April 19, 2007
Malibu, Calif. - Junior right hander Jason Dominguez was one of 40 players named to the midseason watch list for the third annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year Award, the association announced on Thursday. The award is given to the top relief pitcher in Division I college baseball.
Of the 40 pitchers who make up the midseason watch list, nine have already reached double figures in saves, including VMI's Kevin Crum, who leads the country with 14 saves in 18 appearances this season. Sam Houston State's Luke Prihoda and USC's Paul Koss have already collected 12 saves apiece to rank second nationally, while seven other pitchers, including Dominguez, have at least 10 saves.
The 40 pitchers on the mid-season watch list have combined to save over 300 games during the first half of the 2007 season (thru games of April 15) and have converted 89 percent of their save chances as a group. Prihoda, Richmond's Brian Alas and UC Irvine's Blair Erickson are all perfect on the 2007 season in save chances while recording at least 10 saves. Erickson already earned a spot in the NCAA record books earlier this month, breaking the previous mark of 49 career saves set by USC's Jack Krawczyk's in the late 1990s.
The list features players from 20 conferences, including five each from the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big 12. The Pacific-10 and Conference USA also have four closers on the list, while the Atlantic Sun, Big South, Mid-American, Missouri Valley and Sun Belt Conference all had multiple members of the watch list.
"This is a truly outstanding group of pitchers that cover the landscape of college baseball," said NCBWA 1st Vice-President Shamus McKnight, Assistant Media Relations Director at the University of Nebraska. "The recognition for this award over the last two years has grown immensely as we have seen the increased emphasis on having strong relief pitching in the college game."
After beginning the opening weekend in the starting rotation, Dominguez has recorded a 1-2 record, 2.42 ERA and 10 saves in 20 appearances covering 22.1 innings. He has converted 10 of 13 save opportunities (76.9 percent).
Dominguez's 10 saves tie for sixth place on Pepperdine's single-season saves list while his 12 career saves tie for sixth on the program's all-time list.
Nominations were made by each school's baseball sports information contact and over 80 pitchers were nominated from around the country. A preliminary preseason watch list was released in February. 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. J. Brent Cox of Texas won the inaugural award in 2005.
The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the Dick Howser Trophy to the nation's top player. It also selects a Division I All-America Team, Division I and III Players of the Week, Division I District Players of the Year and Division III Players of the Year.