Kentucky first baseman Evan White and pitcher Dustin Beggs have been named to the NCAA Division I Gold Glove Team for defensive excellence by the American Baseball Coaches Association and Rawlings. UK was the only school in the nation with two selections on the team.
White, a sophomore from Gahanna, Ohio, displayed remarkable skill and agility around the first-base bag during the 2016 season. He fielded his position deftly and showed phenomenal ability to make long stretches to catch wide throws as well as scoop low throws out of the dirt. He made only error all season in 533 defensive chances, good for a .998 fielding percentage. Although hitting is not a qualification for the award, White also excelled at the plate, with a .376 batting average, 15 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 40 RBI, 44 runs scored and 10 stolen bases – leading the team in every category except homers.
In addition to this honor, White also has been named third-team All-America, second-team All-Southeastern Conference and SEC All-Defensive Team. In July, he will play for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team in series against Chinese Taipei, Japan and Cuba.
Beggs, a senior from Roswell, Ga., fielded his position nimbly and showed an incredible ability to defend against baserunners. He led the SEC with nine runners picked off and he did not have any stolen bases against him (0-for-3) all season. On the mound, he had a 9-2 record with a 3.01 earned run average. He led the team in wins, innings pitched (98.2), complete games (two), strikeouts (80) and fewest walks per nine innings (1.46). He also was chosen for the SEC All-Defensive Team.
Additionally, Beggs was named the 2016 Tony Gwynn Classic Most Outstanding Pitcher and named Mid-Season First-Team All-America by Perfect Game after becoming the first player in UK history to win his first seven starts of a season. He also was on the midseason watch list for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award for the top player in college baseball.
A junior-college transfer, Beggs posted a 16-6 record in his two years with the Wildcats – the second-most wins ever by a two-year player. He career winning percentage of .727 ranks third in school history and his 3.32 career ERA is seventh in UK annals.
Off the field, Beggs was named Academic All-America (third team) by the College Sports Information Directors of America. He has graduated from UK with a 3.69 grade-point average in Integrated Strategic Communications.
White and Beggs are the fourth and fifth Wildcats to be chosen to the Gold Glove Team, which was instituted in 2007. Second baseman Ryan Wilkes (2008), pitcher Corey Littrell (2012) and outfielder Austin Cousino (2013 and 2014) also have been selected as Gold Glove honorees.
For more information on the Kentucky baseball team, follow @UKBaseball on Twitter and Facebook or visit UKathletics.com.
by Tony Neely