GRAND FORKS, N.D. (Press Release) - Heading into his season season as a member of the Stephen F. Austin baseball team, sophomore left-handed pitcher Tyler Starks’ strong relief showings from a season ago have resulted in the Mesquite, Texas, product being named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) 2017 Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List it was announced via a press release issued by the organization late Monday.
In its 13th year of existence, the NCBWA Stopper of the Year award has been doled out on an annual basis since 2005 to college baseball’s top relief arm.
One of just two Southland Conference players on the 60-man watch list, Starks parlayed his late-inning prowess during the ‘Jacks’ 2016 campaign into a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American citation by the time all was said and done during his inaugural collegiate campaign.
Making a total of 24 appearances for the ‘Jacks on the hill a season ago, Starks fired 42 innings and finished the season with an ERA of 3.64 - the second-lowest among SFA’s pitching ranks. Through his 24 outings, Starks sat down 45 batters via the strikeout while issuing just 15 walks and concluded the 2016 season ranked sixth among all Southland Conference pitchers with seven saves.
He constructed a record of 3-3 on the hill and started three games for the ‘Jacks as a freshman.
Starks is SFA’s first-ever player to be named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List and is seeking to become the third-ever Southland Conference player to lay claim to the award. Southeastern Louisiana’s Stefan Lopez won the award in 2012 while Sam Houston State’s Luke Prihoda laid claim to it in 2007.
Starks, along with his Lumberjack teammates, will open the 2017 campaign on Friday night at 6:30 when SFA hosts 2017 Ohio Valley Conference favorite Southeast Missouri State at Jaycees Field.