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Kopps headlines UA All-Americans

by Matt Jones | June 17, 2021 at 6:49 a.m.
Arkansas senior Kevin Kopps was named first-team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association on Wednesday. He was previously named the SEC pitcher of the year by conference coaches and national player of the year by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)

FAYETTEVILLE -- Three University of Arkansas baseball players were voted 2021 All-Americans on the team released Wednesday by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association

Relief pitcher Kevin Kopps earned first-team honors, starting pitcher Patrick Wicklander was voted to the second team and outfielder Christian Franklin was voted to the third team.

Arkansas has had 30 individuals earn All-America status 35 separate times.

Kopps finished with a 12-1 record and 11 saves. He had college baseball's lowest ERA (0.90) and WHIP (0.76), and struck out 131 in 89 2/3 innings.

Opposing hitters had a .162 average against Kopps.

Collegiate Baseball Newspaper named Kopps its national player of the year, and he was voted SEC pitcher of the year by league coaches. He was twice the NCBWA's pitcher of the month.

Kopps is a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award -- college baseball's two most prominent individual awards for national player of the year. He is also a finalist for the Stopper of the Year Award as the nation's best relief pitcher.

The Howser Trophy will be presented Friday and Stopper of the Year will be presented Saturday. The Golden Spikes Award will be presented in July on a date not yet announced.

Wicklander, who began the season as a reliever, gave Arkansas a solid No. 1 starter during SEC play. The left-hander finished with a 7-1 record and 2.09 ERA in 77 2/3 innings.

The Razorbacks won 11 of 13 games started by Wicklander, including the final 10. He was a Collegiate Baseball national player of the week May 24 after a career-high 13 strikeouts against Florida. SEC coaches voted him second-team All-SEC.

Franklin is the first Arkansas center fielder to earn All-America honors since Andrew Benintendi was the consensus national player of the year in 2015. Franklin made several highlight-reel plays throughout the season, including diving catches or home-run robbing snatches in close games.

Franklin batted .274 with 13 home runs and 54 RBI. He also hit 15 doubles and 2 triples, and had an OPS of .964.

Franklin was voted second-team All-SEC and was on the league's all-defensive team.

The Razorbacks finished the season with a 50-13 record. Arkansas, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, was eliminated by North Carolina State with a 3-2 loss Sunday in the final game of the NCAA Fayetteville Super Regional.

Patrick Wicklander
Patrick Wicklander
Christian Franklin
Christian Franklin

Print Headline: Kopps headlines UA All-Americans

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