SANTA BARBARA, Cailf. – Sophomore closer Dillon Tate has been named to the Mid-Season Stopper of the Year Watchlist, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association announced this week.
The Stopper of the Year Award, currently in its 10th year, is awarded annually to college baseball's top relief pitcher.
Tate enters this weekend with an ERA of just 0.83 in 21.2 innings pitched. The oft-used flamethrower has shown himself to be one of the most dependable late-inning arms around, ranking second in the Big West with nine saves and ranking fifth on the UCSB pitching staff in innings pitched despite making zero starts. He has appeared in eight of the Gauchos' last 10 conference games.
"Dillon has been great for us this year," said UCSB's third-year head coach Andrew Checketts. "He has poise and confidence beyond his years and the stuff to go with it, and I think you're seeing the fruits of that this season whenever he takes the mound."
With an arsenal that includes a mid-upper 90's fastball, Tate is averaging over 11 strikeouts and under seven hits per nine innings pitched. He has gone without allowing an earned run in 16 of his 17 appearances this season, and has made a save requiring four or more outs on five occasions.
The fifty-man watchlist will be pared down to five names – the national saves leader and four other relievers – on Jun. 4 before the winner is announced during the College World Series, scheduled to take place starting on Jun. 14.
Other notable watchlist members include UC Irvine's Sam Moore, who leads the nation with 16 saves, and reigning Stopper of the Year David Berg from UCLA.
Tate and the nineteenth-ranked UCSB baseball team play host to UC Riverside this weekend in the team's second-to-last home series of the season. First pitch on Friday is set for 3:00 p.m.