WICHITA, Kan. (NCBWA) – Five of college baseball's top
relief specialists have been selected as finalists for the eighth
annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association
Stopper of the Year Award, the NCBWA announced Tuesday.
This year's finalists include NCAA saves leader Stefan
Lopez of Southeastern Louisiana, along with Robert
Benincasa of Florida State, Michael Morin
of North Carolina, Robbie Powell of Stetson and
Jimmie Sherfy of Oregon.
Lopez, with an NCAA-leading 20 saves, has earned second team
All-America and first team all-Southland honors this season. He
finished 2-1 with a 0.61 earned run average. In 29.1 innings pitched,
Lopez recorded 42 strikeouts and allowed just five walks and 19
hits for a .179 opponent batting average.
Benincasa has 15 saves with a 4-1 record and earned third team
All-America and first team All-ACC honors this season, while helping
Florida State advance to the Super Regionals. In 35 innings pitched,
Benincasa has allowed just five earned runs and five walks with
48 strikeouts. He has allowed just 21 hits on the season for an
opponent batting average of .167 and has a 1.29 ERA.
Morin earned first team All-America and first team All-ACC honors
this season while posting a 6-4 record with 19 saves. He has a 1.40
earned run average and 55 strikeouts over his 58 innings of work.
He has allowed just nine earned runs, while holding opponents to
a .191 batting average.
Powell owns a 1-1 record and 18 saves and earned third team All-America
and first team All-Atlantic Sun honors. He finished this season
with a 2.05 earned run average and an opponent batting average of
.222. He made 30 appearances and allowed just 10 earned runs on
Sherfy has helped Oregon advance to Super Regionals this season
and earned third team All-America honors. In 58.1 innings of work,
he is 5-2 and owns a 2.16 ERA with 18 saves and 87 strikeouts. Opponents
are hitting .176 off of the first team All-Pac 12 selection this
season and he is averaging 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
More than 90 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 Friday, June 15 at the beginning
of the 2012 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, San Diego State’s Addison
Reed taking it in 2009, Texas’ Chance Ruffin grabbing the honor
in 2010 and Texas’ Corey Knebel winning it 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
Tami Cutler at Wichita State at 316-978-5559 or Russ Anderson at
Conference USA at 214-774-1300.
2012 NCBWA Stopper of the Year key dates:
• Tues., Jan. 31: Preseason Watch List
• Thurs., April 19: Midseason Watch List
• Tues., June 5: Stopper of the Year finalists announced
• Fri., June 15: NCBWA Stopper of the Year announced (Omaha, Neb.)