OKLAHOMA CITY - USA Softball announced that UCLA’s Rachel Garcia has been named the 2019 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year. The award is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
Garcia, also the 2018 award winner, helped lead the No. 2 seed UCLA Bruins to their 29th overall and fifth-consecutive NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) appearance.
“I am completely honored and humbled to be named USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year,” said Garcia. “This award is dedicated to my grandpa, who I lost at the beginning of the season. I played this entire year for him. I’d like to thank my teammates because they’ve pushed me this entire year knowing that the loss of my grandpa really put me down. I also want to thank my coaches for giving me the opportunity to play at such a prestigious university.”
Back-to-back Pac-12 Player of the Year and 2019 Pitcher of the Year, Garcia is third in the nation with a 1.01 ERA and leads the Bruins’ pitching staff with a 24-1 record and 253 strikeouts in 166 innings in the circle through Super Regional play. In addition to her pitching accolades, Garcia boasts a .344 batting average, nine home runs and 49 RBI.
“I’m very proud of an amazing accomplishment for Rachel to be named back-to-back USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year,” said UCLA Head Coach, Kelly Inouye-Perez. “I’m very proud of all of her accomplishments with her teammates and how she’s represented both USA Softball and all of collegiate softball.”
The other finalists for the 2019 award were 2019 Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year Megan Good from James Madison University and 2019 Big 12 Player of the Year Sydney Romero from the University of Oklahoma.
Garcia is the fourth athlete to claim multiple and back-to-back Player of the Year honors. Previous recipients of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award are Stacey Nuveman (UCLA, 2002), Cat Osterman (Texas, 2003, 2005 and 2006), Jessica Van der Linden (Florida State, 2004), Monica Abbott (Tennessee, 2007), Angela Tincher (Virginia Tech, 2008), Danielle Lawrie (Washington, 2009 and 2010), Ashley Hansen (Stanford, 2011), Keilani Ricketts (Oklahoma, 2012 and 2013), Lacey Waldrop (Florida State, 2014), Lauren Haeger (Florida, 2015), Sierra Romero (Michigan, 2016), Kelly Barnhill (Florida, 2017) and Rachel Garcia (UCLA, 2018).
The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year is voted on by coaching representatives of 10 Division I Conferences in the 10 USA Softball Regions, members of the media who consistently cover Division I Softball across the country as well as past winners of the award.
-- Courtesy of USA Softball