South Carolina sophomore first baseman Christian Walker has been selected to the 22-man roster for the 2011 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, it was announced on Sunday evening. It is the 11th time in school history for a player to be selected to the collegiate team and it is the second straight season a Gamecock has been on the team as Jackie Bradley Jr. played for the Red, White & Blue last year.
Walker is in the midst of a strong sophomore campaign as he leads the Gamecocks with a .358 batting average (78-for-218) as well as a team-high nine HR and 57 RBI. His .573 slugging percentage also tops the squad. Walker is one of two Gamecocks this year to start all 56 games. His 57 RBI are second highest in the SEC. He is also third in the league in hits (78), fourth in runs scored (53), fifth in slugging percentage, home runs and total bases (125) and ninth in batting average. In addition, Walker hit .316 (37-for-117) in 30 SEC games and had eight doubles, a pair of homers and 24 RBI vs. conference teams.
Team USA will have an SEC flavor this year with four other SEC players already announced to the team. DJ Baxendale (RHP) and Dominic Ficociello (INF) of Arkansas and Nolan Fontana (INF) and Brian Johnson (LHP) of Florida have also been selected to the team.
The 2011 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will convene on June 22. The team will play 11 games during the summer, culminating with a five-game series against Japan July 3-8. The series opens on July 3 at 3:05 p.m. at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C. Additional players will be selected to the team in the absence of players on the 22-man roster who are competing in Omaha at the NCAA College World Series.