FAYETTEVILLE (ArkansasRazorbacks.com) – Arkansas baseball junior left-hander Michael Gunn was one of 50 pitchers named to the initial watch list for the 10th annual NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award announced on Wednesday afternoon.
Gunn has been electric for the Razorbacks on the back end of the bullpen, recording a 0.40 earned run average in 17 appearances and 22.1 innings of work. He is a perfect 6-for-6 in save opportunities and allowed just 10 hits on the year.
The Wilson, Ark., native has recorded 22 strikeouts and anchors a pitching staff that has a 2.29 earned run average, a mark that would come in as the second-lowest in program history.
The award, which is given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball, is nominated by baseball sports information/media relations contacts across the country. 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.
Gunn and the Razorbacks cap a nine-game homestand this weekend, welcoming Auburn to town for a three-game SEC series at Baum Stadium.