Published 8:30 am Sunday, February 12, 2023

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 Three Sun Belt student-athletes were among the 55 players named to The Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List by USA Baseball ahead of the 2023 season. The award seeks to identify the nation’s top amateur baseball player, including athletes from both the high school and college ranks.

The Sun Belt’s three-player contingent of Louisiana junior first baseman and outfielder Carson Roccaforte, Southern Miss junior right-handed pitcher Tanner Hall and Texas State junior right-handed pitcher Levi Wells trails only the SEC, ACC, Pac-12 and Big Ten.

Roccaforte, Hall and Wells were each named to the Preseason All-Sun Belt Team announced Wednesday, including Hall being dubbed the Sun Belt’s Preseason Pitcher of the Year.

Hall is 1-of-10 members of the Preseason Watch List who have been named The Golden Spikes Award semifinalists before, having earned the nod last season. The Golden Eagle was a consensus All-American in 2022, after posting a 9-3 record with a 2.81 ERA, 146 strikeouts and just 14 walks over 109.0 innings pitched. The Zachary, La., native was the Conference USA Pitcher of the Year and a First Team All-Conference honoree a year ago.

Roccaforte was an All-Sun Belt First Team pick at first base for the Ragin’ Cajuns in 2022, after leading the team in the Triple Crown categories with a .374 batting average, 16 home runs and 68 RBI. The Port Neches, Texas, native also paced the program with a .671 slugging percentage, .435 on-base percentage, 147 total bases, 82 hits, 52 runs scored and 25 stolen bases.

Wells was an All-Sun Belt First Team selection as a starting pitcher for the Bobcats in 2022, while compiling an 8-3 record with a 3.07 ERA. The La Porte, Texas, product held opponents to a .231 batting average and accumulated 86 strikeouts over 91.0 innings pitched as a sophomore.

In total, 40 schools and 16 conferences were represented on this year’s Preseason Watch List.

The Golden Spikes Award will announce its Midseason Watch List on April 5, its semifinalists on May 22, its finalists on June 7 and its award winner on June 25.

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