Missouri State sophomore Jake Burger has been chosen as one of the 25 semifinalists for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award (GSA), announced Wednesday. Burger becomes the first Bear since 2013 to be named a semifinalist for the honor, which will be presented to the nation’s top amateur baseball player for the 39th consecutive year.
The lone Missouri Valley Conference player selected for the prestigious list of Division I standouts, Burger turned in one of the top all-around seasons in the country. MSU’s third baseman, who was also named a semifinalist for the 2016 Dick Howser Trophy in May, clubbed 21 homers this season and currently shares the No. 2 spot on the Division I home run chart. The sophomore also leads the MVC and ranks among the national leaders in hits (82), runs scored (59), RBIs (72) and total bases (162). Additionally, he batted .349 overall and logged a team-high 24 multi-hit games and 19 multi-RBI performances, including 16 in which he drove in at least three runs.
The Chesterfield, Mo., product was tabbed MVC Defensive Player of the Year and was a first-team all-conference pick of the league’s coaches for the second consecutive season. Burger became the second Bear in as many years to be named the league’s top defensive player after committing just two errors in 138 total chances this spring, good for a .986 fielding percentage, including a string of 34 consecutive error-free games to wrap up the season. He was cited for Valley Player of the Week honors three times this spring and was selected to compete for the nation’s premier summer collegiate squad in USA Baseball’s 2016 Collegiate National Team.