TWO CLOSERS UP FOR NATIONAL HONOR

n Two Mississippi relief pitchers are among the five finalists for Stopper of the Year, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association announced on Wednesday.

Ole Miss’ Scott Bittle and Southern Mississippi’s Tyler Conn are in the group with Georgia’s Joshua Fields, San Diego’s A.J. Griffin and UC Irvine’s Eric Pettis.

Bittle has already claimed the 2008 Cellular South Ferriss Award honoring the top collegiate baseball player in Mississippi. Bittle has also been named as one of 10 semifinalists for the 2008 Clemens Award honoring the nation’s top pitcher.

Bittle (6-1, eight saves, 1.63 ERA) leads the Southeastern Conference in strikeouts with 118 this season. The junior right-hander is tops nationally in strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

Conn (1-0, 1.02 ERA) has an NCAA-leading and Conference USA single season record-breaking 18 saves (no blown saves). The junior left-hander has allowed just two extra-base hits.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday, prior to the start of NCAA Super Regional competition. All five players are participating in this weekend’s regionals.

Daily Journal report

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