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Former St. James pitcher lands on mid-season watch list

Former St. James Academy standout Matt Eckelman has been named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award. The award is given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball.

Eckelman joins 49 other players. This season, he owns a 5-2 record in 15 appearances and a 1.33 ERA. His seven saves leads the Billikens.

He was a two-time All-State selection for the Thunder. Eckelman played for the Kansas City Sporting Blues of the Ban Johnson league in the summer, posting a record of 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA over 19 innings. He struck out 16 while limiting opponents to five walks.

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. David Berg of UCLA was crowned the winner in 2013.

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