NORMAN, Okla. -- Senior pitcher Will Savage was named to the watch list for the 2006 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year award presented to the nation’s top closer. The list is comprised of 30 closers in Division I baseball, 21 of those players ranked in the top 50 in the nation among saves and nine others were at-large nominations.
Savage became OU’s go-to guy in the bullpen in 2005. Including the postseason, Savage appeared in 18 of OU’s last 19 games. After he headed to the bullpen on April 16, Savage made 22 appearances, spanning 46 innings, to close out his year. In those innings of work, he posted a 2.35 ERA, recorded a 6-1 mark, made six saves, allowed 12 earned runs on 54 hits and seven walks while striking out 19 batters.
“Will’s inclusion on this list reinforces what this coaching staff already knew when he was being recruited by Oklahoma,” said head coach Sunny Golloway. “He performed on a very-high level at the end of last season as the anchor of our bullpen and we expect that trend will continue in 2006.”
Savage was one of four Big 12 hurlers on the list, second most in the nation behind five players from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Nebraska’s Brent Jensen, Kansas’ Don Czyz, Baylor’s Ryan LaMotta and Savage headlined the list for the conference.
Jensen returns to the Huskers after posting 16 saves and helping his squad to Omaha he had the most saves last season of any pitcher on the watch list. Tyler Chambliss of Florida State returns with 15 from ’05, while Casey Lambert (Virginia), Kevin Gunderson (Oregon State) and Paul Koss (USC) each tallied 14. A total of 14 pitchers that appear on the 2006 watch list finished last season with 10 or more saves.
The 2006 watch list represents 13 conferences, after the ACC’s five nominees and the Big 12’s four, Conference USA, Missouri Valley, Pac-10, and Southeastern each had three players represented, while the Atlantic 10 and Big West both have two players representing their leagues. The Atlantic Sun, Big Ten, Big East, Northeast, and Patriot each have one player.
“We were very pleased with the publicity and excitement this award generated in its first year of existence,” said NCBWA President Todd Lamb, Assistant Athletics Communications Director at The Ohio State University. “Relief pitching is an area that is often overlooked and under-appreciated in the college game, so we are looking to build upon last year’s success, and continue to generate some recognition for the nation’s outstanding relief pitchers.”
Nominations were made by each school’s baseball sports information contact. A mid-season release, including the national saves leaders, will be updated during the week of April 17. At the end the regular season, the Division I leader in saves and four other relief pitching standouts will be selected as the award’s finalists. These finalists will be released on Wednesday, May 31, just prior to the beginning of NCAA regional play.
From the list of finalists, the NCBWA’s All-America Committee will select a winner. The second annual winner will be announced on Wednesday, June 7, two days prior to the beginning of NCAA super regional action.The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the Dick Howser Trophy to the nation’s top player. It also selects a Division I All-America Team, Division I and III Players of the Week, Division I District Players of the Year and Division III Players of the Year.
The 2006 version of OU baseball will open the season on Friday, Feb. 3 in Edinburg, Texas against Texas State. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. and will be broadcast live on the internet via Yahoo.
|2006 NCBWA STOPPER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST|
|Daniel Best||Southern Miss||Sr.||Ruston, La.|
|Gerard Breslin||La Salle||Jr.||Havertown, Pa.|
|Tyler Chambliss||Florida State||Jr.||Live Oak, Fla.|
|Bryce Cox||Rice||Sr.||Carrollton, Texas|
|Don Czyz||Kansas||Sr.||Overland Park, Kan.|
|Milan Dinga||Army||Jr.||Tampa, Fla.|
|Blair Erickson||UC Irvine||Jr.||Fair Oaks, Calif.|
|Kevin Gunderson (L)||Oregon State||Jr.||Portland, Ore.|
|Brian Halford||Louisville||Sr.||Louisville, Ky.|
|Jonathan Hovis||North Carolina||Sr.||Gastonia, N.C.|
|Brett Jensen||Nebraska||Sr.||Eagle Grove, Iowa|
|Paul Koss||USC||Jr.||Orange, Calif.|
|Casey Lambert (L)||Virginia||Jr.||Harrisonburg, Va.|
|Ryan LaMotta||Baylor||Sr.||Sugarland, Texas|
|Daniel Latham||Tulane||Jr.||Covington, La.|
|Mike McBryde||Florida Atlantic||Jr.||N. Palm Beach, Fla.|
|Mark Melancon||Arizona||Jr.||Golden, Colo.|
|Rory Meister||Ohio State||So.||Mansfield, Ohio|
|Mark Murray||Evansville||Jr.||Evansville, Ind.|
|Darren O'Day||Florida||Sr.||Jacksonville, Fla.|
|Vinnie Pestano||Cal State Fullerton||Jr.||Anaheim Hills, Calif.|
|Chris Perez||Miami (Fla.)||Jr.||Holmes Beach, Fla.|
|Scott Reese||Creighton||Jr.||Portland, Ore.|
|Steve Richard||Clemson||Jr.||Billerica, Mass.|
|David Robertson||Alabama||So.||Tuscaloosa, Ala.|
|Will Savage||Oklahoma||Sr.||West Hills, Calif.|
|Kevin Schneider||Monmouth||Sr.||Lawrenceville, N.J.|
|Damon Sublett||Wichita State||So.||Wichita, Kan.|
|Eric Walker||UNC Charlotte||Sr.||Clemmons, N.C.|
|Sean Watson||Tennessee||Jr.||Miami, Fla.|
|(L) indicates left-handed pitcher|