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NCBWA 2018 Stopper Of The Year Preseason Watch List
GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Ohio baseball redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) has been named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's 2018 Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List, the association announced on Monday (Feb. 12).
The Stopper of the Year Award is given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball. Roehn is one of 52 players across the country to be named to the 14th annual preseason watch list and is one of two representatives from the Mid-American Conference, joining Ball State redshirt junior right-hander T.J. Baker.
A 2017 First Team All-MAC selection, Roehn made a team-high 29 appearances out of the bullpen last year, sporting a 4-4 record with a 2.28 ERA and a program-record 15 saves. He piled up 48 strikeouts over 43.1 innings of work and allowed just 11 earned runs on 39 hits and 13 walks. In MAC play, Roehn sported a 2.04 ERA with seven saves and struck out 13 while giving up just four earned runs on 17 hits and four walks over 17.2 innings. He was honored as one of 40 of the top relief pitchers in college baseball to be named to the Midseason Watch List for the 13th annual National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award and was one of 16 of the 40 players who were on the preseason watch list.
Roehn enters the 2018 campaign with 22 career saves under his belt, which is tied with Chad Reed (1989-92) for the most in program history. He was named a 2018 Collegiate Baseball Preseason Third Team All-American in December.
The Bobcats are coming off of a 2017 campaign in which they finished with 31 wins -- including 11 in MAC play, which placed Ohio fifth in the overall league standings. Under the direction of head coach Rob Smith, No. 5-seeded Ohio capped an improbable league postseason run by defeating No. 3-seeded Eastern Michigan, 7-4, to clinch the 2017 MAC Championship title on May 28 at Sprenger Stadium in Avon, Ohio. Ohio earned its third MAC tournament title (1997, 2015, '17) with the victory. The Bobcats opened 2017 MAC Championship play by beating No. 4-seeded Ball State, 4-3, on May 24. Ohio then advanced to the winner's bracket final thanks to a late-night 5-3 win over No. 1-seeded Kent State the following day. The Bobcats eliminated the Golden Flashes with a 7-2 victory on May 27, marking the fourth time in five tries Ohio emerged victorious over MAC regular season champion Kent State in 2017. After missing the national postseason tournament 17 years in a row, Ohio punched its second NCAA Regional ticket in the last three years as the MAC's automatic bid with the victory over Eastern Michigan, advancing to the 2017 NCAA Championship Lexington Regional. The No. 4 regionally-seeded Bobcats fell to No. 1 regionally-seeded Kentucky, 6-4, on June 4, then dropped an 11-2 decision to No. 2 regionally-seeded Indiana the following day.
Smith has led Ohio to two MAC tournament titles and two NCAA Championship appearances over the the last three years. Ohio had made just two NCAA tournament appearance in the 43 seasons prior to the 2015 campaign.
Among the returners from last year's championship team are a pair of 2017 First Team All-MAC selections in Roehn and redshirt senior infielder/right-handed pitcher Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and a MAC All-Defensive Team selection in junior infielder Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.).
For the second year in a row, Ohio begins the year in Lexington, S.C., to take on Rider this weekend (Feb. 16-18) in a four-game neutral site series to start the 2018 campaign.