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DiChiara, Burkhalter earn All-American honors

ByJASON CALDWELL 79 minutes ago

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2022 College World Series: Auburn Tigers players describe postseason success

OMAHA, Nebraska—The honors continue to come in for Auburn baseball with first baseman Sonny DiChiara and closer Blake Burkhalter both earning All-American honors from the American Baseball Coaches Association.

The All-America honors are the second and third for DiChiara, who was previously named Second Team All-America by Collegiate Baseball, and first for Burkhalter, who becomes the 33rd player in program history to earn the distinction. Burkhalter is the first relief pitcher since John Madden in 2005 to be named All-America.

The recognition for DiChiara comes after already being named the SEC Co-Player of the Year, First Team All-SEC, a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy.

He’ll now get a chance to play on the game’s biggest stage with the Tigers in Omaha for the College World Series.

“If you look at it from analytical standpoint, he may have more impact on any team than any other player in college baseball if you look at the numbers,” Coach Butch Thompson said. “But him rivaling that as person and the genuineness of it, you'll see it. He's had us from hello. And I'm so thankful that a player like him, with that much charisma and that much game, gets an opportunity to play in a setting like this.”

DiChiara leads the league in average (.392), on-base percentage (.560) and slugging percentage (.809). His on-base clip is good for the national lead and is 53 points higher than any other SEC player in the last 10 full seasons.

A native of Hoover, Alabama, DiChiara is tied for second among active Division I players with 63 career home runs, four of which have come in the NCAA Tournament. He has homered 22 times this year and would tie Auburn’s single-season record set by fellow SEC Player of the Hunter Morris in 2010 with his next long ball.

DiChiara has drawn 68 walks this season, the most in the country and the second most in the team’s single-season history, and has reached base in all but two games, including multiple times on 48 occasions.

“He does have great evaluation skills,” Thompson said. “He has two things at an extremely high level. And once you can get past his body type -- because that's the elephant in the room with him -- his evaluation of being able to take balls and swing at strikes is elite, and his bat quickness is that of like a Dylan Crews (LSU). And Crews looks like he's ready to be in a big league game tomorrow.

“Sonny possesses a couple of those skills. They're exactly the same, with bat quickness, shortness to the ball, exit velocities and his evaluation of the strike zone. And I think this year he's playing with a smaller strike zone than what he did the last two years by being in our conference.”

Burkhalter, who has already been named Second Team All-SEC and a finalist for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year award, leads the conference and ranks second in the country with 15 saves, good for the third most in program history and the most since 2003.

Fellow Auburn reliever Carson Skipper said Burkhalter’s impact has been huge for this team.

“As a pitcher, having him follow you up it's a big confidence boost,” Skipper said. “You don't have to worry about being too perfect and putting too much pressure on yourself. I know a lot of times if I'm going out for the seventh, it's always, hey, Burkhalter is in the pen, he's protecting you. And so for me it frees me up for that inning.”

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The junior right-hander recorded the final six outs of Auburn’s regional championship against UCLA and notched a pair of saves in the Corvallis Super Regional against Oregon State, retiring all eight batters he faced Monday to send the Tigers to Omaha.

Burkhalter has posted a 4-2 record with a 3.89 ERA and has struck out 66 batters to go along with issuing only seven walks in 44.0 innings. 


A native of Dothan, Alabama, Burkhalter earned three saves in as many appearances during the team’s sweep of South Carolina, becoming the first player in program history and the first in the league since 2017 to accomplish the feat.

Burkhalter, DiChiara and the No. 14 Tigers (42-20) are set to take on Ole Miss (37-22) in Omaha Saturday at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2.

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  • WarTiger changed the title to Baseball: National Awards

Awesome and well deserved for both of those men.

I am, however, surprised that in all of the post season awards that Gonzalez isn't mentioned in any of them. He was our best pitcher this season. Maybe it had to do with him being injured in the earlier part of the year. *shrugs*

Edited by tgrogan21
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3 hours ago, tgrogan21 said:

Awesome and well deserved for both of those men.

I am, however, surprised that in all of the post season awards that Gonzalez isn't mentioned in any of them. He was our best pitcher this season. Maybe it had to do with him being injured in the earlier part of the year. *shrugs*

Gonzo is a quiet hero for the Tigers...... he pitches to contact and it's not as trendy right now.

Congrats to Sonny D and Burky.  They earned it and I'm happy for them both.

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