Some of the top D2 Softball pitchers this spring have just a month or so of collegiate experience.
We took a look at the stats and came up with the top performing freshmen in the circle so far this season. Look for yourself and make your choice for the best freshman from the circle this season.
Polls close on Thursday, April 13 at noon, Pacific.
(stats and rankings as of April 6)
Ally Marcano, Flagler
186 K’s (4th)
7 Shutouts (T5th)
4.90 hits/7inn (34th)
There's been a recurring theme in the Peach Belt Conference weekly award this season. This past week marks the third time this season Flagler freshman hurler Ally Marcano (pictured above) was selected as the conference's Freshman of the Week.
Marcano went 3-0 with a 0.88 earned run average in three appearances last week. She picked up a 4-3 win over Francis Marion to begin the week, giving up two earned runs and striking out four, and followed up with a a complete-game two-hit shutout over UNC Pembroke, striking out eight in a 1-0 win.
The southpaw now leads the nation with 20 wins on the season, which tied a program single-season record, and leads the conference in innings pitched (160.1), strikeouts (179) and appearances (29), and is third in ERA (1.66).
Lacie Rinus, Carson-Newman
[credit] Carson-Newman hurler Lacie Rinus. Photo: Carson-Newman Athletics[/credit]
- 7 shutouts (T5th)
- 136 K’s (12th)
- 16-3 (T13th)
- 1.18 ERA (23rd)
- 5 hits/7inn (38th)
The reigning Fastpitch News National Pitcher of the Week, Carson-Newman freshman Lacie Rinus becomes the first national pitcher or player of the week honoree for the Carson-Newman softball program in at least nine seasons.
Rinus went 3-0 last week and allowed only nine hits between her three appearances, allowing two runs in 19 innings, both unearned. In fact, she has not given up an earned run over the past 29 innings.
Over last week's stretch, Rinus struck out twenty-five batters to put her first in the South Atlantic Conference with 136 Ks on the season and only walked three batters for the week. In a 5-1 win over Newberry, she struck out 10 batters for her sixth double-digit K effort of the season.
"I knew we were getting a quality pitcher," said CNU head coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield. "I felt like the term sleeper applied to her. We felt like she was going to be quality, but not a lot of people knew about her. The thing that really surprised was how competitive she is. That appeared very quickly. You have to love that from a pitcher."
Autumn Humes, Harding
[credit] Harding hurler Autumn Humes. Photo: Harding Athletics[/credit]
- 7 shutouts (T5th)
- 145 K’s (10th)
- 15-1 (T18th)
- 4.96 hits/7inn (37th)
Harding's Autumn Humes earned the latest win for the Lady Bisons – a 1-0, 1-hit victory over Arkansas Tech. Hume improved her record to 17-1 on the season. The shutout was her eighth of the season and her 16th complete game. She gave up the one hit and struck out 10. It was the fourth time this season she has struck out 10 or more batters, and was also her second 1-hitter this season
"We knew that Autumn had been successful at the high school and travel ball level, but you never really know if that success will translate to the next level until they get into your program and get their feet wet," said Harding head coach Phil Berry. "Much of her success comes from her constant desire to get better every day in practice. Her efforts in the fall and her willingness to learn and adjust have also contributed to her success."
Hayley Fein, Cal-State Monterey
[credit] Cal-State Monterey's Haley Fein. Photo: Cal-State Monterey Athletics/Simon Jimenez[/credit]
- 17-3 (T9th)
- 6 shutouts (T12th)
With 12 shutout innings during Cal State Monterey Bay's sweep of Cal State San Marcos, Otter hurler Haley Fein improved her scoreless inning streak to 28 1/3 innings.
Overall, Fein allowed just five hits and two walks, hit three batters, while collecting 10 strikeouts.
Fein led the weekend off with a three-hit complete game victory. Then on Saturday, she allowed just two hits in four innings in game one and then fanned all three batters faced in a perfect inning of relief to close out the series.
Asked if she had expectation her freshman hurler would make an immediate impact, Otter head coach Andrea Kenney replied, "Absolutely. Hayley is a hard worker and her skills lend themselves to a stellar defense behind her. She is a work horse and is very competitive."
Victoria Taylor, Southern Arkansas
[credit] Southern Arkansas freshman hurler Victoria Taylor. Photo: Southern Arkansas Athletics[/credit]
- 121 K’s (18th)
- 14-2 (25th)
- GAC Pitcher of the Week (3/7)
Part of a relatively unheralded pitching staff at Southern Arkansas, freshman Victoria Taylor has teamed up with senior Kaylee Garner to combine for 28 of SAU's 32 victories. Taylor's 13 wins and 124 strikeouts both stand fifth, and her 1.91 ERA ranks eighth in the Great American Conference rankings.
"We expected big things out of Victoria from day one," said Mulerider head coach Jason Anderson. "We knew she was very talented and had the ability to be very effective for us. Her early season success is definitely no surprise to us, but we know there are a lot of games left and she still has to get better every day. When Victoria is on she always gives a chance to win."
Jennifer Leonhardt, Southern Indiana
[credit] Southern Indiana's Jennifer Leonhardt. Photo: Southern Indiana Athletics[/credit]
- 8 shutouts (T2nd)
- 16-1 (T13th)
- 4.73 hits/7inn (18th)
- 1.18 ERA (24th)
- 110 K’s (33rd)
A two-time Great Lakes Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week, Southern Indiana's Jennifer Leonhardt tossed USI's first no-hitter in four years during the Screaming Eagles sweep of Illinois-Springfield.
The week before, Leonhardt recorded a pair of complete-game shutouts and 0.43 ERA in four appearances on the weekend. She went 2-0 on the week with a .161 opponent batting average and did not allow a run in her two starts.
"I knew she was going to be good this year, but I was surprised at how poised she is in the circle." said USI head coach Sue Kunkle. "Her first game was against the defending national champions and when she walked off the field with a complete-game shutout, it was almost as if she expected to perform at that level."
Make your selection for the best freshman pitcher in D2 softball. Remember, polls close Thursday, April 6 at noon, Pacific.