Jan. 28, 2010
For Immediate Release
Contact: Julie St. Cyr
2009 winner returns headline list of 40 relief aces Bookmark and Share

IRVINE, Calif. (NCBWA) Forty players have been named to the initial watch list for the sixth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball, as announced by the association Thursday.

Last year's Stopper of the Year winner, Addison Reed of San Diego State, headlines the list of preseason nominees for the 2010 award. Reed recorded a nation-leading 20 saves in 20 opportunities last season, finished the year with a microscopic 0.65 earned run average and 38 strikeouts over his 27.2 innings of work. He allowed only seven walks, with two of those being intentional passes and his save total was a new San Diego State and Mountain West Conference season record.

Reed is joined by two of the five finalists for last season's award in LSU's Matty Ott and two-time finalist Eric Pettis of UC Irvine, both NCBWA first-team preseason All-Americans. Ott burst onto the national scene as a freshman in 2009, establishing an LSU school-record with 16 saves. He struck out 69 and walked just six in 50.1 innings of work. Pettis had a strong 2009 season where he had a 5-2 record with a 3.86 ERA and 17 saves, while striking out 37 batters in 42 innings. He walked just seven, while allowing 18 earned runs.

Among the other most notable nominees are the three relief pitching members of the NCBWA preseason All-American second team (Ryan Duke of Oklahoma, Chris Franklin of Southeastern Louisiana and Tyler Mizenko of Winthrop), along with all four members of the third team (Mitchell Lambson of Arizona State, Colin Bates of North Carolina, Collin Cargill of Southern Miss and Michael Schum of Wright State).

The Big 12 Conference led the way with five players named to the preseason watch list. The ACC, Conference USA and the SEC had four pitchers each on this year's watch list, while the Pacific-10 Conference is represented by three players.

Pitcher School Cl. Hometown
Kevin Arico Virginia Jr. Flemington, N.J.
Chris Bassit Akron So. Curtice, Ohio
Colin Bates North Carolina Jr. Naperville, Ill.
Chad Bettis Texas Tech Sr. Lubbock, Texas
Mike Bolsinger Arkansas Sr. McKinney, Texas
Collin Cargill Southern Miss Jr. Hattiesburg, Miss.
Andrew Chafin (L) Kent State So. Wakeman, Ohio
Chase Dempsay Houston Jr. Baytown, Texas
Ryan Duke Oklahoma Jr. Corpus Christi, Texas
Chris Enourato West Virginia Sr. Bridgeport, W. Va.
Nick Fleece Texas A&M Jr. Fort Worth, Texas
Chris Franklin SE Louisiana Sr. Oneonta, Ala.
Drew Gagnier Oregon Jr. Santa Cruz, Calif.
Thomas Girdwood Elon Jr. Charlotte, N.C.
Cole Green Texas Jr. Coppell, Texas
Austin Hubbard Auburn Sr. Birmingham, Ala.
Mitchell Lambson (L) Arizona State So. Tualatin, Ore.
Justin Malone Georgia State So. Abingdon, Va.
Eric Marshall TCU Sr. Barrington, Ill.
Cody Martin Gonzaga Jr. Dos Palos, Calif.
Scott Matyas Minnesota Jr. North Prairie, Wis.
Randy McCurry Oklahoma State Jr. Tupelo, Okla.
Kevin McKague Army Jr. Fayetteville, N.C.
Jarad Miller Valparaiso Jr. Fort Wayne, Ind.
Tyler Mizenko Winthrop So. Wallingford, Conn.
Kevin Moran Boston College Jr. Yarmouthport, Mass.
Jake Morgan Ole Miss Jr. Canton, Miss.
Kevin Munson James Madison Jr. Roanoke, Va.
Matty Ott LSU So. Chalmette, La.
Nick Pepitone Tulane Jr. Katy, Texas
Eric Pettis UC Irvine Sr. West Hills, Calif.
Mark Pope Georgia Tech So. Marietta, Ga.
Nick Ramirez (L) Cal State Fullerton So. Anaheim, Calif.
Addison Reed San Diego State So. Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Kevin Rhoderick Oregon State Jr. Scottsdale, Ariz.
Michael Schum Wright State So. Bright, Ind.
Gabriel Shaw Louisville Jr. Paducah, Ky.
Chad Sheppard Northwestern State So. Enterprise, La.
Seth Simmons East Carolina Jr. Lewisville, N.C.
Zach Varce Portland So. Seattle, Wash.
(L) indicates left-handed pitcher

Nominations for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award were made by baseball sports information/media relation contacts. The initial list will be updated with a mid-season release the week of April 19, including the national saves leaders. At the conclusion of the regular season, the Division I national saves leader and four other relief pitching standouts will be selected as finalists and released Wednesday, June 2, prior to start of NCAA regional tournament competition.

The NCBWA's All-America Committee then will select the winner, with this year's recipient to be announced on the opening day of the College World Series on June 19.

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 winning it in 2007, Georgia's Joshua Fields topping the field in 2008 and San Diego State's Addison Reed grabbing the honor last season.

The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the Dick Howser Trophy to the nation's top player. It also selects All-America Teams for all Divisions, a Division I Freshman All-American 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 Julie St. Cyr at the Big West Conference at 949-261-2525 or Russ Anderson at Conference USA at 214-774-1300.

2010 NCBWA Stopper of the Year key dates:
Thurs., Jan. 28: Preseason Watch List
Thurs., April 15: Midseason Watch List
Wed., June 2: Stopper of the Year finalists announced
Sat., June 19: NCBWA Stopper of the Year announced