Feb. 2, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dave Fanucchi
919-474-8721, Ext. 210
Nation's bullpen aces to vie for 2nd annual award

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

Of the 30 pitchers who make up the initial 2006 watch list, 21 were ranked among the nation's Top 50 in saves at the end of the 2005 season, including Daniel Best of Southern Miss one of five finalists for the Inaugural Stopper of the Year Award in 2005.

Nebraska's Brent Jensen returns to the Huskers after posting 16 saves and helping his squad to Omaha he had the most saves last season of any pitcher on the watch list. Tyler Chambliss of Florida State returns with 15 from '05, while Casey Lambert (Virginia), Kevin Gunderson (Oregon State) and Paul Koss (USC) each tallied 14. A total of 14 pitchers that appear on the 2006 watch list finished last season with 10 or more saves.

The 2006 watch list represents 13 conferences, led by five players from the Atlantic Coast, and four from the Big 12. The Conference USA, Missouri Valley, Pac-10, and Southeastern each have three players represented, while the Atlantic 10 and Big West both have two players representing their leagues. The Atlantic Sun, Big Ten, Big East, Northeast, and Patriot each have one player.

Pitcher School Cl. Hometown
Daniel Best Southern Miss Sr. Ruston, La.
Gerard Breslin La Salle Jr. Havertown, Pa.
Tyler Chambliss Florida State Jr. Live Oak, Fla.
Bryce Cox Rice Sr. Carrollton, Texas
Don Czyz Kansas Sr. Overland Park, Kan.
Milan Dinga Army Jr. Tampa, Fla.
Blair Erickson UC Irvine Jr. Fair Oaks, Calif.
Kevin Gunderson (L) Oregon State Jr. Portland, Ore.
Brian Halford Louisville Sr. Louisville, Ky.
Jonathan Hovis North Carolina Sr. Gastonia, N.C.
Brett Jensen Nebraska Sr. Eagle Grove, Iowa
Paul Koss USC Jr. Orange, Calif.
Casey Lambert (L) Virginia Jr. Harrisonburg, Va.
Ryan LaMotta Baylor Sr. Sugarland, Texas
Daniel Latham Tulane Jr. Covington, La.
Mike McBryde Florida Atlantic Jr. N. Palm Beach, Fla.
Mark Melancon Arizona Jr. Golden, Colo.
Rory Meister Ohio State So. Mansfield, Ohio
Mark Murray Evansville Jr. Evansville, Ind.
Darren O'Day Florida Sr. Jacksonville, Fla.
Vinnie Pestano Cal State Fullerton Jr. Anaheim Hills, Calif.
Chris Perez Miami (Fla.) Jr. Holmes Beach, Fla.
Scott Reese Creighton Jr. Portland, Ore.
Steve Richard Clemson Jr. Billerica, Mass.
David Robertson Alabama So. Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Will Savage Oklahoma Sr. West Hills, Calif.
Kevin Schneider Monmouth Sr. Lawrenceville, N.J.
Damon Sublett Wichita State So. Wichita, Kan.
Eric Walker UNC Charlotte Sr. Clemmons, N.C.
Sean Watson Tennessee Jr. Miami, Fla.
(L) indicates left-handed pitcher

"We were very pleased with the publicity and excitement this award generated in its first year of existence," said NCBWA President Todd Lamb, Assistant Athletics Communications Director at The Ohio State University. "Relief pitching is an area that is often overlooked and underappreciated in the college game, so we are looking to build upon last year's success, and continue to generate some recognition for the nation's outstanding relief pitchers."

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 17. 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 finalists. These finalists will be released on Wednesday, May 31, 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 2nd annual winner will be announced on Wednesday, June 7, two days prior to the beginning of NCAA super regional action.

The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the 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 Dave Fanucchi at USA Baseball at 919-474-8721 (Ext. 210) or Russ Anderson at Conference USA at 214-774-1351.

2006 NCBWA Stopper of the Year key dates:
Thurs., Feb. 2: Watch List announced
Wed., April 19: Midseason Watch List announced
Thurs., June 1: Stopper of the Year finalists announced
Thurs., June 8: NCBWA Stopper of the Year announced