Prior To Receive Golden Spikes Award On Saturday

Jan. 25, 2002

LOS ANGELES - Former USC pitcher Mark Prior will officially receive the Golden Spikes Award in a halftime ceremony in Saturday's USC-Stanford men's basketball game at the Sports Arena. Prior became the first player in USC history to win the Golden Spikes Award when he was named as the winner in December.

The award, presented by USA Baseball in coordination with the Major League Baseball Players Association, is given to the nation's top amateur player. The award is presented each year to the player who exhibits exceptional athletic ability and exemplary sportsmanship. Past winners of the award include Pat Burrell, J.D. Drew, Mark Kotsay, Jason Varitek, Darren Dreifort, Phil Nevin, Bob Horner, Will Clark and Robin Ventura.

Prior, who was 15-1 with a 1.69 ERA in his junior season with the Trojans, earned seven Player of the Year honors in 2001 including the Smith Award and the Dick Howser Trophy (National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association). He also was named as the top player in the nation by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, The Sporting News and the American Baseball Coaches' Association.

He becomes only the second player in history to sweep every major national player of the year award (Baylor's Jason Jennings in 1999).

The 6-5, 220-pound native of Bonita, Calif., struck out a school and Pac-10 Conference record 202 batters last season and allowed only 18 walks in 138 2/3 innings of work. The Trojans finished the season with a 45-19 record and made their second consecutive trip to the College World Series.

Prior signed with the Chicago Cubs in August after being selected as the No. 2 overall pick in the June draft. He is also one of 14 finalists for the Sullivan Award, given to the top amateur athlete in the nation.

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