April 24, 2019
For Immediate Release
Contact: Malcolm Gray
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Big Ten, MW and Pac-12 each boast three bullpen aces
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GREEENVILLE, N.C. (NCBWA) – As the calendar gets ready to turn to May for the 2019 collegiate baseball season, 45 of the sports top relief pitchers have been named to the Midseason Update for the 15th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, members of the association announced Wednesday.

Five of the 45 players were on the preseason watch list released in February, including Stanford's Jake Little, who is the only returner among last year's five finalists for an award given annually to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball. After registering 16 saves as a freshman in 2018, Little has eight on the year in 15 appearances.

Among the newcomers to the watch list are the nation's top three saves leaders. UT Arlington's Andrew Gross has a NCAA-best 16 saves as senior, while Illinois' Garrett Action (13) and Harvard's Kieran Shaw (12) round out the Top 3. Twelve players on the list have already registered double-digit saves, according to the latest NCAA stats.

There are 23 conferences represented on the list with the Southeastern Conference leading the way with seven relief pitchers. The Big Ten, Mountain West Conference and Pac-12 each have three on the list, while 30 of the 45 on the watch list are upperclassmen.

Garrett Action Illinois Jr. Big Ten
Jaime Arias Fresno State So. Mountain West
Evan Brabrand Liberty Sr. A-Sun
Trey Braithwaite Navy So. Patriot
Tyler Brown Vanderbilt So. SEC
Parker Caracci Ole Miss R-Jr. SEC
Jackson Cofer UNLV Sr. Mountain West
Matt Cronin Arkansas Jr. SEC
Fineas Del Bonta-Smith San Jose State Sr. Mountain West
J.C. Flowers Florida State Jr. ACC
Jacob Gilmore Illinois State So. Missouri Valley
Cole Gordon Mississippi State Sr. SEC
Nick Grabek Fairfield So. MAAC
Zack Greene South Alabama Sr. Sun Belt
Cody Greenhill Auburn So. SEC
Andrew Gross UT Arlington Sr. Sun Belt
Connor Hinchiffe La Salle Sr. Atlantic 10
Alek Jacob Gonzaga So. West Coast
Stephen Jones Samford Sr. Southern
Kasey Kalich Texas A&M So. SEC
Connor Knutson Portland Jr. West Coast
Jack Little Stanford So. Pac-12
Grant Leonard Iowa Jr. Big Ten
Brandon Lewis Abilene Christian Sr. Southland
Chris Lincoln UC Santa Barbara Jr. Big West
Reeves Martin New Orleans Jr. Southland
Jeremiah McCollum Florida A&M So. MEAC
Hunter McGarry FGCU Jr. A-Sun
Jack Mulholland Oregon State Jr. Pac-12
Nathan Ocker Charleston Sr. Colonial
Holden Powell UCLA So. Pac-12
Taylor Rashi UC Irvine Sr. Big West
Jason Ruffcorn Oklahoma Jr. Big 12
Kieran Shaw Harvard Jr. Ivy League
Zach Schneider FAU Sr. Conference USA
Aaron Schunk Georgia Jr. SEC
Braxton Smith Louisiana Tech Sr. Conference USA
Carson Spiers Clemson Jr. ACC
Chad Sykes UNC Greensboro Sr. Southern
Jonah Ulane Kansas So. Big 12
Fred Villarreal Houston Jr. American
Jacob Wallace UConn Jr. American
Willie Weiss Michigan Fr. Big Ten
Connor Whalen Southern Sr. SWAC
Chris Wright Bryant Jr. Northeast

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 in 2015. Miami (Fla.)’s Bryan Garcia was honored as the 2016 recipient followed by Louisville’s Lincoln Henzman in 2017 and Florida’s Michael Byrne last year.

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.

2019 NCBWA Stopper of the Year key dates:
Mon., Feb. 11: Preseason Watch List
Wed., April 24: Midseason Watch List
Thu., June 6: Stopper of the Year finalists announced
Sat., June 15: Stopper of the Year winner announced