GAINESVILLE, Fla. (NCBWA) – Two juniors, a sophomore
and a pair of freshmen are among the five finalists for the 13th
annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association
Stopper of the Year Award, members of the association announced
Juniors Lincoln Henzman of Louisville and
Colton Hock of Stanford each have 16 saves and
led their respective teams to top 8 National seeds in the NCAA 2017
Tournament. Henzman's 1.30 ERA is tops among the finalists and he
led the ACC in saves. He also owns a 3-0 record in 24 appearances
for the seventh-seeded Cardinals, who advanced to the Super Regionals
this past weekend.
Hock is the only one among the quintet of finalists that appeared
on the award's preseason watch list. He wrapped up his season with
a 6-1 record and 2.08 ERA, while leading the Pac-12 in saves.
Florida's Michael Byrne crashed the list of
finalists after not appearing on the preseason or mid-year watch
lists. His late-season efforts propelled the Gators to a top 8 National
Seed. The sophomore went 1-0 with eight saves and allowed only one
earned run in 17 1/3 innings after the mid-year watch list was announced.
He enters Super Regional play with an SEC-leading 16 saves and owns
a 1.69 ERA.
Two freshmen round out the finalists after excelling during their
first collegiate seasons. North Carolina's Josh Hiatt
and Oregon's Kenyon Yovan both posted double-digit
saves and sub-2.00 ERA's. Hiatt was a workhorse for the Tar Heels,
who garnered the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. He threw
52 innings out of the bullpen, while punching out 64 batters. Hiatt
finished his rookie season with a 4-2 record and 13 saves.
Yovan was also stellar as a rookie, posting a 1.97 ERA, while
saving half of the Ducks' 30 wins this season. He went 1-1 with
36 strikeouts in 32 innings of relief work.
The NCBWA's All-America Committee will select the winner, with
this year's recipient to be announced Saturday morning, June 17,
at a news conference at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha at 10 a.m. CT.
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
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