ATHENS — The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association confirmed what most University of Georgia fans already knew: Joshua Fields is the best closer in the country.
Fields, a 6-foot, 178-pound senior, was named the National Stopper of the Year on Wednesday by the NCBWA. The first team All-American and SEC Pitcher of the Year has helped the seventh-ranked Bulldogs advance to an NCAA Super Regional, which begins Friday against N.C. State.
"First of all I’d like to thank Jesus Christ for the opportunity to come back," Fields said refering to his decision to return to UGA after he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the second round of the 2007 Major League Draft. "I am thankful and honored to be receiving the National Stopper of the Year award, and I share it with my teammates. Without them, I wouldn’t be in a position to close out games.
"I’ve learned to not worry as much and just have fun out there," he added. "For me, it’s in the Lord’s hands."
Fields’ (2-2, 2.27 ERA) school-record 16 saves ranks second in the NCAA. He has accumulated 56 strikeouts in 30 appearances while limiting hitters to a .112 average this season. He is also the Southeastern Athletic Conference’s career saves leader with 39.
"This is a well-deserved honor for Joshua who is an outstanding young man and one of our leaders," said Georgia coach David Perno. "We are thrilled for him because he has had an unbelievable career for us. He made his decision to come back for his senior year, to finish strong and be a leader on and off the field."