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Kopps, Wicklander, Franklin named to writers’ All-American team

Kevin Kopps, Patrick Wicklander and Christian Franklin are All-Americans, named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

Kevin Kopps, Patrick Wicklander and Christian Franklin are All-Americans.

The Razorback trio received the honor from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association on Wednesday, becoming the 29th, 30th and 31st Arkansas players to earn All-America status.

Kopps took home first-team honors from the NCBWA, while Wicklander was voted to the second team and Franklin landed on the third team.

Kopps, college baseball’s most dominant pitcher in 2021, finished the campaign with a 12-1 record and 11 saves.

He recorded the nation’s lowest ERA (0.90) and WHIP (0.76), striking out 131 in 89.2 innings of work. Opposing hitters had a .162 average against the right-hander, who set the program’s single-season record for ERA during his historic year.

The SEC Pitcher of the Year and Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year, Kopps is a finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award — two of college baseball’s most prestigious individual awards.

He is also a finalist for the College Baseball Foundation’s National Pitcher of the Year Award as well as the NCBWA’s Stopper of the Year Award, which is handed out to the nation’s best relief pitcher.

Wicklander emerged as the Razorbacks’ No. 1 starter after beginning the year out of the bullpen. The-left hander, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes prior to the season, finished with a 7-1 record and 2.09 ERA in 77.2 innings of work, punching out 85 batters while limiting opposing hitters to a .226 average.

Franklin, meanwhile, slashed .274-.420-.544 with 13 home runs and 54 RBI during the 2021 campaign. The outfielder also hit 15 doubles and 2 triples, swiping a team-best 11 bases on the year, while playing elite defense in center.

Along with Brady Slavens, Robert Moore and Jalen Battles, Kopps and Wicklander were also recognized as American Baseball Coaches Association-Rawlings South All-Region honorees. Kopps was voted to the first team, while Slavens, Moore, Battles and Wicklander earned second-team praise from the ABCA-Rawlings.

Slavens, the Razorbacks’ everyday first baseman, slashed .284-.347-.560 with 14 homers and a team-leading 63 RBI in 2021. Moore, who slashed .283-.384-.558 on the year, blasted a team-high 16 homers and drove in 53 runs while playing superb defense at second base all year long.

Battles, meanwhile, slashed .269/.371/.407 with six home runs and 43 RBI. The slick-handed shortstop was named the SEC Tournament MVP as he powered Arkansas to a sweep of the conference regular-season and tournament title.

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