Feb. 1, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: Tami Cutler
2010 finalist returns to headline list of 45 relief aces
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WICHITA, Kan. (NCBWA) Forty-five players have been named to the initial watch list for the seventh 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 Tuesday.

Portland's Chris Dennis, a finalist last year for the Stopper of the Year Award, headlines the list of preseason nominees for the 2011 award. Last season, Dennis collected 14 saves and went 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 43 innings pitched.

Dennis, a first team preseason All-American by the NCBWA, is joined on the watch list by fellow first teamers Mike McGee from Florida State and Collin Cargill from Southern Miss. McGee, who helped the Seminoles to the College World Series, had 13 saves and a 2.96 ERA a year ago, while Cargill had nine saves and a 1.75 ERA.

Among the other most notable nominees are the four members of the NCBWA preseason All- American second team (Andy Mee of Florida Atlantic, Trever Vermeulen of South Dakota State, Matt Price of South Carolina and Kevin McKague of Army), along with all four members of the third team (Nick Ramirez of Cal State Fullerton, James Allen of Kansas State, Brian Hamilton of Charlotte and Lex Rutledge of Samford).

The Big 12, SEC and Conference USA led the way with four players each on this year's watch list. The Big 10, Atlantic 10 and Atlantic Sun each have three pitchers on the list.

Pitcher School Cl.
James Allen Kansas State Jr.
Cameron Amsrud Milwaukee Jr.
Collin Cargill Southern Miss Sr.
Andrew Chafin Kent State So.
Pat Christensen La Salle So.
Rye Davis Western Kentucky Jr.
Chris Dennis Portland Sr.
Michael Devine VMI Jr.
Ryan Duke Oklahoma Sr.
Alex Frederick Clemson Sr.
Tyler Gebler Rutgers So.
Thomas Girdwood Elon Sr.
Brian Hamilton Charlotte Sr.
Brett Huber Ole Miss So.
Jon Ivie Belmont Sr.
Chris Kaminski Jacksonville Sr.
Cory Kent Lehigh Jr.
Mitchell Lambson Arizona State Jr.
Gardner Leaver Rhode Island Sr.
Kevin Lee Iowa Sr.
Lenny Linsky Hawaii Jr.
Kenny Long Illinois State Jr.
Scott Matyas Minnesota Sr.
Mike McGee Florida State Sr.
Scott McGough Oregon Jr.
Kevin McKague Army Sr.
Andy Mee Florida Atlantic Sr.
Hoby Milner Texas So.
Jake Morgan Ole Miss Jr.
Matty Ott LSU Jr.
Nick Pepitone Tulane Sr.
Brooks Pinckard Baylor Jr.
Matt Price South Carolina So.
Ryne Purcell Eastern Kentucky Sr.
Nick Ramirez Cal State Fullerton Jr.
Joe Rogers UCF So.
Lex Rutledge Samford So.
Chad Sheppard Northwestern State Jr.
Seth Simmons East Carolina Sr.
Paul Snieder Northwestern Jr.
John Soldinger Manhattan So.
Kevin Vance Connecticut Jr.
Trever Vermeulen South Dakota State Sr.
Jack Wagoner Florida Gulf Coast Sr.
Jason West Stephen F. Austin Jr.

Nominations for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award were made by baseball sports information/media relations contacts. The initial list will be updated with a mid-season release the week of April 18, 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 1, 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 in Omaha on the opening day of the College World Series on June 18.

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, San Diego State's Addison Reed grabbing the honor in 2009, and Texas' Chance Ruffin earning the award 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 Tami Cutler at the Wichita State University at 316-978-5559 or Russ Anderson at Conference USA at 214-774-1300.

2011 NCBWA Stopper of the Year key dates:
Tues., Feb. 1: Preseason Watch List
Thurs., April 21: Midseason Watch List
Tues., June 7: Stopper of the Year finalists announced
Tues., June 21: NCBWA Stopper of the Year announced