GRAND FORKS, N.D. (oruathletics.com) – Oral Roberts' Brady Womacks was one of sixty players named to the initial Watch List for the 13th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher In NCAA Division I baseball, members of the association announced Monday.
Womacks, a senior right hander from Pevely, Mo., already earned a spot on the NCBWA Preseason All-America Third Team last month. He was named to the NCBWA Midseason Watch List a season ago on his way to a 12-save effort for the Golden Eagles' bullpen. He closed 2016 with a 2-2 record and a 1.22 earned run average in a team-leading 29 appearances.
Virginia Commonwealth's Sam Donko is the only returner among last year's five finalists for an award that was captured in 2016 by Miami's Bryan Garcia. Donko led the nation in saves a season ago with 20, while compiling a 9-2 record to go with a 2.93 ERA and 54 strikeouts for the Rams.
The Pacific-12 Conference had the most representation with nine players finding their names on the watch list. That group is headlined by Oregon State's Max Engelbrekt, who went 3-3 with 11 saves for the Beavers a season ago. His 11 saves top the list of returning relievers in the conference.
More than a third of the players on this list recorded double-digit saves a season ago and 10 were named to the NCBWA Preseason All-American team. Two of those preseason All-Americans posted sub-1.00 ERA's a season ago as Baylor's Troy Montemayor (0.78) and Louisiana's Dylan Moore (0.91) both notched 14 saves for their respective teams.
In total, 23 conferences are represented on this list with the Southeastern Conference following the Pac-12 with seven representatives. Conference USA and the Big West each had four players on this list.
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Celebrating its 35th season of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of over 120,000 at nine institutions, including four located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced eight NCAA Champions along with over 80 Academic All-Americans, 75 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague and watch the weekly "Inside The Summit League" show at www.thesummitleague.org/itsl.