April 17, 2008
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Navy baseball reliever JD Melton (So./Myrtle Beach, S.C.) is one of 45 pitchers that have been recognized as a midseason candidate for the 2008 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year Award, it was announced by the association on Thursday afternoon.
Melton is the only relief pitcher from the Patriot League represented on the list. The Navy right-hander was nominated as a midseason watch list member for last year's award in just his first season donning the Navy Blue and Gold.
This season, Melton is 1-1 with a 1.50 earned run average over 18.0 innings during 14 relief appearances. The Navy short-relief specialist has successfully converted on 7-of-8 save opportunities in 2008. The seven saves rank as the third-most in school history, just three away from the program record of 10 saves set by Ryan Hefner in 2006.
The native of Myrtle Beach, S.C., owns the school record for career saves with 16, despite having played just under two seasons at Navy. As a plebe in 2007, Melton went 3-2 with nine saves and a 2.45 earned run average in 29.1 innings over 19 appearances. He walked only nine and struck out 17 batters, while holding the opposition to a .238 batting average.
Prior to his arrival in Annapolis, Melton earned Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America honors as a reliever at Wofford (S.C.). In 29 appearances out of the bullpen, he went 7-4 with a Wofford freshman-record seven saves. His best performance came against 10th-ranked South Carolina, as he fired five shutout innings of one-hit baseball en route to a 13-inning victory.
Melton and the Midshipmen (21-18, 6-6 Patriot League) will head on the road this weekend to take on first-pace Bucknell (17-16-2, 7-5 Patriot League) in a four-game set at Depew Field.