Ole Miss Junior reliever Scott Bittle is one of 10 semi-finalists for the 2008 Clemens Award, the Greater Houston Baseball Administration announced on Thursday.
Bittle, who has a 5-1 record and seven saves, leads the nation in strikeouts per nine innings, 16.33. The right-hander has struck out 99 in 54‚ innings.
The other nine on the list are Brian Matusz of San Diego, Aaron Crow of Missouri, Joshua Fields of Georgia, Scott Gorgen of UC Irvine, Chris Hernandez of Miami (Fla.), Shooter Hunt of Tulane, Mike Leake of Arizona State, Andrew Liebel of Long Beach State, and Stephen Strasburg of San Diego State.
Named after seven-time Cy Young Award Winner Roger Clemens, the award is given each year to the pitcher voted tops in the nation by a committee comprised of Division I baseball coaches, media and past finalists for the award. The award will be presented at a dinner July 11th in Houston.
"This is a tremendous honor for Scott and certainly is an honor of which he is deserving," said Ole Miss Coach Mike Bianco, in a statement released by the school. "Scott has been a big part of our success this season and his numbers speak for themselves."
Bittle is also one of three finalists for the Cellular South Ferriss Trophy, which honors Mississippi's top player.
Selected by a panel of Major League Baseball scouts, the head coaches of Mississippi's four-year colleges and one media representative, the Ferriss Trophy will be handed out Monday in a ceremony at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum. Former Yankees Manager Buck Showalter, an All-American at Mississippi State in 1977, will present the award. The ceremony starts at 6:30PM.
Tonight, Bittle and his Ole Miss teammates are scheduled to start a three-game Southeastern Conference series at Kentucky. Ole Miss (33-20) can clinch a spot in next week's Southeastern Conference Tournament if they win at least two games in Lexington. If the Rebels don't win at least twice, they can still qualify for the eight-team tournament, but it would depend on how several other teams, most notably Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina and Florida, fare over the weekend.