IRVINE, Calif. – Oregon junior right-hander Drew Gagnier was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch List, it was announced on Thursday.
Gagnier is one of 40 collegiate baseball players that have been named to the initial watch list for the sixth annual NCBWA Stopper of theYear Award, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball.
The Santa Cruz, Calif., native was named Pac-10 Honorable Mention last season, and was drafted in the 14th round of the 2009 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Oakland Athletics, but chose to return to the University of Oregon for the 2010 season.
The Ducks main closer in 2009, Gagnier appeared in 23 games and finished the year with a 2.70 ERA, a 1-0 record and 30 strikeouts in 30 innings pitched. He finished the year with seven saves, tying for sixth in the Pac-10.
Some of Gagnier’s most memorable performances of last season include tossing the final inning of Oregon’s historic 5-3 victory over Saint Mary’s on Feb. 20, as well as aiding the Ducks to their first home Pac-10 win by holding Stanford hitless in 1 and 1/3 innings during a 2-1 victory on April 3.
Gagnier also held California scoreless during an inning of work to earn his sixth save of the year in Oregon’s 5-3 win against the Bears on April 18, and his seventh save of the season came after pitching the ninth in a 3-2 victory over UCLA at PK Park on May 1. Gagnier also earned saves in wins over Nevada, Washington and Sacramento State.
On the year, Gagnier held opponents to a .217 average with runners on, and limited leadoff batters to a .184 clip.
But his most memorable appearance was arguably on March 28 at PGE Park against rival Oregon State in Portland, Ore. In a 10-inning thriller watched by a Pac-10 record crowd of 15,540, Gagnier earned his first and only win of the year pitching the final two innings of the game, and holding the Beavers scoreless while striking out the side in the top of the 10th to set up Oregon’s game winner in the bottom of the inning as the Ducks prevailed 3-2.
Nominations for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award were made by baseball sports information/media relation contacts. The initial list will be updated with a mid-season release the week of April 19, 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 2, prior to start of NCAA regional tournament competition.
The NCBWA's All-America Committee then will select the winner, with this year's recipient to be announced on the opening day of the College World Series on June 19.
Last year’s Stopper of the Year winner, Addison Reed of San Diego State, headlines the list of preseason
nominees for the 2010 award. Reed recorded a nation-leading 20 saves in 20 opportunities last season, finished the year with a microscopic 0.65 earned run average and 38 strikeouts over his 27.2 innings of work.
Reed is joined by two of the five finalists for last season’s award in LSU’s Matty Ott and two-time finalist Eric Pettis of UC Irvine, both NCBWA first-team preseason All-Americans.
The Big 12 Conference led the way with five players named to the preseason watch list. The ACC, Conference USA and the SEC had four pitchers each on this year's watch list, while the Pacific-10 Conference is represented by three players ( Gagnier, ORE; Mitchell Lambson, ASU; Kevin Rhoderick, OSU).
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, Luke Prihoda of Sam Houston State winning it in 2007, Georgia’s Joshua Fields topping the field in 2008 and San Diego State’s Addison Reed grabbing the honor last season.
The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the Dick Howser Trophy to the nation's top player. It also selects All- America Teams for all Divisions, a Division I Freshman All-American team, Division I and III Players of the Week, Division I District Players of the Year and Division III Players of the Year.
For more information on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year, contact Julie St. Cyr at the Big West Conference at 949-261-2525 or Russ Anderson at Conference USA at 214-774-1300.
2010 NCBWA STOPPER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST
PITCHER, SCHOOL, YR.
Steve Arico Virginia Jr.
Chris Bassit Akron So.
Colin Bates North Carolina Jr.
Chad Bettis Texas Tech Sr.
Mike Bolsinger Arkansas Sr.
Collin Cargill Southern Miss Jr.
Andrew Chafin Kent State So.
Chase Dempsay Houston Jr.
Ryan Duke Oklahoma Jr.
Chris Enourato West Virginia Sr.
Nick Fleece Texas A&M Jr.
Chris Franklin SE Louisiana Sr.
Drew Gagnier Oregon Jr.
Tim Girdwood Elon Jr.
Cole Green Texas Jr.
Austin Hubbard Auburn Sr.
Mitchell Lambson Arizona State So.
Justin Malone Georgia State So.
Eric Marshall TCU Sr.
Cody Martin Gonzaga Jr.
Scott Matyas Minnesota Jr.
Randy McCurry Oklahoma State Jr.
Kevin McKague Army Jr.
Jarad Miller Valparaiso Jr.
Tyler Mizenko Winthrop So.
Kevin Moran Boston College Jr.
Jake Morgan Mississippi Jr.
Kevin Munson James Madison Jr.
Matty Ott LSU So.
Nick Pepitone Tulane Jr.
Eric Pettis UC Irvine Sr.
Mark Pope Georgia Tech So.
Nick Ramirez Cal State Fullerton So.
Addison Reed San Diego State So.
Kevin Rhoderick Oregon State Jr.
Michael Schum Wright State So.
Gabriel Shaw Louisville Jr.
Chad Sheppard Northwestern State So.
Seth Simmons East Carolina Jr.
Zach Varce Portland So.