Three Missouri Valley Conference baseball student-athletes were named to the midseason watch list for the eighth annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball, including Illinois State's Kenny Long, Missouri State's Tyler Burgess and Wichita State's Cale Elam.
Nominations for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award were made by baseball sports information/media relation contacts and more than 90 nominations were received. 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 6, 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 2012 College World Series.
Kenny Long, Illinois State
Senior left-handed closer Kenny Long leads Illinois State with a 1.40 ERA and seven saves through 25.2 innings pitched. The Fox River Grove, Ill., native has registered 24 strikeouts with just five walks. He is limiting opposing batters to a .167 average. Long holds the career-saves record (22) at Illinois State, and he needs just two more saves to tie the single-season mark of nine, which he tied in 2010. Long also ranks third on the career appearance list with 83, which is three behind Eric Theisen (86) and seven behind record holder Jim Sajewich (90).
Tyler Burgess, Missouri State
Missouri State freshman pitcher Tyler Burgess, who leads the Missouri Valley Conference with nine saves on the season, was one of just three Division I freshman selected for the list. The Webb City, Mo., product has already claimed the Missouri State freshman saves record and needs just one more save to climb into a tie with Chris Krawczyk (2006) for third on the Bears’ single-season chart. Burgess brings a 3-0 record and 1.21 ERA over 14 outings into play this weekend, after becoming the first MSU pitcher on record to register either a win or save in his first seven outings as a Bear.
Cale Elam, Wichita State
Elam, a sophomore right-handed pitcher from Oktaha, Okla., is 3-3 with a 1.19 ERA and seven saves. He has made 18 appearances and has 29 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched.
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