Tobias, Burns and Smith are Dick Howser Trophy National Players of the Week

DALLAS (NCBWA) – The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) released its Dick Howser Trophy National Player of the Week awards presented by The Game Headwear for the period ending May 19. Arizona State’s junior infielder Jacob Tobias was named National Hitter of the Week, while Arkansas junior left-hander Hagen Smith and Wake Forest junior right-handed pitcher Chase Burns were named National Co-Pitchers of the Week. The NCBWA Board reviews candidates from each Division I Conference and names winners each Tuesday throughout the season.

Tobias, named to the All-Pac 12 Conference team, posted 13 RBI in three games this weekend, starting with eight on Thursday night – when he batted 5-for-5 – which tied for the fourth most RBI in a game by a Sun Devil in program history. This came after the Bakersfield, California, native set a career-best of six RBI against Stanford last Sunday, meaning the junior batted in 19 runs in his last four games. 

With three home runs this week, two coming in Thursday's game against Texas Tech, Tobias is now tied for eighth among ASU players since 1998 with 18 homers on the season. Adding on a double, Tobias batted .615 on 8-of-13 hitting and a 1.385 slugging percentage to go along with reaching base at a .706 clip this week. 

The biggest hit of them all was on the last pitch of the weekend, when he lofted the first pitch he saw over the shortstop's head and saw it come down perfectly in center field to bring in the game-winning run and cap a six-game win streak for the Sun Devils as they head into the postseason.

Smith, the Razorback ace, was once again magnificent on the mound, as he spun six scoreless innings without walking a batter. The Bullard, Texas, native allowed just two hits and struck out 14 for the second time in three starts, his program-record 11th double-digit strikeout game of the season to go along with his team-leading 11th quality start of the year.

With his 11th strikeout of the night, which he recorded in the fifth inning against Texas A&M shortstop Ali Camarillo, Smith overtook Nick Schmidt for sole possession of Arkansas’ career strikeout record. Smith finished Thursday night’s ballgame with 349 career strikeouts, surpassing Schmidt’s mark of 345 career strikeouts from 2005-07.

Smith, the 2024 Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year, also continues to climb the program’s single-season strikeout leaderboard. After his six-inning, 14-strikeout start against the Aggies, Smith’s season total now sits at 150 – five shy of David Walling’s single-season record of 155 in 1999.

Burns earned his second straight Dick Howser Trophy National Pitcher of the Week national honor and third of the season, and the start on Friday marked the 11th time in 14 starts this season he struck out at least 10 batters and ninth time he finished with at least 13 punch outs. It also marked the 2024 Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year’s fourth straight with at least 13 strikeouts.

Leading the nation in strikeouts, Burns added 13 punchouts to his ledger against NC State, extending his program record to 169 strikeouts during the regular season. Burns finished the 2024 regular season with 45 more strikeouts than any other conference pitcher and holds the national lead by 19 punchouts.

He allowed just one unearned run on five hits over 7.0 innings and did not allow a walk. The outing also marked his 10th quality start of his junior season. Additionally, Burns now holds eight of the top 11 single-game strikeout performances in Wake Forest history.

Burns has been untouchable in the month of May, compiling 42 strikeouts to just three walks for a 14.00 K/BB ratio and a ridiculous 18.90 K/9 ratio to go along with a 0.45 ERA in three starts.

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