Feb. 13, 2017
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ryan Powell
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Pac-12 leads list of 59 with nine nominees
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (NCBWA) – Fifty-nine players have been named to the initial Watch List for the 13th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher In NCAA Division I baseball, members of the association announced Monday.

Virginia Commonwealth's Sam Donko is the only returner among last year's five finalists for an award that was captured in 2016 by Miami's Bryan Garcia. Donko led the nation in saves a season ago with 20, while compiling a 9-2 record to go with a 2.93 ERA and 54 strikeouts for the Rams.

The Pacific-12 Conference had the most representation with nine players finding their names on the watch list. That group is headlined by Oregon State's Max Engelbrekt, who went 3-3 with 11 saves for the Beavers a season ago. His 11 saves top the list of returning relievers in the conference.

More than a third of the players on this list recorded double-digit saves a season ago and 10 were named to the NCBWA Preseason All-American team. Two of those preseason All-Americans posted sub-1.00 ERA's a season ago as Baylor's Troy Montemayor (0.78) and Louisiana's Dylan Moore (0.91) both notched 14 saves for their respective teams.

In total, 23 conferences are represented on this list with the Southeastern Conference following the Pac-12 with seven representatives. Conference USA and the Big West each had four players on this list.

Frankie Bartow Miami So. Atlantic Coast
Robert Broom Mercer So. Southern
Wyatt Burns Samford So. Southern
Mike Cassala Jacksonville So. Atlantic Sun
Michael Catlin Longwood Jr. Big South
Yaya Chentouf Pittsburgh So. Atlantic Coast
Zach Cook Winthrop R-Jr. Big South
Sam Donko VCU Sr. Atlantic 10
Dylan Drachler Utah Sr. Pac-12
Seth Elledge Dallas Baptist Jr. Missouri Valley
Max Engelbrekt Oregon State Sr. Pac-12
Eder Erives Arizona State Sr. Pac-12
Michael Evans James Madison Sr. Colonial
Durbin Feltman TCU So. Big 12
David Gerber Creighton Sr. Big East
Devin Gould Longwood Sr. Big South
Kade Gramier SE Louisiana Jr. Southland
Chase Haney Florida State So. Atlantic Coast
Colton Hock Stanford Jr. Pac-12
Bobby Holmes Coastal Carolina Jr. Sun Belt
Justin Hoyt Jacksonville State Jr. Ohio Valley
Joe Ingle East Carolina Jr. American Athletic
Tyler Johnson South Carolina Jr. Southeastern
Seth Kinker Ohio State Jr. Big Ten
Jack Landwehr Illinois State Sr. Missouri Valley
Carter Love College of Charleston Jr. Colonial Athletic
Chad Luensmann Nebraska So. Big Ten
Erik Martinez California Jr. Pac-12
Evan McMahan Nevada Sr. Mountain West
Greg Minier Washington Sr. Pac-12
Troy Montemayor Baylor Jr. Big 12
Dylan Moore Louisiana Jr. Sun Belt
Samuel Myers Cal State Northridge Sr. Big West
Kyle Nelson UC Santa Barbara Jr. Big West
Hunter Newman LSU Sr. Southeastern
Connor O’Neil Cal State Northridge Sr. Big West
Glenn Otto Rice Jr. Conference USA
Patrick Peterson Dartmouth Jr. Ivy League
Cameron Ragsdale Florida Atlantic Sr. Conference USA
Josh Reagan South Carolina Sr. Southeastern
Rickey Ramirez Fresno State Jr. Mountain West
Ryan Rigby Mississippi State Jr. Southeastern
Chris Rivera Long Beach State So. Big West
Jake Roehn Ohio Jr. Mid-American
Mike Ruppenthal Vanderbilt Jr. Southeastern
Nick Sandlin Southern Miss So. Conference USA
Blake Smith Mississippi State Sr. Southeastern
Jackson Sowell WKU Sr. Conference USA
Erich Stahl Kennesaw State Sr. Atlantic Sun
Tyler Starks Stephen F. Austin So. Southland
Wil Stokes Ole Miss Jr. Southeastern
Stephen Villines Kansas Sr. Big 12
Ryan Walker Washington State Jr. Pac-12
Andrew Wantz UNCG Jr. Southern
Brac Warren Oregon Jr. Pac-12
Brad Wegman USC Jr. Pac-12
Zach Wolf Seattle So. Western Athletic
Brad Womacks Oral Roberts Sr. Summit League
Bryan Young Missouri State Sr. Missouri Valley

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 and Luke Prihoda of Sam Houston State winning it in 2007. Georgia’s Joshua Fields topped the field in 2008, San Diego State’s Addison Reed grabbed the honor in 2009 and Texas’ Chance Ruffin earned the honor in 2010. The Longhorns’ Corey Knebel won in 2011, with Southeastern Louisiana's Stefan Lopez picking up the honor in 2012. UCLA’s David Berg was crowned the winner in 2013, Louisville’s Nick Burdi took home the 2014 honor and Berg became the award's first two-time winner in 2015. Miami (Fla.)’s Bryan Garcia was honored as the 2016 recipient.

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, II and III Players of the Week and Division I, II and III Players of the Year.

2017 NCBWA Stopper of the Year key dates:
Mon., Feb. 13: Preseason Watch List
Wed., April 26: Midseason Watch List
Wed., June 7: Stopper of the Year finalists announced
Sat., June 17: Stopper of the Year winner announced