OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), is pleased to release its Top Three Finalists for the 2009 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, which will be announced on Tues., May 26th the NCAA Women's College World Series Party at the Park at ASA Hall of Fame Complex. The hunt for the Player of the Year started with a Top 50 Watch list and has been narrowed down to three; Arizona State's Kaitlin Cochran, Washington's Danielle Lawrie and Florida's Stacey Nelson.
The bios of the Top Three Finalists are as follows:
Kaitlin Cochran – Arizona State – Senior – Yorba Linda, Calif.
Kaitlin Cochran thus far in this season and throughout her career has led the nation in nearly every offensive category at one point in the season. The Pac-10 Player of Year still holds the nation's leading on-base percentage and ranks top 10 in batting average, slugging percentage, home runs, home runs per game and is ranked in RBI per game. She has broken every ASU offensive career and single-season record and now continues to climb up the Pac-10 and NCAA record books in hits, doubles, home runs, slugging percentage, on base percentage, walks and intentional walks. Cochran is hitting .424 on the season with 65 runs scored. She has drawn an incredible 59 walks with 59 RBI. In Pac-10 play, she has still hit an impressive .404 with 17 RBI and a slugging percentage of 0.915. Cochran earned the Pac-10 Player of the Week on March 31 as well as earned first-time honors.
Danielle Lawrie – Washington – Junior– Langley, British Columbia
The Pac-10 leader in wins, ERA, strikeouts and shutouts, Lawrie is also among the nation's top three in all four categories. She has thrown two no-hitters this season, against UCLA and Arizona to become the first pitcher in NCAA history to no-hit both in a career, let alone a season. She set a school record in the NCAA Regional Championship deciding game against No. 20 UMass, striking out 24 batters in a 6-1, 15-inning win. She is the third pitcher in Pac-10 history with 24+ strikeouts in a game. It was her 25th double-digit strikeout game of the season. She has also had two 18 strikeout games, one in seven innings against Oregon and another in 11 innings against Fresno State and has 18 shutouts, 12 of which have come against ranked teams. Among the team's she has shutout: No. 1 Florida, No. 2 UCLA, No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Stanford, No. 6 Arizona, No. 7 Michigan, No. 8 Georgia and No. 11 Ohio State. Lawrie has 454 strikeouts this season, three shy of breaking her own school record. Shehas gone over the 1,000 career K mark and the 1,200 career K mark this season and now has 1,298, fifth in Pac-10 history and 15th in NCAA history along with four one-hitters and 10 two-hitters. She has won a Pac-10 record six Pitcher of the Week awards as well as been named the NFCA and USA Softball National Player of the Week. Lawrie had a streak of 64.1 consecutive scoreless innings earlier in the season and 90.0 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. She broke UW's career strikeout record early in the season and also broke the single-season UW strikeout record. She also broke UW's single-season shutout record with 18. Her 35 wins are also one shy of the school record.
Stacey Nelson – Florida – Senior – Los Alamitos, Calif.
Senior pitcher Stacey Nelson continues to move up the NCAA record book, as she has tallied 131 wins in her career, seventh-best all time. She is second in Southeastern Conference history, only behind Tennessee's Monica Abbott (189). This season, her 37-3 (.925) record one of the best in the nation and her ERA (0.43) leads the country. She is the first Gator to tally 1,000 career strikeouts and sits in sixth in the SEC with 1,061. She holds 19 single-season and career pitching records at Florida, including single-season shutouts (19, 2009) and career ERA (0.97). She has pitched two no-hitters in her career, both coming in her senior year against SEC opponents. In 2008, she recorded a career-high 16 strikeouts in a 10-inning contest against Long Beach State. This season, she tallied a season-high 14 Ks in the regional win over Texas A&M in just seven innings. For two years in a row, Nelson has earned the SEC Pitcher of the Year award (2008, 09), first-team All-SEC accolades (2008, 09) and SEC All-Defensive team honors (2008, 09). She was named Pitcher of the Week three times, tying for the most this season.
This award, which is considered the most prestigious honors in Division I women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. Past winners of this award include UCLA's Stacey Nuveman, Florida State's Jessica Van der Linden, three-time winner Texas pitcher Cat Osterman, Tennessee's Monica Abbott and Virginia Tech's Angela Tincher.