The four finalists for the Xanthus Dick Howser Trophy, which will be presented live on CSTV Friday, June 17, at 10 a.m. (CDT) from Omaha, lead a prolific first team as several standouts in the NCAA World Series at Omaha from June 18-27/28 are on one of the trio of honor units.
Pitchers Lance Broadway (15-1, 1.62 ERA, Conference USA Pitcher of the Year) of TCU and Cesar Carrillo (13-3, 127 strikeouts) of Miami (Fla.) are two of the four Xanthus Howser Trophy finalists on the first unit along with Nebraska 3B Alex Gordon (.380-19 HR-64 RBI) and Florida State OF Shane Robinson (.427 average, nation-leading 122 hits).
Tennessee ace Luke Hochevar (15-2, 2.09 ERA) enters the NCAA World Series tied with TCU's Broadway for most strikeouts in Division I baseball with 151 on the first team while Southern California's Ian Kennedy brings a 11-2 overall record and 2.44 ERA into his first appearance in the CWS. Kennedy averages 12.6 strikeouts for every nine innings he has tossed with 134 whiffs in 103 IP pre-Omaha.
The top relief pitchers are just as impressive with NCAA saves' leader Steve Kleen (17, also a .350-hitting 1B-DH with eight homers and 58 RBI) of Pepperdine joining NCBWA Stopper of the Year awardee J. Brent Cox of Texas and Erik Morrison of Ball State with a total of 46 saves among that trio. The multi-talented crew salvaged critical wins through NCAA or conference tournament play.
Hitting for both average and power in most cases, the first team also boasts the nation's top batters, some outstanding base stealers and sound defensive student-athletes.
In addition to Gordon at third base, Georgia Tech SS Tyler Greene, Alcorn State 2B Corey Wimberley (42 stolen bases in 44 games) and World Series-bound 1B Matt LaPorta (24 HR) of Florida highlight the all-star infield, with Southern Miss C Brad Willcutt (16 homers, 82 RBI) behind the plate. Utility athlete Mike Costanzo of Coastal Carolina blasted 16 home runs with 67 RBI while going 8-1 with 14 saves as a pitcher.
The NCBWA All-America outfield features two of the Southeastern Conference's top hitters in LSU's Ryan Patterson (.369-20 HR-56 RBI) and Ole Miss' Brian Pettway (.387-21 HR-66 RBI) as well as Pacific-10 Conference All-America Jacoby Ellsbury (a .410-plus batsman
throughout the 2005 season).
The second unit has five starting pitchers with a combined 57 wins, three relief standouts with 36 total saves, two relievers with earned run averages under 0.50 (Long Beach State's Neil Jamison at 0.00 in 29 2/3 innings and Southern Miss' Daniel Best at 0.46), and
pitchers-utility athletes with a combined 19-4 mound mark.
National home run (gross total with Clemson's Kris Harvey at 25 each) co-leader Adam Tucker of Birmingham-Southern at first base and outfielders Nolan Reimold (20 homers) of Bowling Green and Daniel Carte (19 HR, 74 RBI) of Winthrop lead a star-studded second team.
Sluggers Harvey (25 homers) pf Clemson, 1B Adam Carr (22 HR) of Oklahoma State and 3B Brandon Taylor (20 HR) of Brigham Young headline the representative third team. Relief ace Scott Reese (12-0) of Creighton and Big 12 Freshman Pitcher of the Year Johnny Dorn (12-1) of Nebraska are third team hurlers with some of the nation's top credentials.
Founded in 1962, the NCBWA is dedicated to the advancement of college baseball. Membership is open to writers, broadcasters and publicists of the sport. Members receive a membership card, directory, newsletter updates and official votes in the Howser Award Player of the Year, Regional Player of the Year and NCBWA All-America voting. The NCBWA also sponsors preseason All-American awards, publication and writing contests.