June 15, 2024

Oregon State’s Travis Bazzana, ‘the best player in college baseball,’ named Golden Spikes Award finalist

CORVALLIS — Travis Bazzana of the Oregon State Beavers is now one step away from securing college baseball’s most prestigious accolade.

The All-American second baseman has been named one of three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, which honors the top amateur player in the United States. He joins Georgia slugger Charlie Condon and Arkansas left-hander Haden Smith as finalists. Bazzana is the fourth player from Oregon State to achieve this recognition, following Cooper Hjerpe in 2022, Michael Conforto in 2014, and Adley Rutschman, who won the award in 2019. Bazzana has had a record-breaking season, leading OSU into the super regionals of the NCAA baseball tournament. As of the last weekend before the College World Series, he ranks among the national leaders in numerous categories: fifth in batting average (.415), sixth in homers (28), fourth in runs scored (84), and second in walks (74), slugging percentage (.937), and on-base percentage (.575). Additionally, he has accumulated 16 doubles, 66 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases while leading off for the top offense in the Pac-12 Conference.

The junior from Sydney, Australia, has set multiple career and single-season records at Oregon State, becoming the all-time leader in home runs, stolen bases, runs scored, doubles, hits, and walks. He also holds single-season records for home runs, runs scored, and total bases and is close to breaking the record for walks. “He’s probably the best player in college baseball,” said Cal Irvine coach Ben Orloff during the Corvallis Regional. “You don’t want Bazzana to beat you.”

This sentiment was shared by every coach who faced Bazzana and the Beavers at the regional. Tulane coach Jay Uhlman, wary of Bazzana’s prowess, intentionally walked him twice during their regional opener against Oregon State. “We’re not going to let Travis beat us,” Uhlman said. “That was the plan. If you’re pitching to him with nobody on, fine. But we heard repeatedly, ‘Don’t let that guy beat you.’ I once walked Adley Rutschman with the bases loaded, so I wasn’t afraid to do that with him either.”

Despite the superstar treatment, Bazzana excelled at the regional, batting .364 with two homers, four RBIs, and four runs scored, earning Most Outstanding Player honors. Now, he stands on the brink of reaching the College World Series and winning the sport’s most coveted individual honor.

USA Baseball will announce the winner on June 22 on ESPN. Fans can participate in the selection process by voting online at GoldenSpikesAward.com until June 21.

Travis Bazzana Earns Bobby Bragan Finalist Honors - BeaversEdge

Bazzana’s toughest competitor appears to be Condon, the Bulldogs’ slugger who won SEC Player of the Year honors. Condon leads the nation in batting average (.445) and home runs (36), ranks sixth in runs scored (82), and 11th in RBIs (77).

Bazzana and the Beavers previously encountered Smith’s talent when he helped Arkansas deal OSU its first loss of the season in February. The hard-throwing lefty recorded 17 strikeouts in six innings during a dominant performance. He went on to win SEC Pitcher of the Year honors with a 9-2 record, a 2.04 ERA, and 161 strikeouts in 84 innings.

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