National Collegiate Baseball Writers Feb. 23, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Todd Lamb
Nation's bullpen aces to vie for first-year award

DALLAS (NCBWA) Thirty players have been named to the initial watch list for the inaugural National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, the association announced Wednesday. The award will be given annually to the top relief pitcher in Division I.

Fifteen pitchers who make up the initial 2005 watch list were ranked among the nation's Top 50 at the end of the 2004 season.

Cal-Irvine's Blair Erickson has the most saves of any pitcher on the watch list after finishing second in the nation with 17 saves behind South Carolina's Chad Blackwell, who finished the year with 20, three saves short of the NCAA season record. Santa Clara's Anthony Rea and College of Charleston's Brett Harker each had 13 saves a season ago, while Davidson's Jay Heafner had 11. A total of eight pitchers that appear on the 2005 watch list finished last season with 10 or more saves.

The 2005 watch list represents 15 conferences, led by three players from each of the Atlantic Coast, Atlantic 10, Big Ten, Pac-10 and Southern conferences. The Big 12, Big South, Conference-USA, Mid-American and Southeastern conferences each have two players representing their leagues, while the Big East, Big West, Missouri Valley, West Coast and Western Athletic conferences each have one player.

Pitcher School Cl. Hometown
Byron Binda Coastal Carolina Sr. Stafford, Va.
Richard Boothe Eastern Kentucky Sr. Ft. Thomas, Ky.
Steve Cogswell Georgia Southern Sr. Toccoa, Ga.
J. Brent Cox Texas Jr. Bay City, Texas
John Cronin Richmond Sr. Branford, Conn.
Joey Devine N.C. State Jr. Junction City, Kan.
Blair Erickson UC Irvine So. Fair Oaks. Calif.
Trey Fausnaugh Ohio State So. Circleville, Ohio
Derek Feldkamp Michigan Jr. Adrian, Mich.
John Gaub (L) Minnesota So. South St. Paul, Minn.
Brian Halford Louisville Jr. Louisville, Ky.
Craig Hansen St. John's Jr. Glen Cove, N.Y.
Brett Harker College of Charleston So. Greenville, S.C.
Jay Heafner Davidson Jr. Lincolnton, N.C.
Brad Kilby (L) San Jose State Sr. Elk Grove, Calif.
Casey Lambert (L) Virginia So. Harrisonburg, Va.
Mick Lefort Rhode Island Sr. Lincoln, R.I.
Darren O'Day Florida Jr. Jacksonville, Fla.
Brian Pellegrini St. Bonaventure So. Willoughby, Ohio
Anthony Rea Santa Clara Sr. Palo Alto, Calif.
Kevin Rhodes East Carolina Jr. Rocky Point, N.C.
Derek Roach (L) Wichita State So. Denver, Colo.
Adam Simon UCLA Jr. La Puente, Calif.
Darek Stanfield Akron Sr. Columbiana, Ohio
Will Startup (L) Georgia Jr. Cartersville, Ga.
Matt Swanson California Sr. Los Gatos, Calif.
Jon Wilson Winthrop Jr. State College, Pa.
Robert Woodard North Carolina So. Charlotte, N.C.
Abe Woody Baylor Jr. Round Rock, Texas
Zechry Zinicola Arizona State So. San Bernadino, Calif.
(L) indicates left-handed pitcher

"Relief pitching is a component of the college game that is just as important as starting pitching, hitting or defense," Mike Montoro, NCBWA President, said when the creation of the award was announced. "It is an area that is often overlooked and underappreciated. Because of that, the NCBWA board believed that now was an appropriate time to initiate such an award. We are excited that this important part of the game is being recognized with a national award this season."

Nominations were made by each school's baseball sports information contact. A mid-season release, including the national saves leaders, will be updated during the week of April 18. At the end the regular season, the Division I leader in saves and four other relief pitching standouts will be selected as the award's first finalists. These finalists will be released on Wednesday, June 1, just prior to the beginning of NCAA regional play.

From the list of finalists, the NCBWA's All-America Committee will select a winner. The first annual winner will be announced on Wednesday, June 8, two days prior to the beginning of NCAA super regional action.

The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the Xanthus-Dick Howser Trophy to the nation's top player. It also selects a Division I All-America Team, Division I and III Players of the Week, Division I District Players of the Year and Division III Players of the Year.

For more information on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year, contact Todd Lamb at The Ohio State University at 614-292-6861 or Russ Anderson at Conference USA at 214-774-1351.

2005 NCBWA Stopper of the Year key dates:
Jan. 27: NCBWA introduces Stopper of the Year Award
Week of Feb. 21: Initial watch list released
Week of April 18: Midseason update released
Wed., June 1: Stopper of the Year finalists announced
Wed., June 8: NCBWA Stopper of the Year announced