Josh Michalec (Baylor), Brendan McCurry (Oklahoma State) and Riley Ferrell (TCU) have been named to the mid-season watch list for the 10th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball.
Michalec leads the league with 15 saves this season and is six shy of tying the Big 12 single-season record of 20. He is currently tied with Zane Carlson (2000) for the BU single-season saves record. He is 15-for-16 in save chances after converting his first 11 attempts. He entered the week ranked third in the NCAA in saves and has closed out 15 of Baylor’s 19 wins with eight of the saves coming in multi-inning efforts. He is also tied for sixth on the Big 12 single-season saves list with Carlson and Huston Street (Texas, 2003).
In 23 appearances this season, McCurry is 5-0 with a 0.29 ERA and ranks fifth in the NCAA with 11 saves. He has allowed just one run in 30.2 innings and has given up only 20 hits while recording 34 strikeouts. Last week, the right-hander surpassed Jordy Mercer as the Cowboys’ career saves leader. Mercer recorded 17 saves from 2006-08, while McCurry’s career total now stands at 19. Additionally, McCurry’s 11 saves this season are an OSU single-season record, besting the 10 of his older brother, Randy (2009), as well as Marques Davis (1997) and Dennis Livingston (1982).
Ferrell played an integral part of TCU’s road sweep of fourth-ranked Texas last weekend, tallying a save in each game en route to Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors. He has nine this season, which ties for the most since Andrew Cashner (2008) and Eric Marshall (2009) tallied nine. The last Horned Frog to record double-digits in saves was Sam Demel in 2007 when he saved a school-record 13 games. In each of his last six appearances, the sophomore has tallied a save. He’s allowed just four base runners total in those six appearances and has 14 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings pitched.
Nominations for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award were made by baseball sports information/media relations contacts. 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 4, prior to start of NCAA Super Regional tournament competition.
The NCBWA’s All-America Committee will select the winner, with this year’s recipient to be announced during the 2014 College World Series.
Texas hurler J. Brent Cox won the inaugural Stopper of the Year Award in 2005, with Don Czyz of Kansas claiming the honor in 2006. Texas’ Chance Ruffin (2010) and Corey Knebel (2011) are also past recipients from the Big 12 Conference.