Feb. 2, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Shamus McKnight
Eight closers who ranked among the Top 12 in saves last year return in 2007

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

Of the 35 pitchers who make up the initial 2007 watch list, 24 were among the nation's Top 50 in saves at the end of the 2006 season, including eight of the Top 12 save totals in the final NCAA rankings.

Two of the finalists for the 2006 NCBWA Stopper of the Year return this spring, Cole St. Clair of Rice and Joshua Fields of Georgia, after helping their teams to the College World Series last spring. St. Clair was 7-2 with 11 saves and a 1.82 ERA last season, while Fields tied for fourth nationally with 15 saves while going 3-2 with a 1.80 ERA.

Notre Dame sophomore Kyle Weiland is the nation's returning leader in saves, recording 16 last season to lead the Fighting Irish into NCAA regional play. Andrew Carignan (North Carolina), Link Saunders (The Citadel) and Fields all return after collecting 15 saves in 2006. A total of 20 pitchers that appear on the 2007 watch list finished last season with at least 10 saves.

The 2007 watch list is comprised of players from 19 conferences, led by six players from the Atlantic Coast and four from the Mid-American. The Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Big West, Conference USA, Missouri Valley, Patriot and Southeastern each have two players represented while nine other conferences have at least one player on the 2007 watch list.

Pitcher School Cl. Hometown
Brock Baber Kentucky Jr. Sharpsburg, Ky.
Noah Booth (L) Wichita State Sr. Oklahoma City, Okla.
Jason Buursma Bucknell Jr. Seattle, Wash.
Andrew Carignan North Carolina Jr. Norwich, Conn.
Nick Cassavechia Baylor Jr. Dallas, Texas
Brett Cecil (L) Maryland Jr. Dunkirk, Md.
Elliott Cribby Washington Jr. Redmond, Wash.
Danny Davis McNeese State Sr. Slidell, La.
Ryan Davis (L) Kent State Sr. Rootstown, Ohio
Josh Dew Troy Sr. Montgomery, Ala.
Milan Dinga Army Sr. Tampa, Fla.
Joseph Edens Samford Sr. Fayetteville, Ga.
Robbie Elsemiller Stetson Jr. Okeechobee, Fla.
Blair Erickson UC Irvine Sr. Fair Oaks, Calif.
Joshua Fields Georgia Jr. Hull, Ga.
Matt German (L) Northern Illinois Sr. Aurora, Ill.
Kyle Heyne Ball State Jr. Coldwater, Ohio
Ben Hunter Wake Forest Jr. Cincinnati, Ohio
Brett Hunter Pepperdine So. Moorpark, Calif.
Ben Jenzen Michigan So. Grosse Pointe, Mich.
Casey Lambert (L) Virginia Sr. Harrisonburg, Va.
Daniel Latham Tulane Sr. Covington, La.
Rory Meister Ohio State Jr. Mansfield, Ohio
Daniel Moskos (L) Clemson Jr. Alta Loma, Calif.
James Ricchio (L) Central Michigan Sr. Racine, Wis.
Cole St. Clair (L) Rice Jr. Santa Ana, Calif.
Link Saunders The Citadel Sr. Irmo, S.C.
Justin Segal UCSB Sr. Calabasas, Calif.
Jonathan Settle Winthrop Sr. Columbia, S.C.
Damon Sublett Wichita State Jr. Wichita, Kan.
Luke Tucker Florida State Sr. Niceville, Fla.
A.J. Upton Cincinnati Jr. Maineville, Ohio
Kyle Weiland Notre Dame So. Albuquerque, N.M.
Austin Wood (L) Texas So. Kingwood, Texas
Ryan Woods Le Moyne Sr. Jacksonville, Fla.
(L) indicates left-handed pitcher

"The organization started this award two years ago and it is quickly becoming one of the prestigious awards in college baseball," Mike "Mex" Carey, the NCBWA president, said. "This year appears it could be the best yet with so many quality closers coming back."

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 16. 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 30, 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 third annual winner will be announced on Wednesday, June 6, two days prior to the beginning of NCAA super regional action. Last year's winner was Don Czyz from Kansas. Texas' J. Brent Cox won the inaugural award in 2005.

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 Shamus McKnight at the University of Nebraska at 402-472-7772 (Ext. 210).

2007 NCBWA Stopper of the Year key dates:
Fri., Feb. 2: Watch List announced
Thurs., April 19: Midseason Watch List announced
Wed., May 30: Stopper of the Year finalists announced
Wed., June 6: Stopper of the Year announced