OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - Ole Miss junior right-hander Bobby Wahl became the latest Ole Miss baseball player to find himself a candidate for the Golden Spikes Award when USA Baseball announced the preseason watch list for the award on Thursday.
The Golden Spikes Award is given annually to the top collegiate baseball player and is sponsored by Major League Baseball and presented by USA Baseball.
Wahl, who was named a second team All-America selection in the preseason, enters the 2013 campaign anchoring the Rebel pitching staff with a return to his role as the Friday night starter, a role he filled as a sophomore a year ago. The righty posted a (7-4) record last season with a 2.55 ERA and struck out 104 batters while walking only 32 in 99.0 innings of work.
He held opponents to a .211 batting average against and combined for three shutouts on the year, including a win over then-top-ranked Florida to set the stage for a series win. Wahl played a key role in that series win during the finale, scoring the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth as a pinch runner. He also picked up wins over No. 10 TCU, UNC-Wilmington, Houston, Auburn, Tennessee and again over TCU in the opening game of the NCAA Regional at Texas A&M.
The Rebels are coming off a season in which the squad posted a (37-26) record and advanced to the championship game of an NCAA Regional for the sixth time in the last eight seasons. It also marks the 10th NCAA Tournament appearance for Ole Miss in the Mike Bianco era and 17th NCAA Tournament appearance all-time.
Ole Miss posted several big wins on the season and claimed seven weekend series, including three series sweeps. The Rebels swept UNC-Wilmington, Houston and Tennessee while also picking up series wins over Miami (Ohio), No. 1 Florida, No. 15 Arkansas and posted series splits on the road at No. 10 TCU and No. 22 Louisville.
The Rebels open the 2013 season on February 15 with the first game of a three-game series against No. 14 TCU at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field. Friday's opener is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.