K-State’s Culpepper, Neighbors named to Golden Spikes Award watch list

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Kansas State University pitcher Tyson Neighbors and infielder Kaelen Culpepper have been named to the watch list for the most prestigious award in college baseball.

The Golden Spikes Award listed a total of 55 college baseball players on the preseason watch list Friday, which included Culpepper and Neighbors. The award is given to the top amateur college baseball player in the country.

Neighbors, a right-handed relief pitcher out of Royse City, Texas, had a spectacular campaign in 2023 when he posted a 1.85 ERA in 34 appearances. He struck out 86 batters to only 16 walks, and batters only hit .135 against him.

Culpepper was electric in his own right for the Wildcats, hitting .325 in 40 games with 10 home runs and a .423 on-base percentage.

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Following the season, Neighbors and Culpepper were both named to the USA National Team. Neighbors made four appearances for Team USA, allowing three hits with four strikeouts during 3 2/3s innings of relief.

Culpepper was one of the top hitters for Team USA, averaging .471 with two triples, three home runs and seven RBI. He split time this past summer between Team USA and the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod League. With the Mariners, he slashed .270/.382/.317 with three doubles, seven RBI and five runs scored in 17 games.

Kansas State finished the season 35-24, narrowly missing the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats begin their 2024 campaign in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the MLB Desert Invitational on Feb. 16 with a three-game split between California, Boston College and Georgetown.

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