GREEENVILLE, N.C. (NCBWA) – Arkansas'
Kevin Kopps was named the 2021 Stopper
of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association
(NCBWA), the organization announced Thursday, becoming the first
Razorback to capture the award since the award's inception in 2005.
A consensus All-America First-Team selection, the Dick Howser
Trophy winner, Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year and Collegiate
Baseball magazine National Player of the Year, Kopps had a part
in 23 of Arkansas 50 wins in 2021, posting a 12-1 record with 11
saves. The right-hander surrendered nine runs (all earned) on 50
hits, posting an 0.90 ERA, which leads the country, heading into
the College World Series. He struck out 131 batters, while walking
just 18 in 89 2/3 innings and held opposing hitters to a .162 composite
batting average and paced the Razorbacks to a No. 1 national ranking
throughout the regular season and the No. 1 overall seed in the
NCAA Baseball Championship.
Kopps currently ranks among the national leaders (Top 20) in
nine statistical categories including ERA (first), WHIP (first/0.76),
wins (third), appearances (fifth/33), strikeouts (seventh), hits
per 9 innings (ninth/5.02), saves (10th), K to BB ratio (11th/7.28)
and Ks per 9 innings (16th/13.15).
The remaining finalists for the Stopper of the Year Award included:
Blake Bales (Virginia), Taylor Broadway (Ole Miss), Haylen Green
(TCU), Zach Grech (Stanford), Nick Jones (Georgia Southern), Jake
Mulholland (Oregon State), Carson Palmquist (Miami, Fla.), Landon
Sims (Mississippi State) and Vince Vannelle (Arizona).
Kopps joins a standout list of previous NCBWA Stoppers of the
Year: Texas' J. Brent Cox, 2005; Kansas' Don Czyz, 2006; Luke Prihoda
of Sam Houston State, 2007; Georgia's Joshua Fields, 2008; San Diego
State's Addison Reed, 2009; Texas' Chance Ruffi, 2010; Texas' Corey
Knebel, 2011; Southeastern Louisiana's Stefan Lopez, 2012; UCLA's
David Berg, 2013 and 2015; Louisville's Nick Burdi, 2014; Miami
(Fla.)'s Bryan Garcia, 2016; Louisville's Lincoln Henzman, 2017;
Florida's Michael Byrne, 2018; and UCLA's Holden Powell in 2019.
There was no winner in 2020 due to the COVID-19-shortened season.
The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the Dick Howser Trophy presented
by The Game Headwear to the nation's top player and the Mike Martin
National Coach of the Year to the nation's top coach. 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.
2021 NCBWA Stopper of the Year key dates:
• Fri., Feb. 19: Preseason Watch List
• Wed., April 28: Midseason Watch List
• Wed., June 9: Stopper of the Year finalists announced
• Fri., June 18: Stopper of the Year winner announced