Feb. 8, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina senior closer Preston Hatcher was today listed on the initial watch list for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year Award, given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball. It is the second-straight year Hatcher has made the list.
Hatcher was one of 75 pitchers nationwide named to the first watch list and just one of three from the Southern Conference. Joining Hatcher on the list was junior Eric Eck of Wofford and Elon senior, Nate Young. All told, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Pacific-12 Conference led the way with seven players each on this year's watch list, while the Big South had six pitchers listed.
A first team, All-Southern Conference selection following the 2012 season - and a preseason first teamer entering 2013 - Hatcher has nine career victories on the mound, six coming a year ago. The Atlanta, Ga., product tied for the second-best, single-season in school history a year ago with 10 saves among his team-leading 29 relief appearances. He posted a career-low 1.73 ERA in 2012 by only surrendering 18 runs total, 10 of which were earned.
Tabbed one of four team captains entering the 2013 season, Hatcher was a third team Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America selection as announced back in December of 2012.
Nominations for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award were made by baseball sports information/media relations contacts. The initial list will be updated with a mid-season release the week of April 16, including the national saves leaders. 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 5, prior to start of NCAA Super Regional tournament competition.
From the list of finalists, the NCBWA's All-America Committee will select a winner. The ninth annual winner will be announced in Omaha on Saturday, June 15, the opening day of the College World Series.
Western Carolina opens the 2013 season by hosting four-straight home games against a pair of teams from the PAC-12 and Atlantic Coast Conference. The Catamounts welcome the Washington State Cougars to Cullowhee for the first of a three-game series on Friday, Feb. 15, with subsequent games following on Saturday and Sunday. The following Tuesday (Feb. 19), Wake Forest out of the ACC comes to town for the front-end of a seasonal home-and-home.