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Charlie Condon among three finalists for Golden Spikes Award

Palmber-Thombsby:Palmer Thombs06/05/24

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To the surprise of nobody in College Baseball, Georgia superstar Charlie Condon was named a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award on Wednesday. One of three players still in the running, Condon is joined by Oregon State infielder Travis Bazzana and Arkansas pitcher Hagen Smith as he hopes to become the first Bulldog to win the award given annually to the nation’s top amateur player.

“It’s a huge honor to be a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award,” said Condon on Wednesday. “It might be an individual award, but there’s a lot of people that have supported me and allowed me to be the best version of myself. Without the guys behind me, and the guys in the locker room and what we have going on here, I’m nothing special. I owe a lot of credit to them, and they are going to continue to be the heartbeat of this team, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Condon becomes the fifth player in school history to be named a finalist, joining pitcher Cris Carpenter (1987), pitcher/designated hitter Derek Lilliquist (1987), pitcher Dave Fleming (1990) and shortstop Gordon Beckham (2008). Condon was a semifinalist for the 2023 Golden Spikes Award (won by LSU’s Dylan Crews) when he was the consensus National Freshman of the Year and capped his first year playing for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team last summer.

Condon is draft eligible and expected to turn pro after this season where many project him as the No. 1 overall pick to the Cleveland Guardians.

More on Georgia’s superstar

Condon, who has helped Georgia to a spectacular season, has broken just about every program record in the books in Athens. Named SEC Player of the Year – just the second player from UGA to earn such honor – Condon is hitting .445 with 36 home runs and 77 RBI. While he’s been walked 55 times including 27 intentionally, the Marietta, Ga. native is still managing a 1.036 slugging percentage. His batting average, home run total and slugging percentage are all best in the NCAA.

With his 34th round-tripper of the season, Condon set a new NCAA mark for single-season home runs in the BBCOR era (since 2011). He passed Florida two-way star Jac Caglianone and is now just four home runs shy of tying the all-time SEC record set by Brandon Larson in LSU’s 69-game run to the 1998 national championship. The all-time NCAA record is 48 from Pete Incaviglia (Oklahoma State) in 1985. The only players with more home runs in a single season than Condon are Incaviglia, Jeff Ledbetter (Florida State – 1982), Lance Berkman (Rice – 1997), Larson and Steve Hacker (Missouri State – 1995).

“I went on record last year, even before I had this job, coming into the Georgia series when I was at LSU, that he was the best right-handed hitter I had seen all year behind Dylan Crews. Of course I saw Dylan every day last year, and I still believe that now. I believe that he (Condon) is the best right-handed hitter in College Baseball, and I think all we’ve been able to do is show his flexibility and what kind of athlete he really is,” Georgia head coach Wes Johnson said of his star before the season. “He’s special. As a coach, to get a guy like Charlie, you hope to be able to get one every seven to 10 years. He’s special. He’s a top of the top first round guy, and you’ve got to be really good to do that.”

“It’s the old saying, it’s always awesome when your best player is also a great guy and people like him and gravitate towards him,” Johnson added. “He raises everybody’s game. Everybody looks at him, and you almost get the sense that guys are working and doing things because they don’t want to let Charlie down. They know how hard he’s working and what he’s got on the line, and they don’t want to let him down. He definitely raises the bar for the guys.”

What’s next

Fan voting will again play a part in the Golden Spikes Award in 2024. Baseball fans can vote for their favorite player on GoldenSpikesAward.com, beginning today until June 21. The winner of the Golden Spikes Award will be announced and presented the trophy on June 22nd at the College World Series in Omaha. Condon and his teammates hope to be there anyway with the Bulldogs still alive in the NCAA Tournament.

Georgia advanced out of the regional round and into the Super Regionals for the first time since 2008 on Sunday by beating in-state rival Georgia Tech 8-6 in extra innings. UGA will play No. 10 NC State at Foley Field this coming weekend in a best-of-three series that starts Saturday at 12:00 p.m. ET (ESPNU). The Bulldogs and Wolfpack will go again on Sunday, also at 12:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU, and if necessary, a winner-take-all game will be played on Monday. A time and television network for the potential finale has yet to be announced.

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