Jan. 31, 2012
For Immediate Release
Contact: Tami Cutler
2011 winner Knebel returns to headline listt
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WICHITA, Kan. (NCBWA) – Forty-five players have been named to the initial watch list for the eighth 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 Wednesday.

Texas' Corey Knebel, the 2011 winner of the Stopper of the Year Award, headlines the list of preseason nominees for the 2012 award. Last season as a freshman, Knebel collected 19 saves and went 3-2 with a 1.13 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 55.2 innings pitched as he helped the Longhorns to the College World Series.

Knebel, a first team preseason All-American by the NCBWA, is joined on the watch list by fellow first teamers Tony Bryant from Oregon State and Caleb Reed from Mississippi State. Bryant had 12 saves and a 1.57 ERA a year ago, while Reed had 12 saves and a 1.55 ERA.

Among the other most notable nominees are the three members of the NCBWA preseason All-American second team (John Neely of Texas Tech, Austin Maddox of Florida and Tyler Smith of Rider), along with all three members of the third team (Jake Dyer of Georgia State, Nick Wittgren of Purdue and Chris Overman of North Carolina State).

The SEC led the way with six players on this year's watch list, while the WAC had four pitchers on the list.

Pitcher School Cl.
Hugh Adams Florida Atlantic Sr.
Chris Anderson Jacksonville So.
Luke Bard Georgia Tech Jr.
Jake Boyd Stetson Sr.
Tony Bryant Oregon State Jr.
Matt Carasiti St. John’s Jr.
Pat Christensen La Salle Jr.
Alex Cillo Bucknell Sr.
Scott Coffman New Mexico State Sr.
Caleb Dudley Louisiana Tech Jr.
Matt Duncan Morehead State Jr.
Jake Dyer Georgia State Sr.
Cale Elam Wichita State So.
Matt Gardner Nevada Sr.
Kyle Glancy Northern Illinois Sr.
Ryan Harvey Seton Hall So.
Ryan Hawthorne LMU Sr.
Todd Hornsby Jacksonville State Sr.
Zack Jones San Jose State Jr.
Corey Knebel Texas So.
Forrest Koumas South Carolina So.
Kenny Long Illinois State Sr.
Stefan Lopez Southeastern Louisiana Jr.
Austin Maddox Florida Jr.
Eddie Magallon Long Beach State Jr.
Tyler Maloof Georgia Jr.
Kevin McKague Army Sr.
Jeff McVaney Texas State Sr.
Michael Morin North Carolina Jr.
John Neely Texas Tech Sr.
Chris Overman N.C. State Jr.
Robbie Powell Stetson Sr.
Caleb Reed Mississippi State Sr.
Joel Rinehart Navy Jr.
Steven Rodriguez Florida Jr.
Joe Rogers UCF Jr.
Nolan Sanburn Arkansas So.
Michael Schum Wright State Sr.
Tyler Smith Rider Jr.
Kurt Spomer Creighton Sr.
Tyler Wagner Utah Jr.
Tony Wieber Michigan State Jr.
Abram Williams Radford Sr.
Nick Wittgren Purdue Jr.
Evan Zerff Long Island 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 16, 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 6, prior to start of NCAA Super Regional tournament competition.

The NCBWA's All-America Committee will select the winner, with this year's recipient to be announced during the 2012 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 winning it in 2007, Georgia's Joshua Fields topping the field in 2008, San Diego State's Addison Reed grabbing the honor in 2009, Texas' Chance Ruffin earning the honor in 2010 and Texas freshman Corey Knebel winning it 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 Wichita State at 316-978-5559.

2012 NCBWA Stopper of the Year key dates:
• Tues., Jan. 31: Preseason Watch List
• Thurs., April 19: Midseason Watch List
• Tues., June 5: Stopper of the Year finalists announced
• Fri., June 15: NCBWA Stopper of the Year announced (Omaha, Neb.)