IRVINE, Calif. (NCBWA) – Five of college baseball's top
relief specialists have been selected as finalists for the sixth
annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper
of the Year Award, the NCBWA announced Wednesday.
This year's finalists include NCAA saves leaders Kevin Arico
of Virginia and Neil Holland of Louisville, along with
Chris Dennis of Portland, Chance Ruffin of Texas and
Jordan Swagerty of Arizona State.
Arico, with an NCAA-tying 16 saves, set a single-season school
record for the Cavaliers and earned ACC First Team All-Conference
honors. He is 1-1 this season with a 2.93 earned run average. In
27.2 innings pitched, Arico has recorded 38 strikeouts and seven
Holland, also owning an NCAA-tying 16 saves, helped the Cardinals
clinch their second straight Big East regular season title and capture
their first-ever national seed in the NCAA Tournament. In 51.1 innings
pitched, the right-hander from Owensboro, Ky., holds an impressive
8-0 record and has allowed 12 earned runs while striking out 52
and carrying a 2.10 ERA.
Dennis, registering a 5-1 record, finished the season with a
1.88 earned run average and 51 strikeouts over his 43.0 innings
of work. The Bothell, Wash. native allowed just nine earned runs
and 11 walks.
Ruffin, a Golden Spikes semifinalist, leads the nation with a
minuscule 0.77 ERA. He owns a 6-1 record and 13 saves and has fanned
89 batters in just 58.1 innings. He earned his third consecutive
All-Big 12 honor this season after being named to the first team.
Swagerty, pacing the Pac-10 with 14 saves, assisted in Arizona
State grabbing the conference title and the overall No. 1 national
seed in the NCAA Tournament. In 29.2 innings of work, the Sachse,
Texas, native owns a 2.12 ERA with 10 walks and 39 strikeouts.
More than 50 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 on Saturday, June 19, the
opening day of the 2010 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 and San Diego State's Addison
Reed grabbing the honor 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
Julie St. Cyr at the Big West Conference at 949-261-2525 or Russ
Anderson at Conference USA at 214-774-1300.
2010 NCBWA Stopper of the Year key dates:
• Thurs., Jan. 28: Preseason Watch List
• Thurs., April 15: Midseason Watch List
• Wed., June 2: Stopper of the Year finalists announced
• Sat., June 19: NCBWA Stopper of the Year announced