LINCOLN, Neb. (NCBWA) Five finalists have been named
for the third annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association
Stopper of the Year Award, the association announced on Thursday.
The finalists for the award that will recognize the top relief
pitcher in college baseball include NCAA saves leader Luke Prihoda
from Sam Houston State, Andrew Carignan of North Carolina,
Matt German from Northern Illinois, Andy Masten from
Creighton and Casey Weathers from Vanderbilt. All but German
helped their teams reach the NCAA Championship, which begins Friday
at 16 regional sites across the nation.
Prihoda leads the nation with 17 saves entering the NCAA Tournament
and was an automatic finalist. The right-hander from Weimar, Texas,
led Sam Houston State (38-22) to its first NCAA Tournament appearance
since 1996. The Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year and Southland
Tournament Most Valuable Player, Prihoda also has six wins and a
1.21 ERA over 67.0 innings, allowing just four of 33 inherited runners
to score all season.
Carignan a right-handed junior from Norwich, Conn. will be
in action on Friday, as the Tar Heels (48-12) take on Jacksonville
(34-26) in the Chapel Hill Regional. A first-team All-Atlantic Coast
Conference selection, Carignan is 1-1 with 13 saves and a 1.20 ERA
over 45 innings of work this spring, helping the Tar Heels to a
No. 3 National Seed. Carignan allowed just three of 26 inherited
runners to score.
German earned first-team All-Mid-American Conference honors for
Northern Illinois, going 5-2 with 13 saves and a 1.76 ERA. The right-hander
from Aurora, Ill., led the Mid-American Conference with 34 appearances
and struck out 56 over 46 innings of work NIUs all-time saves leader
with 26, German has already begun his professional career, signing
with the Philadelphia Phillies last week.
Mastan, a native of Omaha, has played a major role in helping
Creighton to a 44-14 record entering Fridays Fayetteville Regional
opener against Oklahoma State (38-19). He ranks second nationally
with 16 saves, including 10 saves in one-run games, as the Bluejays
won the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in 2007. The right-hander
has a 4-3 record and a 1.74 ERA, fanning 45 over 46.2 innings of
work, en route to first-team All-MVC honors.
Weathers has been the lynchpin of a Vanderbilt bullpen that has
helped the Commodores to a national-best 51 wins, a sweep of SEC
regular-season and tournament crowns and the No. 1 National Seed
in the NCAA Tournament. The Elk Grove, Calif., native not only has
seven saves, but also sports an impressive 11-2 record and a 2.64
ERA in 28 appearances. The first-team All-Southeastern Conference
selection has allowed 23 hits over 44.1 innings and a 67-to-18 strikeout-to-walk
ratio. Vanderbilt will take on Austin Peay (39-20) in the opening
round of the Nashville Regional.
More than 40 players from around the country were considered
for the award. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, June 6,
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.
For more information on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year, contact
Shamus McKnight at Nebraska at 402-472-7772 or Russ Anderson at
Conference USA at 214-774-1351.
2007 NCBWA Stopper of the Year key dates:
Fri., Feb. 2: Watch List announced
Thurs., April 19: Midseason Watch List announced
Wed., May 30: Stopper of the Year finalists announced
Wed., June 6: Stopper of the Year announced