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February 11, 2019 at 6:34 pm #82655
West Virginia University baseball junior right-handed pitcher Sam Kessler has been recognized on the preseason watch list for the Stopper of the Year Award, presented by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).
The award, in its 15th year, is given annually to the top NCAA Division I relief pitcher. Kessler is one of three Big 12 Conference pitchers named to this year’s watch list.
Kessler is the latest Mountaineer to earn preseason accolades ahead of Friday’s season opener. Junior right-hander Alek Manoah was named to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List and the Baseball America Preseason All-America Second Team, while senior outfielder Darius Hill was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team. Kessler also was named to the College Baseball Daily All-Big 12 Preseason Team, along with Hill, while junior first baseman Marques Inman and Manoah were named to the honorable mention squad by the publication.
A Mount Sinai, New York, native, Kessler made 25 relief appearances as a sophomore in 2018, second-most on the team and tied for fourth-most in a single season in WVU history. He led the team with four wins (4-0), four saves and a 2.86 ERA. Kessler allowed nine earned runs on 25 hits with 32 strikeouts in 28.1 innings pitched, while his nine walks were the fewest amongst pitchers with at least 10.0 innings pitched. Additionally, his .227 opponent batting average was third-lowest.
As a freshman in 2017, Kessler earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention accolades. He made 17 appearances with two starts, going 1-2 with one save. Kessler led the team with a 2.61 ERA amongst pitchers with at least three appearances, with 41 strikeouts, third-most amongst relievers. He gave up 11 earned runs on 28 hits in 38.0 innings pitched and held the opposition to a .203 batting average.
In his career, Kessler is 5-2 with a 2.71 ERA in 42 career appearances. He has allowed 20 earned runs on 53 hits with 73 strikeouts and 31 walks in 66.1 innings pitched.
West Virginia opens the 2019 season at the Atlanta Challenge, from Feb. 15-17, in Atlanta. Opening day is set for Friday, Feb. 15, at Kennesaw State at 4 p.m. ET. The weekend continues with contests at Georgia State on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m., and at Georgia Tech on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 1 p.m.
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