June 4, 2015
For Immediate Release
Contact: Bo Carter
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Vanderbilt teammates among those lauded Bookmark and Share

Dick Howser TrophyDALLAS (NCBWA) One of the nation's top relief pitchers, the SEC Player of the Year, the SEC Triple Crown from the mound winner and two All-America position players have been named as finalists for the 2015 Dick Howser Trophy presented by Easton Foundations.

Balloting was conducted by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, in conjunction with the Dick Howser Trophy committee and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

Arkansas outfielder Andrew Benintendi, UCLA relief ace David Berg, Vanderbilt starting pitcher Carson Fulmer, Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson and Miami third baseman David Thompson are the elite final five finalists for the 29th annual Howser Trophy ceremonies.

The winner will be unveiled on MLB Network on Friday, June 12, during the afternoon show "The Rundown" hosted by Matt Yallof and Kelly Nash. A press conference with the winner will be held on Saturday, June 13 at 10 a.m. (CDT), the opening day of the 2015 College World Series.

Each finalist also represents the ideals of character, leadership, desire, and competitive spirit exhibited by Dick Howser, the All-America shortstop and later head coach at Florida State, before managing the Kansas City Royals to the world championship in 1985. He also is the namesake for Dick Howser Stadium at FSU.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Benintendi has had a dynamic sophomore season, earning SEC Player of the Year honors and National Player of the Year accolades from Collegiate Baseball. Benintendi is on the brink of becoming the third player in SEC history to lead the league in homers and average, sporting a two-homer lead and a 13-point edge in average. He has a .390 average, 13 doubles, two triples, 18 homers and 54 RBI, stealing 22-of-26 bases. Benintendi owns a .723 slugging and a .491 on-base percentage, leading the SEC in average, homers, slugging, on-base percentage and walks. Arkansas will host Missouri State in the NCAA Fayetteville Super Regional this weekend.

Berg was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year after owning a 7-1 record and a 0.68 ERA with 13 saves over a NCAA-leading 43 appearances. A native of Covina, Calif., Berg struck out 65 and issued just eight walks in 66.2 innings. Berg, UCLA' s senior closer, is a finalist for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year award, which he won in 2013. A Collegiate Baseball All-America selection, earned run in Pac-12 action, with a 5-0 mark and a 0.22 ERA in 22 appearances.

Fulmer has had one of the best seasons in Vanderbilt history on the mound, claiming the SEC pitching triple crown after leading the league in wins (12), ERA (1.92) and strikeouts (147). A Collegiate Baseball first-team All-America selection, Fulmer's 147 strikeouts in 107.2 innings mark the third-most in Vanderbilt single-season history. Fulmer has achieved at least 11 strikeouts in seven of his 16 starts and has tossed three complete games, including two shutouts.

Swanson, a junior from Marietta, Ga., has earned All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball and second-team All-SEC accolades by the league's coaches. Swanson is hitting .348 with 22 doubles, six triples, 14 homers and 71 runs scored, ripping 86 hits. Swanson's 14 homers are the most for a VU shortstop since Ryan Flaherty belted 14 in 2008 with his 14th homer coming as a game-winning, two-run blast on Saturday vs. Indiana. Swanson has helped guide the Commodores back to the NCAA Super Regional round after leading Vandy to its first NCAA Championship in 2014.

Thompson, a junior from Miami, Fla., has earned All-America first-team honors from Collegiate Baseball and first-team All-ACC accolades by the league's coaches. Thompson, the nation's leader in home runs (19) and RBIs (85), was a critical member of a Miami offense that finished the regular season ranked first in runs scored and runs per game. He led Miami in nearly every offensive category, including home runs, RBIs, doubles (18), total bases (159) and slugging percentage (.677). Thompson was one of just three players to start all 62 games in 2015, helping power the Hurricanes to a 47-15 overall record, their second straight ACC Coastal Division crown, the NCAA Coral Gables Regional title and a berth in the NCAA Coral Gables Super Regional against VCU this weekend.

Voting for the Dick Howser Trophy has been conducted by the NCBWA membership since 1999 after the American Baseball Coaches Association selected the recipient from 1987-1998. The NCBWA also selects the Stopper of the Year, the Division I National Coach of the Year and National Freshman Hitter and Pitcher of the Year, along with NCAA Division II and III All-America teams, Players and Coaches of the Year.

The Howser Trophy was created in 1987, shortly after Howser's death. Previous winners of the Howser Trophy are Mike Fiore, Miami, 1987; Robin Ventura, Oklahoma State, 1988; Scott Bryant, Texas, 1989; Alex Fernandez, Miami-Dade Community College South, 1990; Frank Rodriguez, Howard College (Texas), 1991; Brooks Kieschnick, Texas, 1992 and 1993; Jason Varitek, Georgia Tech, 1994; Todd Helton, Tennessee, 1995; Kris Benson, Clemson, 1996; J. D. Drew, Florida State, 1997; Eddy Furniss, LSU, 1998; Jason Jennings, P, Baylor, 1999; Mark Teixeira, 1B, Georgia Tech, 2000; Mark Prior, P, USC, 2001; Khalil Greene, SS, Clemson, 2002; Rickey Weeks, 2B, Southern U., 2003; Jered Weaver, P, Long Beach State, 2004; Alex Gordon, 3B, Nebraska, 2005; Brad Lincoln, P, Houston, 2006; David Price, P, Vanderbilt, 2007; Buster Posey, C, Florida State, 2008; Stephen Strasburg, P, San Diego State, 2009; Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice, 2010; Taylor Jungmann, P, Texas, 2011; Mike Zunino, C, Florida, 2012; Kris Bryant, 3B, San Diego and A.J. Reed, P/1B, Kentucky, 2014.

2015 Dick Howser Trophy:
Fri., May 15: Dick Howser Trophy semifinalists announced
Thurs., June 4: Dick Howser Trophy finalists announced
Fri., June 12: Dick Howser Trophy winner announced on MLB Network
Sat., June 13: Dick Howser Trophy presented at College World Series

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