By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As opening weekend creeps closer and closer for the Tennessee Tech baseball team, the Golden Eagle squad is still managing to squeeze out preseason honors for several of its players.
Among those Golden Eagles is closer Seth Lucio, who was named to the 2014 Preseason NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List. The junior, who will anchor the Tech pitching staff for the second straight year, was named to the Midseason Watch List last year.
Lucio made the transition from weekday starter to closer look easy last season, racking up 12 saves to both tie Tech's career-record for saves and shatter the single-season record of seven.
The right hander wrapped up the 2013 season with an impressive 1.83 ERA over a program record 30 appearances. In 44.1 innings, Lucio allowed just nine earned runs. He struck out 61 batters while walking a lowly 18 and held batters to a .211 average on his way to a 3-2 record.
Given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball, 50 players have been named to the initial watch list for the 10th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award.
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 and Luke Prihoda of Sam Houston State winning it in 2007. Georgia's Joshua Fields topped the field in 2008, San Diego State's Addison Reed grabbed the honor in 2009 and Texas' Chance Ruffin earned the honor in 2010. Knebel won in 2011 with Southeastern Louisiana's Stefan Lopez picking up the honor in 2012. Berg of UCLA was crowned the winner in 2013.
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.