Dillon Tate added to Golden Spike Award watch list

UCSB pitcher Dillon Tate

UCSB’s Dillon Tate currently has an ERA of 1.34 in 60 2/3 innings with 67 strikeouts and a 0.81 WHIP. (Presidio Photo)


UC Santa Barbara junior right-handed pitcher Dillon Tate was named to the 60-man midseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List, it was announced by USA Baseball on Thursday morning.

The Golden Spikes Award is handed out annually to the nation’s top amateur player by the national governing body for baseball in the United States.

UCSB’s Friday starter, Tate is having one of the best seasons of any pitcher in the country despite his deceiving 4-3 record.

The flamethrower currently ranks among the NCAA elite in innings pitched (60 2/3, T-second), hits allowed per nine innings (4.9, seventh), strikeouts (67, ninth), WHIP (0.81, 12th), complete games (two, 15th), and ERA (1.34, 23rd).

He leads the Big West in all those same categories (except WHIP, being inched out by LBSU’s Tanner Brown at 0.77) and is on pace to set the school record for strikeouts (on pace for 126, previous record is Dan Yokubaitis’s 124 in 1983) while his ERA would be the second-lowest in program history were the season to end today.

This is the second consecutive season has UCSB has had a Golden Spikes nominee, as Dillon joins former Gaucho outfielder Joey Epperson (First Team All-American, .376/.483/.508 slash line in 2014) in the team record book.

Past Golden Spikes Award winners include accomplished Major League Baseball stars David Price, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Jered Weaver, Pat Burrell, Robin Ventura, Will Clark, and Terry Francona.

“Dillon has handled the transition from standout closer to frontline starter with tremendous ease,” said UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts. “You’re excited to go out there and see what he’s going to do every Friday because you know it’s going to be special. He’s an outstanding young pitcher with an unmatched drive that I’m sure will lead him to big things in the very near future.”

On May 7, USA Baseball will pare down the list to 30-man preliminary list before voting begins on May 22. The voting process will end on June 12, with the winner being named on Jun. 23.

Tate is one of just two Big West players represented on the list, with Cal State Fullerton junior right-hander Thomas Eshelman being the other. He was a semifinalist for the award as a freshman in 2013.

Dillon and rest of the Gauchos, who are ranked as high as No. 11 in the nation and are in the midst of their longest winning streak of the season, travel to the San Fernando Valley this weekend to take on the CSUN Matadors in an important three-game series. The first two games of the set will be televised nationally on ESPN3.