Feb. 2, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - After a record-setting season as the Gauchos' closer in 2006, senior Justin Segal has been named to the preseason watch list for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's Stopper of the Year Award. The Calabasas, Calif. native is one of 35 closers vying for the award, which is given to the top relief pitcher in Division I college baseball.
Of the 35 pitchers who make up the initial 2007 watch list, 24 were among the nation's Top 50 in saves at the end of the 2006 season, including eight of the Top 12 save totals in the final NCAA rankings.
The 2007 watch list is comprised of players from 19 conferences, led by six players from the Atlantic Coast and four from the Mid-American. The Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Big West, Conference USA, Missouri Valley, Patriot and Southeastern each have two players represented while nine other conferences have at least one player on the 2007 watch list. The second representative from the Big West is UC Irvine hurler Blair Erickson.
Nominations were made by each school's baseball sports information contact. A mid-season release, including the national saves leaders, will be updated during the week of April 16. At the end the regular season, the Division I leader in saves and four other relief pitching standouts will be selected as the award's finalists. These finalists will be released on Wednesday, May 30, just prior to the beginning of NCAA regional play.
From the list of finalists, the NCBWA's All-America Committee will select a winner. The third annual winner will be announced on Wednesday, June 6, two days prior to the beginning of NCAA super regional action. Last year's winner was Don Czyz from Kansas. Texas' J. Brent Cox won the inaugural award in 2005.
The 2007 Gauchos will begin their new season on Friday, Feb. 9 on the road against San Jose State at 2 pm.