Hochevar among finalists

Tennessee baseball pitcher Luke Hochevar is among five finalists for the 2005 Golden Spikes Award, as announced Wednesday by USA Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association. The award is presented annually to the top amateur player in the country, and Hochevar is the lone pitcher on the list of finalists.

Hochevar leads the NCAA with 13 wins this season and also leads the Southeastern Conference in strikeouts (123), batters struck out looking (42) and innings pitched (111.2). The Fowler, Colo., native is the first pitcher in Tennessee history to win nine SEC games during the regular season, and his overall season ERA stands at an impressive 1.93.

Joining Hochevar on the list of Golden Spikes Award finalists are Miami (Fla.) infielder Ryan Braun, Southern California catcher Jeff Clement, Arizona outfielder Trevor Crowe and Nebraska infielder Alex Gordon.

The 2005 Golden Spikes Award winner will be announced during the broadcast of the 28th Annual Golden Spikes Award show at a date and time still to be determined. The broadcast, presented in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Players Association, will also highlight USA Baseball's athlete programs as well as some of the various organizational youth baseball initiatives supported by USA Baseball and the MLBPA.

* Hochevar was also named to the USA TODAY Sports Weekly All-America first team Wednesday. He was one of three starting pitchers to earn first-team status. The Sports Weekly All-America team consisted of a first and second team, with 13 players named to each squad.

Hochevar was among four SEC first-teamers, joining Florida first baseman Matt LaPorta, LSU outfielder Ryan Patterson and Ole Miss utilityman/designated hitter Stephen Head.

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