April 20, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee junior Nick Blount has been named to the 2012 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Watch list as one of the nation's top closers, the organization announced on Thursday.
Despite spending the first five weeks of the season in the starting rotation, Blount has quickly established himself as one of the top closers in the nation, going 10-for-10 in save opportunities so far.
In 15 appearances out of the bullpen, Blount has a 1.00 ERA over 18.0 innings of work, striking out 15 and walking just three in that stretch. The Loganville, Ga., native has earned a save in each of Tennessee's last 10 wins, including a run of seven in seven consecutive games from March 27-April 6, including two in one day to close out UT's sweep of Alabama.
Blount is currently tied with Florida's Austin Maddox for the most saves in the SEC and is one of eight league pitchers on the 45-man NCBWA watch list. He is now just one of three pitchers in Tennessee history to have double-digit saves in a single season, joining Sean Watson (2006) and Todd Helton (1994, 1995). With 11 career saves, he is tied with Jeff Lockwood (2007-09) for third all-time at Rocky Top.
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 on Wednesday, June 6, prior to the start of NCAA Super Regional 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.
It is the eighth season the NCBWA has presented the award to the nation's top closer. The organization, which was founded in 1962, also presents the Dick Howser Trophy to the nation's top player and selects All-America teams for all Divisions.
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