LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A week chocked full of impressive performances throughout Division I softball made an always difficult job even tougher as the decision was made to honor both UCLA’s Ally Carda and USC Upstate’s Anna Miller as Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I Co-National Players of the Week.
Carda, the Pacific-12 Conference Pitcher of the Week, led the nationally ranked Bruins from both the circle and the plate over the weekend at the prestigious Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. The junior pitcher/utility player batted .429 (6-of-14) with four stolen bases, four RBIs and hit safely in four of five match-ups, while also posting a perfect 4-0 pitching mark with a 0.67 ERA and 27 strikeouts over 21 innings of work while limiting the opposition to a miniscule .197 batting average. Included in her efforts from the circle were victories over then-No. 18 Oklahoma (7 IP, 0 ER, 10 K), then-No. 16 Missouri (3 IP, 0 ER, 5 K), Maryland (5 IP, 0 ER, 5 K) and then-No. 11 Nebraska (6 IP, 2 ER, 7 K) as UCLA went a perfect 5-0 for the week.
“I’m very honored to earn this National Player of the Week award,” Carda said. “After having a great tournament in Palm Springs last year, it was great to be able to come out here and prove we could do it again. This game can get pretty big, but as a team if we stick together we can get the job done. We are off to a great start to the season, and that gives everyone a lot of confidence. We’ve had a few comeback wins and also had a few where we have gotten ahead early and kept the lead. It just shows that whatever is thrown at us that we can manage it and take care of it.”
“Ally came into the 2014 season very determined and disciplined,” UCLA head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said. “She has worked harder than everyone, especially with her workouts during the summer and fall, and I’m so proud that the game is paying her back. This team’s expectations are high, but the most important part is that their standard at practice and work ethic is preparing them to meet those expectations.”
The reigning Atlantic Sun Conference Pitcher of the Week, senior hurler Miller made program history by becoming the first Spartan pitcher to ever throw consecutive no-hitters with blankings of Gardner-Webb and Liberty. The Portland, Ore., native was 2-0 for the week with a 0.74 ERA and 37 strikeouts over 19 innings of work, 17 of those hitless. In her first no-no against Gardner-Webb, Miller fired a complete-game with 14 K’s, missing out on a perfect game by a single walk. Against Liberty she again came oh so close to perfection but was undone by a defensive miscue while tossing six no-hit innings with 12 K’s versus the Flames. A JUCO transfer from the College of Siskiyous, she ventured to Upstate as a junior in 2013 and has four no-hitters in her Spartan career, including a perfect game against Jacksonville State in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
“We have a great defense behind me that no matter what you throw, they have your back,” Miller said. “With that confidence, you can throw your best stuff and if they hit it, the defense is going to be there and have your back. There’s no worries, you can just throw your heart out.”
“I am extremely proud of Anna and am thrilled she has earned a national award like this,” USC Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins said. “To throw no-hitters in back-to-back starts is something rare. I have never witnessed that in all my years of coaching. It just shows how well she is pitching, working the count and locating her pitches. I am really excited where she is right now.”
Selected Top Performances
LSU’s Jacee Blades hit an amazing .667 (16-for-24) over seven games last week with seven runs, one triple, two steals and three RBIs and was 2-for-4 against then-No. 3 Washington and 4-for-4 versus then-No. 6 Oregon…Omaha’s Amber Lutmer, the Summit League Player of the Week, batted .556 (10-for-18) with four HR’s and 17 RBIs over five contests and posted seven RBIs in a single match-up against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi…Georgia’s Geri Ann Glasco, the SEC Co-Player of the Week, batted .500 (8-for-16) with five walks, four HR’s and 12 RBIs, while also blasting two grand slams in a single game against Marshall…Baylor’s Whitney Canion was 3-0 from the circle with a 0.00 ERA, a save and 22 K’s in 21 frames at the Mary Nutter Classic with wins over No. 11 Stanford, California and Northwestern…Oklahoma’s Kelsey Stevens posted a 4-1 mark with a 1.62 ERA and 23 K’s over 21.2 frames in Cathedral City, Calif., with wins over Boise State, Northwestern, Oregon State and Syracuse…Current Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week Callie Collins of UT Arlington was 3-0 during the UTA Hilton Invitational with two complete games, a shutout and a 0.93 ERA over five appearances…Tennessee’s Ellen Renfroe, the SEC Pitcher of the Week, posted a 3-0 mark with a 0.72 ERA and 22 K’s over 19.1 innings while registering wins at the Mary Nutter Classic over then-No. 11 Nebraska, then-No. 13 Stanford, and Fresno State…Sydney Gouveia of Loyola Marymount, the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week, was 4-0 with 28 K’s and a 0.33 ERA in four appearances at the Amy S. Harrison Classic and tossed her first career no-hitter in a 1-0 win over Seattle…Rutgers’ Jackie Bates was tabbed as the NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic’s Most Valuable Player after batting .438 (7-for-16) with three doubles, a HR and nine RBIs…Alabama’s Kallie Case hit .500 (9-for-18) and swiped four bases in a game against Virginia Tech to tie a Crimson Tide single-game school record…Arkansas’ Clarisa Navarro, the SEC Co-Player of the Week, knocked in 12 runs and registered both 10 hits and 10 runs scored for the Razorbacks in an unbeaten week…Kansas hurler Alicia Pille fired her first career no-hitter in a win over Jackson State and allowed opponents just a .115 batting average against with 12 K’s…Conference USA Player of the Week Louisiana Tech’s Pauline Tufi batted .600 (9-for-15) with four doubles and nine RBIs at the ULM Warhawk Classic…Longwood’s Emily Murphy batted .800 (8-for-10) with six steals, three doubles and six RBIs…Dayton’s Gabrielle Snyder, the Atlantic-10 Pitcher of the Week, posted a perfect 3-0 record on the way to being chosen to the Tiger Classic All-Tournament Team…Krista Menke of North Dakota State, the Summit League Co-Pitcher of the Week, was 4-0 with a 1.15 ERA and 24 K’s over 24.1 innings at the Houston Plaza Invite…LSU’s Baylee Corbello was 4-0 with a 2.04 ERA, four complete games and 17 K’s over 24 innings and tallied wins over Penn State, Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton and then-No. 13 Stanford.
2014 Louisville Slugger Division I National Player of the Week
Feb. 11 – Griffin Joiner – Kentucky – Jr. – C – Hopkinsville, Ky.
Feb. 18 – Bryana Walker – Washington – Sr. – P – La Quinta, Calif.
Feb. 25 – Anna Miller (Co-) – USC Upstate – Sr. – P – Portland, Ore.
Ally Carda (Co-) – UCLA – Jr. – P/UTIL – Elk Grove, Calif.