TUSCON, Ariz. – Arkansas Razorbacks junior right-hander Blaine Knight of Bryant was named a Louisville Slugger Preseason Third Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball Magazine this week. It’s the first preseason honor for a Razorback player this year heading into the 2018 season.
Knight is the first pitcher to be named a Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American since Zach Jackson in 2016 and he is coming off his best season as a college pitcher. He was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 29th round of the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft over the summer, but decided to return for his junior season and lead a stacked Hogs rotation.
Knight was one of Arkansas’ top arms in 2017, making 16 starts and compiling a 3.28 ERA in 90.2 innings pitched, the second-lowest ERA among Arkansas starting pitchers. His eight wins were good for tops on the team and were the most by an Arkansas pitcher since Chris Oliver had eight in 2014.
The Bryant, Arkansas native finished with 96 strikeouts and only 20 walks. The strikeouts ranked 10th in the Southeastern Conference and the walks were the 13th-lowest among all league pitchers.
Knight was named the Opening Day starter against Miami (Ohio) prior to the season and went on to set career-highs in wins, starts, innings pitched, and strikeouts. He also made one appearance out of the bullpen in the final game of the NCAA Fayetteville Regional against Missouri State, facing three batters in the eighth inning.
In conference play, Knight was even better, going 6-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 10 starts. He racked up five-straight quality starts to open league play with his best coming at Alabama (March 31), where he threw eight innings and allowed just one earned run on three hits with seven strikeouts.
Over his two seasons, Knight has already garnered 10 wins in 35 appearances and struck out 142 batters, averaging more than 70 strikeouts a season.