June 5, 2012
For Immediate Release
Contact: Tami Cutler
Five relief specialists up for eighth annual award
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WICHITA, Kan. (NCBWA) – Five of college baseball's top relief specialists have been selected as finalists for the eighth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, the NCBWA announced Tuesday.

This year's finalists include NCAA saves leader Stefan Lopez of Southeastern Louisiana, along with Robert Benincasa of Florida State, Michael Morin of North Carolina, Robbie Powell of Stetson and Jimmie Sherfy of Oregon.

Lopez, with an NCAA-leading 20 saves, has earned second team All-America and first team all-Southland honors this season. He finished 2-1 with a 0.61 earned run average. In 29.1 innings pitched, Lopez recorded 42 strikeouts and allowed just five walks and 19 hits for a .179 opponent batting average.

Benincasa has 15 saves with a 4-1 record and earned third team All-America and first team All-ACC honors this season, while helping Florida State advance to the Super Regionals. In 35 innings pitched, Benincasa has allowed just five earned runs and five walks with 48 strikeouts. He has allowed just 21 hits on the season for an opponent batting average of .167 and has a 1.29 ERA.

Morin earned first team All-America and first team All-ACC honors this season while posting a 6-4 record with 19 saves. He has a 1.40 earned run average and 55 strikeouts over his 58 innings of work. He has allowed just nine earned runs, while holding opponents to a .191 batting average.

Powell owns a 1-1 record and 18 saves and earned third team All-America and first team All-Atlantic Sun honors. He finished this season with a 2.05 earned run average and an opponent batting average of .222. He made 30 appearances and allowed just 10 earned runs on the season.

Sherfy has helped Oregon advance to Super Regionals this season and earned third team All-America honors. In 58.1 innings of work, he is 5-2 and owns a 2.16 ERA with 18 saves and 87 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .176 off of the first team All-Pac 12 selection this season and he is averaging 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

More than 90 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 Friday, June 15 at the beginning of 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 taking it in 2009, Texas’ Chance Ruffin grabbing the honor in 2010 and Texas’ 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 or Russ Anderson at Conference USA at 214-774-1300.

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.)