Photo by Danny Parker

Gators' Michael Byrne Named Finalist for Stopper of the Year Award

Sophomore Michael Byrne was named one of five finalists for the 13th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award, the NCBWA announced on Wednesday.


Byrne forced his way onto the list of finalists after not appearing on the preseason or mid-year watch lists. It marks the second year in a row the Florida closer has been selected as a finalist after Shaun Anderson was honored in 2016.


A native of Orlando, Byrne went 1-0 with eight saves and allowed only one earned run in 17 1/3 innings after the mid-year watch list was announced. He enters Super Regional play with a SEC-best 16 saves and owns a 1.69 ERA.


Byrne set a new school record with his 14th save of the year in a 5-4 win against Auburn in the SEC Tournament. He passed Shaun Anderson (2016), Josh Fogg (1998) and Danny Wheeler (1994) who were tied at 13.


After making three starts early in the year with good success (2.40 ERA, 15.0 IP), Byrne moved to the bullpen where he has become even more valuable. In 29 relief appearances, Byrne has a 1.29 ERA in 48.2 innings.


Over his last 17 appearances, he has allowed just one run (27.2 IP, 0.33 ERA). Only five of 28 inherited runners have scored on the season.


The other finalists include Lincoln Henzman (Louisville), Colton Hock (Stanford), Josh Hiatt (North Carolina) and Kenyon Yovan (Oregon).


The NCBWA's All-America Committee will select the winner, with this year's recipient to be announced Saturday morning, June 17, at a news conference at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha at 10 a.m. CT.


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, II and III Players of the Week and Division I, II and III Players of the Year.

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