Carignan Named To Stopper Of The Year Watch List

Tar Heels closer one of 35 relievers honored.

Andrew Carignan saved 15 games in 2006.

Andrew Carignan saved 15 games in 2006.

Feb. 2, 2007

DALLAS - North Carolina junior closer Andrew Carignan is of 35 players on the preseason watch list for the third annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, the association announced Friday. The award is given to the top relief pitcher in Division I college baseball.

The Norwich, Conn., product led the ACC with 15 saves a year ago and posted a 3.21 ERA in 33.2 innings. He struck out 44 batters and walked just 15. He was a key part to the Tar Heels' run to the championship series of the College World Series and followed that up with an all-star selection in the Cape Cod League last summer.

Of the 35 pitchers who make up the initial 2007 watch list, 24 were among the nation's top 50 in saves at the end of the 2006 season, including eight of the top 12 save totals in the final NCAA rankings.

Notre Dame sophomore Kyle Weiland is the nation's returning leader in saves, recording 16 last season to lead the Fighting Irish into NCAA regional play. Carignan, Link Saunders (The Citadel) and Joshua Fields (Georgia) all return after collecting 15 saves in 2006. A total of 20 pitchers that appear on the 2007 watch list finished last season with at least 10 saves.

The 2007 watch list is comprised of players from 19 conferences, led by six players from the Atlantic Coast and four from the Mid-American. The Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Big West, Conference USA, Missouri Valley, Patriot and Southeastern each have two players represented while nine other conferences have at least one player on the 2007 watch list.

A mid-season release, including the national saves leaders, will be updated during the week of April 16. At the end the regular season, the Division I leader in saves and four other relief pitching standouts will be selected as the award's finalists. These finalists will be released on Wednesday, May 30, just prior to the beginning of NCAA regional play.

From the list of finalists, the NCBWA's All-America Committee will select a winner. The third annual winner will be announced on Wednesday, June 6, two days prior to the beginning of NCAA super regional action. Last year's winner was Don Czyz from Kansas. Texas' J. Brent Cox won the inaugural award in 2005.

The NCBWA, founded in 1962, presents the Dick Howser Trophy to the nation's top player. It also selects a Division I All-America Team, Division I and III Players of the Week, Division I District Players of the Year and Division III Players of the Year.

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