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HARRISONBURG -- James Madison sophomore right-hander Chris Huffman was the lone representative of the Colonial Athletic Association among 75 closers selected nationwide for the preseason watch list for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award on Friday.
Huffman is expected to assume closer duties on a full-time basis for the Dukes for the 2013 season. JMU split the role last year following the preseason loss of D.J. Brown to injuries. Huffman posted a 3-5 record with two saves and a 4.53 ERA last year while ranking among league leaders with 25 appearances. He worked 47 2/3 innings and struck out a JMU-best 38 batters while limiting opponents to a .280 batting average. Huffman appeared briefly over the summer in the Cape Cod League, helping the Wareham Gatemen to a league title with no earned runs in six innings.
Huffman and the Dukes begin the season next weekend, Feb. 15-17, with a three-game series against Coastal Carolina. The teams will play Friday at Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C., followed by Saturday and Sunday games at TicketReturn.com Field in Myrtle Beach.
Nominations for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award were made by baseball sports information/media relations contacts. The initial list will be updated with a mid-season release the week of April 16, including the national saves leaders. 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 June 5, prior to start of NCAA Super Regional tournament competition.
From the list of finalists, the NCBWA's All-America Committee will select a winner. The ninth annual winner will be announced in Omaha on June 15, the opening day of the College World Series.