Candice Baker Selected as USA Softball National Player of the Week
Baker tossed her first collegiate no-hitter against then No. 8 Stanford in a 1-0 Titan win while also throwing 5 2/3 innings of no-hit softball against then No. 11 Oregon State in another 1-0 Fullerton victory. Baker, one of 50 players on the initial watch list for the USA Softball National Player of the Year, allowed only one unearned run on four hits in 21 innings of work over the weekend. She also held the opposition to a .060 batting average (4-for-67).
"This is an honor that I never expected. Our team has really started to come together. Our defense has been solid behind me and our offense keeps getting better,” said Baker. “This honor is a reflection of how our hard work has paid off. I would like to thank USA Softball for recognizing my efforts and honoring me with this special award."
She struck out 20 batters on the weekend improving to 3-1 this season against top 25 teams, also holding a win over No. 4 Northwestern back on February 11 at the Kajikawa Classic in Phoenix, Ariz. Her only loss against ranked opponents this season came against top-ranked Tennessee.
Baker is 8-3 overall this season with a 1.10 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 83 innings of work. This past weekend, the senior notched her sixth and seventh shutouts of the year; one more than she had in all of 2006 (6) and one fewer than she had in her career entering this season (8).
"Being named National Player of the week is a fantastic honor for Candice Baker and our program. This honor is a result of hard work put in,” said Fullerton head coach Michelle Gromacki. “Candice is a true competitor and has developed into a great leader in the circle. We are extremely proud of her."
For her performance this past weekend she was also named the Big West Conference Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season. This is the first-time Baker has been selected as the USA Softball Player of the Week, as well as, the second time an athlete from Fullerton has received this honor. Amanda Hockett was named the first-ever USA Softball Player of the Week in 2003.