April 19, 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 midseason 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 midseason watch list, 16 are ranked among the nation's Top 25 overall relievers with at least eight saves so far this year, including Don Czyz of Kansas who leads the nation with 13 shutdowns.

Mercer's Andrew Urena has posted 12 saves, while Vinnie Pestano (Cal State Fullerton) and Ben Hunter (Wake Forest) have each collected 11 saves. Among those hurlers with 10 shutdowns are Joe Roberts (Toledo), Blair Erickson (UC Irvine), Josh McLaughlin (College of Charleston) and Link Saunders (The Citadel). A pair of servicemen appear on the list, with both Milan Dinga of Army and Ryan Hefner of Navy making the cut.

The 2006 midseason watch list represents 15 conferences, led by four players from the Atlantic Coast, and three from the Big West, Pac 10, and Southeastern conferences. The Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, Metro Atlantic, Patriot and Southern each have two players represented, while the Atlantic Sun, Horizon, Mid American, Missouri Valley, and Western Athletic all have one player.

"These pitchers have some of the most exciting arms in college baseball," said NCBWA President Todd Lamb, Assistant Athletics Communications Director at The Ohio State University. "We are looking to build upon the success of last year's award, 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.

Pitcher School Cl. Hometown
Tyler Addison Niagara Sr. Toccoa, Ga.
Daniel Best Southern Miss Sr. Ruston, La.
Andrew Carignan North Carolina So. Norwich, Conn.
Elliott Cribby Washington So. Redmond, Wash.
Don Czyz Kansas Sr. Overland Park, Kan.
Milan Dinga Army Jr. Tampa, Fla.
Blair Erickson UC Irvine Jr. Fair Oaks, Calif.
Josh Fields Georgia So. Hull, Ga.
Darrell Fisherbaugh Hawaii Jr. Novato, Calif.
Tim Gudex (L) Iowa Sr. Appleton, Wisc.
Kevin Gunderson (L) Oregon State Jr. Portland, Ore.
Ryan Hefner (L) Navy Sr. Creve Couer, Ill.
Ben Hunter Wake Forest So. Cincinnati, Ohio
Brett Jensen Nebraska Sr. Eagle Grove, Iowa
Josh McLaughlin College of Charleston Jr. Wichita, Kan.
Darren O'Day Florida Sr. Jacksonville, Fla.
Chris Perez Miami, Fla. Jr. Holmes Beach, Fla.
Vinnie Pestano Cal State Fullerton Jr. Anaheim Hills, Calif.
Dominic Petracca Central Florida Sr. Sanford, Fla.
Joe Roberts Toledo Jr. Ottawa Lake, Mich.
Rocky Roquet Cal Poly Sr. Cayucos, Calif.
Robert Ryan Marist Jr. Roslindale, Mass.
Link Saunders The Citadel Jr. Irmo, S.C.
Joe Smith Wright State Jr. Cincinnati, Ohio
Damon Sublett Wichita State So. Wichita, Kan.
Luke Tucker Florida State Jr. Niceville, Fla.
Andrew Urena Mercer Sr. Puerto Rico
Garrett White (L) Mississippi Jr. Round Rock, Tex.
Matt Whitmore Illinois Sr. Evansville, Ind.
Zechry Zinicola Arizona State Jr. San Bernardino, Calif.
(L) indicates left-handed pitcher

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