The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association released its 52-player watch list for the Stopper of the Year award on Monday, an honor given annually to the top relief pitcher in the nation.

UNC sophomore closer Josh Hiatt was among those players, becoming one of just three finalists for the honor last season to find themselves on this year’s watch list–joining Florida’s Michael Byrne and Oregon’s Kenyon Yovan.

Hiatt–who was also named a preseason First Team All-American by the NCBWA–led the Tar Heels with 13 saves last season, while striking out 64 batters in only 52 innings.

The Charlotte native is expected to once again be the bullpen workhorse for head coach Mike Fox, as UNC looks to build off last year’s fantastic regular season.

Hiatt is also one of seven ACC relievers on the Stopper of the Year watch list.

The Tar Heels are set to begin the 2018 campaign this weekend, with a trip to face South Florida in a three-game series from Feb. 16-18.

 

Photo via UNC Athletics