Clemson, SC-Khalil Greene and Jeff Baker, the top home run hitters on
Clemson's sixth ranked baseball team, have been named two of the 12
semifinalists for the 15th Rotary Smith Award. The announcement was
made Wednesday afternoon in Houston.
The 12 semifinalists were selected in a national round of
voting by college baseball publicists. Three finalists will be
announced on June 6 and the award will be presented June 24 at a gala
dinner at the Hotel Inter-Continental in Houston. Kris Benson is
the only previous Clemson player to win the award (1996). Eight of
the previous 14 winners are active in the Major Leagues in 2002,
including Benson, who has made two starts with the Pittsburgh Pirates
The other semifinalists for this year's award are Dave Bush
of Wake Forest, Nate Gold of Gonzaga, Brian Barthelemy of Florida
State, Ryan Kenning of New Mexico State, Justin Simmons of Texas,
Brad Sullivan of Houston, Shane Komine of Nebraska, Russ Adams of
North Carolina, Rickie Weeks of Southern and Vincent Sinisi of Rice.
The ACC leads all conferences with five of the 12 semifinalists.
Greene and Baker have been quite a one-two punch for the
Tigers the last three years, but especially in 2002. They are a big
reason Clemson was ranked number-one in the nation for eight weeks
this year and have posted a 45-12 record heading into the second
round of the ACC Tournament against #1 Florida State on Thursday.
Both were recently named among the five finalists for the Golden
Spikes Award, another award presented at the end of the season to the
top player in college baseball.
Greene has 378 career hits entering Thursday's game, third
best in NCAA history and just one hit from the second place total.
He hit his 22nd home run of the season in Clemson's 10-0 win over
seventh ranked Georgia Tech in the first round of the ACC Tournament
on Wednesday. For the season, Greene is hitting .478, a figure that
would be an ACC record if the season ended today. He also leads the
team in RBIs with 75 and has a .877 slugging percentage.
Baker has 21 home runs for the season and now has 55 for his
career, an all-time Clemson record. The junior is hitting .330 and
has driven in 70 runs this season. He also leads the team in steals
with 16 and has a .443 on-base percentage and a .694 slugging
Byrd to Play with Nicklaus at Memorial Tournament
Clemson, SC-Former Clemson All-American Jonathan Byrd will be paired
with golfing legend and tournament host Jack Nicklaus for the first
two rounds of the Memorial Tournament. The PGA event will be played
at Muirfield Village in Dublin, OH Thursday through Sunday.
Byrd, Nicklaus and former Masters Champion V.J. Singh will
tee off at 9:00 AM on Thursday and 11:50 AM on Friday. Byrd was not
named to the field until Wednesday afternoon. The Clemson
All-American between 1997-2000 is ranked 64th on the PGA Tour money
list with over $455,000 this year. Byrd finished eighth at last
week's Colonial Classic in Fort Worth, his second top 10 of the
season. He has four top 25 finishes this year.
Byrd is not the only Clemson alum in the field. Former
Clemson student Jeff Julian, who is battling Lou Gehrig's disease,
received a sponsors exemption and will tee off at 1:30 PM on Thursday
and 10:30 AM on Friday. Former Tiger Michael Hoey, who won the
British Amateur last summer, will play at 1:40 PM on Thursday and
10:40 AM on Friday.