National Collegiate Baseball Writers April 20, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Todd Lamb
35 bullpen aces up for first-year award

DALLAS (NCBWA) Thirty-five players from across the country have been named to the midseason 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.

The midseason list features 11 players who appeared on the initial watch list announced in February. That list was based primarily on 2004 statistics and projections, while the midseason list is based solely on how the relief pitchers have played so far this season.

Ball State's Erik Morrison, Evansville's Mark Murray and Cal Poly's Mike Bille each have 11 saves this season to lead the nation according to the NCAA saves leaders released Tuesday. Long Beach State's Neil Jamison, Auburn's Michael Nix and Florida State's Tyler Chambliss each have 10 saves. Nearly 60 pitchers were considered for the midseason watch list.

"The midseason watch list represents the best relief pitchers in the nation," said Mike Montoro, NCBWA President. "It takes a unique mentality and makeup to be a great relief pitcher. The reliever enters the game many times with the outcome on the line and their ability to handle the pressure associated with that role is what defines their importance to their teams.

"As the college game has developed over the years and teams are utilizing their bullpens more now than ever before, the role of the relief pitcher has become as important to the team's success as any other phase of the game. There are awards given each year to the top hitter, top player and top pitcher of the year, the time has come to honor these unsung heroes on the diamond, and we are excited to honor the top relief pitcher in the nation."

Pitcher School Cl. Hometown
Daniel Best Southern Miss Jr. Ruston, La.
Mike Bille Cal Poly Sr. Torrance, Calif.
Gerard Breslin La Salle So. Havertown, Pa.
Tyler Chambliss Florida State So. Live Oak, Fla.
Steve Cogswell Georgia Southern Sr. Toccoa, Ga.
Mike Costanzo Coastal Carolina Jr. Springfield, Pa.
J. Brent Cox Texas Jr. Bay City, Texas
Matt Danford North Carolina So. Raleigh, N.C.
Daniel Desclouds Northwestern State Sr. Stittsville, Ont.
Joey Devine N.C. State Jr. Junction City, Kan.
Blair Erickson UC Irvine So. Fair Oaks. Calif.
Kevin Gunderson Oregon State So. Portland, Ore.
Brett Harker College of Charleston So. Greenville, S.C.
Richard Hawk North Carolina A&T Sr. High Point, N.C.
Neil Jamison Long Beach State Sr. San Diego, Calif.
Steve Kleen Pepperdine Sr. Menifee, Calif.
Paul Koss USC So. Orange, Calif.
Casey Lambert Virginia So. Harrisonburg, Va.
Mick Lefort Rhode Island Sr. Lincoln, R.I.
John Madden Auburn Sr. Kissimmee, Fla.
Brent Marsh South Carolina Jr. Tallahassee, Fla.
Caleb Moore East Tennessee State Sr. Knoxville, Tenn.
Sean Morgan Tulane Fr. Sugar Land, Texas
Erik Morrison Ball State Sr. Hanover, Ind.
Mark Murray Evansville So. Evansville, Ind.
Michael Nix Auburn So. Auburn, Ala.
Darren O'Day Florida Jr. Jacksonville, Fla.
Blake Owen Belmont Jr. Cross Plains, Tenn.
Brian Pellegrini St. Bonaventure So. Willoughby, Ohio
Eric Roberts UAB Sr. Hueytown, Ala.
Josh Schmidt Pacific Sr. Sierra Madre, Calif.
Darek Stanfield Akron Sr. Columbiana, Ohio
Travis Talbott California Sr. Santa Cruz, Calif.
Erik Walker Charlotte Jr. Clemmons, N.C.
Abe Woody Baylor Jr. Round Rock, Texas

The midseason watch list represents 15 conferences, led by four players each from the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big West Conference, Conference USA and the Southeastern Conference. The Atlantic 10, Southern and Pacific-10 conference each had three delegates, while the Big 12 and Mid-American conferences each had two. One pitcher from each of the Atlantic Sun, Big South, Mid-Eastern Athletic, Missouri Valley Southland and West Coast conference also made the midseason list.

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 614-688-0343 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