Can a Baseball Knight Be Nation's Best?

Can a Baseball Knight Be Nation's Best?

UCF senior and Orlando native Chris Duffy has been named by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association as one of 25 national semifinalists for the 2010 Dick Howser Trophy, which is given to the top player in collegiate baseball. The graduate of Cypress Creek High School became the first Knight in school history to receive the honor.

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment and a well-deserved honor for Chris Duffy,” said head coach Terry Rooney. “He has done so much for this baseball program in the last four years on and off the field. Without question Chris is one of our leaders. He is somebody that leads by example every single day, and has the respect of everybody associated with this baseball program, especially his peers.”

The NCBWA released the 25-player list in conjunction with the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the College Baseball Foundation. The membership of the NCBWA will choose the Dick Howser Trophy winner based on two rounds of national voting. Three 2010 finalists will be announced just prior to the first game of the College World Series with a press conference slated for June 10 at Rosenblatt Stadium. The winner will be named in a national broadcast from Lubbock, Texas, on July 2.

Duffy was one of three student-athletes from Conference USA to be selected Thursday, which ties the ACC, Big Ten, Ohio Valley and SEC for the most players on the list. The Dick Howser Trophy is given in memory of the former Florida State University All-America shortstop and major league player and manager who died of brain cancer in 1987. It is regarded by many as college baseball’s most prestigious award. Criteria for consideration for the trophy include performance on the field, leadership, moral character and courage, qualities that were exemplified by Dick Howser’s life.

Entering the week ranked first in C-USA with a .436 batting average, 71 RBI and a 1.330 OPS, Duffy owns a spot in the NCAA top-20 in batting average, slugging (.805), total bases (157), RBI and on-base percentage (.525). Earlier this year, he put together a 20-game hitting streak, which is tied for the third-longest in UCF history.

Along with an impressive average at the dish, Duffy serves as one of the top home-run hitters in the country. The left fielder has pounded out 18 long balls this year to tie UCF’s single-season record set by Dee Brown in 2005. Duffy also has walked 29 times, hit 16 doubles and posted a .985 fielding percentage.