitting .333 with 11 home runs, 46 RBI, 31 stolen bases, 13 doubles and 40 runs scored. The Chicago native ranks second nationally in stolen bases, fifth in total bases (102), 14th in home runs and 15th in RBI while hitting in the leadoff spot in all 37 games for Louisville. A second team All-American in 2015, the speedy Ray has also started multiple games this season at each of the three outfield positions.
A team captain for the Cardinals in 2016, Solak has a .455 batting average with one home run, 15 RBI, eight doubles and 28 runs scored in 22 starts this season at second base. The Woodridge, Illinois native has not played since March 25 when he suffered a bone bruise on his right (throwing hand). Last season, Solak earned NCAA Louisville Regional All-Tournament Team honors and was named to the ACC Championship All-Tournament Team.
On Wednesday, June 1, USA Baseball will announce the semifinalists for the 2016 Golden Spikes Award. The list of semifinalists will be sent to a voting body consisting of past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of the media that follow amateur baseball closely, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and the 38 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters.
The 2016 Golden Spikes Award winner will be named on Thursday, June 30, at a presentation in Los Angeles. The finalists and their families will be honored at the Rod Dedeaux Foundation Dinner that evening at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.
Up next, No. 3 Louisville returns to ACC action with a weekend visit to Boston College starting Friday at 2:30 p.m., ET. The Cardinals and Eagles are also scheduled for Saturday at 1:30 p.m., and Sunday at noon.