BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (NCBWA) – Five of college baseball's
top relief specialists have been selected as finalists for the fifth
annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper
of the Year Award, the NCBWA announced Wednesday.
This year's finalists include NCAA saves leader Addison Reed
of San Diego State, Kyle Bellamy of Miami (Fla.), Jake Hale of Ohio
State, Matty Ott of LSU and Eric Pettis of UC Irvine. All five relief
aces helped their respective teams advance to the 64-team field
of the 2009 NCAA Baseball Tournament, which continues this weekend
at eight super regional sites across the nation.
Reed, with an NCAA-leading 20 saves, was an automatic qualifier
for this year's award. Reed recorded 20 saves in 20 opportunities
this season. He finished the season with a microscopic 0.65 earned
run average and 38 strikeouts over his 27.2 innings of work. He
has allowed only seven walks, with two of those being intentional
Bellamy, who was recently named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser
Trophy, is among the national leaders with 16 saves this season.
In 46.1 innings pitched, the Davie, Fla. native has allowed just
five earned runs while striking out 63 and carrying a 0.97 ERA.
Bellamy (3-1) is a perfect 16-for-16 in save opportunities. Twelve
of his 16 saves this season have come from more than an inning of
Ott, the 2009 SEC Freshman of the Year, has recorded 15 saves
this season, setting a new high for the most single-season saves
in LSU history. The right-hander from Metairie, La., has a 3-2 record
and a 2.22 ERA this season with an amazing four walks and 62 strikeouts
in 44.2 innings. Ott is the first LSU true freshman to earn national
honors since 2001, when pitcher Lane Mestepey was named a third-team
Hale, a first-team All-Big 10 selection has conference-leading
figures in saves (18), appearances, and games finished. In Big Ten
games only, his 1.09 ERA and .165 opponents’ batting average also
lead the conference.
UC Irvine junior right-hander Eric Pettis finished the season
with 17 saves, matching his total from a year ago. Pettis, a finalist
for the Stopper Award last season as well, made 29 relief appearances,
compiling a 3.86 earned run average with a 5-2 record and 37 strikeouts
in 42 innings. Pettis' exploits out of the bullpen helped the Anteaters
earn a No. 1 ranking during the season and a No. 6 national seed
in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
More than 45 of the nation's top collegiate relief pitchers were
included in the selection process for this year's NCBWA Stopper
of the Year Award, beginning with initial preseason nominations
by baseball contacts at NCAA Division I schools.
The NCBWA's All-America Committee will select the winner, with
this year's recipient to be announced Saturday, June 13, the opening
day of the 2009 College World Series.
Texas hurler J. Brent Cox won the inaugural Stopper of the Year
Award in 2005, with Don Czyz of Kansas claiming the honor in 2006,
Luke Prihoda of Sam Houston State in 2007 and Georgia’s Joshua Fields
topping the field last season.
The NCBWA, founded in 1962, also presents the Dick Howser Trophy
to the nation's top player in addition to naming a Division I All-America
Team, Division I and Division III Players of the Week, Division
I District Players of the Year and Division III Players of the Year.
For additional information on the 2009 NCBWA Stopper of the Year
Award, contact Chuck Dunlap at the Southeastern Conference (205-458-3000).
2009 NCBWA Stopper of the Year key dates:
• Tues., Feb. 17: Preseason Watch List
• Thurs., April 16: Midseason Watch List
• Wed., June 3: Stopper of the Year finalists announced
• Sat., June 13: NCBWA Stopper of the Year announced