Matt Little Named to National Pitcher of the Year Watch List

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Kentucky junior right-handed pitcher Matt Little has been named to the 2010 NCAA Pitcher of the Year Watch List, it was announced Tuesday by the College Baseball Foundation.

A native of Virginia Beach, Va., Little has emerged as one of the top late-inning relievers in all of college baseball. A 5-foot-11 right-hander, Little is among the listing of 49 pitchers and just nine relievers in college baseball named to the watch list for the annual award.

Little, who transferred to UK in January 2009 from Louisburg College (N.C.), has asserted his late-inning dominance throughout the season, totaling a 1-0 record and a 0.51 ERA in a team-high eight appearances, leading the club and ranking second in the Southeastern Conference with four saves. In 17.2 innings, Little has allowed just six hits and one run, issuing five walks and striking out 25, with opponents hitting for a .111 average.

Throughout the season, Little has been one of the top lockdown relievers in college baseball, showcasing his skills in several memorable appearances. In his second outing of the season, Little pitched 3.1 innings against Bowling Green, allowing a run in the top of the ninth while closing out a UK win for his first career save. Since that ninth inning against BGSU, Little has not allowed a run in 11 consecutive innings. His best two appearances came after he posted a one-inning save against Morehead State in the midweek, before tossing a career-high four innings with two hits, no runs and no walks allowed, striking out a career-best nine against Monmouth. In the win over Monmouth, Little came on in the sixth inning with UK trailing by six runs and held the Mastodons scoreless over the remainder of the game, putting UK in position to score seven unanswered runs and post an improbable comeback win. Following that win over Monmouth and the save against Morehead State, Little was named National Player of the Week by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and Louisville Slugger.

In his last appearance, Little closed out UK’s win over No. 19 Ole Miss Sunday, tossing 2.1 innings to end the game, allowing just one hit and no walks, striking out four.

UK returns to action Tuesday with a midweek contest with defending Atlantic 10 Conference champion Xavier at 6:30 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM and online at UKathletics.com.