Eight student-athletes from the Southeastern Conference are among the 26 finalists for the 2019 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year.
The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women's collegiate softball, recognizes the outstanding athletic achievement by Division I female players across the country.
Representing the SEC are Montana Fouts and Bailey Hemphill from Alabama, Kelly Barnhill and Amanda Lorenz of Florida, Alyssa DiCarlo of Georgia, Abbey Cheek from Kentucky, Amanda Sanchez from LSU and Mia Davidson from Mississippi State.
Fouts, who was recently named a top-25 finalist for NFCA Freshman of the Year, leads the SEC and is sixth nationally with a 0.97 ERA. She owns a 13-1 record and four saves across 19 appearances and 15 starts, holding opponents to 14 earned runs over 101.0 innings while striking out 125.
Hemphill is ranked in the top five nationally in home runs (20) and RBIs (64). She is batting .350 with a team-leading 49 hits across 140 at-bats. Her home run total is already the third-highest in Alabama single-season history and her RBI total ranks seventh.
Barnhill owns a record of 25-8 and a 1.52 ERA. She has struck out 261 batters in 194 innings of work and has held her opponents to a .152 batting average. Barnhill became only the second pitcher in Florida history to eclipse 1,000 strikeouts, and she is now just six away from becoming the program's all-time leader in the category
Lorenz is batting .415 with 56 hits, 43 runs scored and 34 RBI through 49 games this season. She is pace to set career records in batting average and on-base percentage. In the conference rankings, Lorenz is in the top five in batting average, on-base percentage (.549), hits and walks (43).
DiCarlo is batting .411 while knocking 20 home runs and driving in 51 runs. She is slugging .984 with a .549 on-base clip. Her national rankings include being fourth in home runs and slugging, sixth in total bases (127), ninth in walks per game (0.90), 12th in on base percentage, and 19th in runs per game (1.08). DiCarlo has toppled Georgia's career records for home runs (65), RBI (245), and extra-base hits (122).
Cheek is currently hitting .462 which is good for sixth nationally. She is fifth nationally in slugging percentage (.957), fourth in walks (48), second in on-base percentage (.622) and 16th in home runs (16). One of the best third basemen in program history, Cheek has already eclipsed the school records for career home runs (57), runs batted in (193) and runs scored (164).
Sanchez is leading the Tigers and is third in the league with a .425 batting average. She owns 16 doubles and seven home runs on the year for 50 RBI, which is second on the team. In 47 games played, Sanchez has a .733 slugging percentage and a team-leading .587 on-base percentage.
Davidson leads all of Division I softball with 23 home runs and a 1.008 slugging percentage. She leads the league with 133 total bases, while ranking second with 55 RBI, the most ever recorded by a Bulldog sophomore. Davidson also ranks third in the SEC in batting average (.424) and fourth in hits (56), seventh in runs scored (44) and ninth in on-base percentage (.524).
Previous recipients of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award from the SEC are Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott (2007) and Florida pitchers Lauren Haeger (2015) and Barnhill (2017). The list of 26 Finalists will be narrowed to the 10 Finalists on May 8 before the Top 3 Finalists will be announced on May 22. The 2019 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed May 28.