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May 22, 2011

Columbia, S.C. – 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 Gamecock 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.

The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team is comprised of the top collegiate baseball players in the country. The team competes each summer in a schedule of exhibition games across the U.S. and overseas against the world’s top baseball talent. As part of this schedule, the U.S. takes on the Japan Collegiate All-Stars nearly every summer and squares off in international friendship series against the likes of Canada, Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands. Each summer schedule also features a prominent international tournament for the age group, which includes the Pan American Games and the FISU World Collegiate Baseball Championships. In 2009 the Collegiate National Team won the inaugural World Baseball Challenge in Canada.

Three current MLB players and former Gamecocks played on the Collegiate National Team – Adam Everett, Landon Powell, and Justin Smoak.

Players who have taken the field for the Collegiate National Team and have gone onto Major League Baseball success include such notables as Jim Abbott, Troy Glaus, Todd Helton, Ryan Howard, Barry Larkin, Tino Martinez, Dustin Pedroia, David Price, Huston Street, Mark Teixeira, Troy Tulowitzki, Jason Varitek, and Ryan Zimmerman.

2011 – Christian Walker, 1B
2010 – Jackie Bradley Jr., OF
2007 – Justin Smoak, 1B
2003 – Matt Campbell, P
2002 – Landon Powell, C
1997 – Adam Everett, SS
1994 – Jason Haynie, P
1993 – Jason Haynie, P
1991 – Jared Baker, P
1989 – Brian Williams, P/OF
1986 – Dave Hollins, 3B

Since 1978 USA Baseball has been the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of baseball. It represents the sport in the United States as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and internationally as a member federation of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF).

Nearly every major national amateur baseball organization in America is united as a USA Baseball National Member Organization. As a result, USA Baseball governs more than 12 million amateur players in ballparks and playgrounds across the country.

As the commissioner’s office for amateur baseball, USA Baseball is a resource center for its various membership groups, fans, and players. USA Baseball is also responsible for promoting and developing the game of baseball on the grassroots level, both nationally and internationally.