Aaron Nola named National Pitcher of Year

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK --  Former LSU ace Aaron Nola threw 345 strikeouts in his career. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Former LSU ace Aaron Nola threw 345 strikeouts in his career.

Aaron Nola is living the life of a professional baseball player, but his college honors haven’t stopped yet.

The former LSU ace was named Friday the National Pitcher of the Year by the College Baseball Hall of Fame. He’ll receive the award during a ceremony in Lubbock, Texas, on Saturday.

Nola beat out the two other finalists, Rice’s Blake Fox and Oklahoma State’s Brendan McCurry.

Nola is the sixth Tiger in school history to win a national player or pitcher of the year award, joining pitcher Ben McDonald (1989 Golden Spikes Award), pitcher Lloyd Peever (1992 Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year); first baseman Eddy Furniss (1998 Dick Howser Trophy); catcher Brad Cresse (2000 Johnny Bench Award); and shortstop Alex Bregman (2013 Brooks Wallace Award).

Selected by the Philadelphia Phillies with the seventh pick in the MLB draft, Nola is currently a starting pitcher for the Phillies’ High-A Clearwater Threshers. He is expected to get his second professional start Tuesday. He lasted 2.1 innings and allowed three hits, five runs (four earned), three walks and three strikeouts in his first start Monday. He coasted before unraveling in the third inning.

“Third inning I kind of got myself into a pretty big jam. Left a hanging changeup over the plate and he hit (home run),” Nola said. “I paid of my mistakes. I know how to handle it. It’s been worse for me.”

Nola signed a $3.39 million contract with the Phillies that spans seven years, his dad, A.J., said.

A Baton Rouge native, Nola was named in 2014 a first-team All-American for the second straight season, as he posted an 11-1 mark and a 1.47 ERA in 116.1 innings with 27 walks and 134 strikeouts.

A two-time Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year, Nola compiled one of the best three-year careers of any LSU pitcher. He finished 30-6 with a 2.09 ERA in 332 innings with 42 walks and 345 strikeouts. He is No. 3 on the LSU career list for strikeouts, No. 4 for ERA and No. 5 for pitching wins.

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