From The Big 12 Conference:
Trio of Big 12 Pitchers Named to Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch List
Max Garner (Baylor), Nate Williams (Kansas State) and Corey Knebel (Texas) are among 75 players named to the initial watch list for the ninth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball.
Knebel, the 2011 winner, headlines the list. His 1.67 career ERA entering the season currently ranks third on the Big 12 career charts. The junior's 28 saves is tied for seventh, which is 13 away from the No. 1 spot held by former UT closer Huston Street. The Longhorn posted a 4-5 record, a 2.08 ERA and nine saves in 74 innings last season. A two-time All-Big 12 First Team selection, Knebel was also the Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA Freshman Pitcher of the Year in 2011.
Garner led the Big 12 in saves last season with 10. The senior also went 3-3 with a 4.89 ERA in 22 appearances. Williams, one of K-State's most-used relievers in 2012, earned a spot on the Big 12 All-Freshman Team last season with a 1-3 mark and a 4.50 ERA in 23 relief outings. His six saves were fifth most in the league.
The Big 12 has won the Stopper of the Year Award on four occasions - Knebel, Chance Ruffin (Texas, 2010), Don Czyz (Kansas, 2006) and J. Brent Cox (Texas, 2005).
Nominations for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award were made by baseball sports information/media relations contacts. The initial list will be updated with a mid-season release the week of April 16, including the national saves leaders. At the conclusion of the regular season, the Division I national saves leader and four other relief pitching standouts will be selected as finalists and released Wednesday, June 5, prior to start of NCAA Super Regional tournament competition.
From the list of finalists, the NCBWA's All-America Committee will select a winner. The ninth annual winner will be announced in Omaha on Saturday, June 15, the opening day of the College World Series.
The Big 12 baseball season begins on Friday, Feb. 15, with conference play kicking off the weekend of March 15.
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