LOUISVILLE, Ky. — St. Olaf’s Julie Graf and Belhaven’s Elizabeth Taggard scored the sixth Division III Wilson/NFCA Pitcher and Louisville Slugger/NFCA Player of the Week honors of the 2021 season on Wednesday.
Graf, a senior right-hander from Sammamish, Wash., became the 21st pitcher in NCAA Division III history to record 1,000 career strikeouts this weekend. She carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Concordia-Moorhead on Saturday, then no-hit Augsburg for the first five innings on Sunday. For the two games, the Eastlake High product recorded 31 strikeouts and two victories, allowing just three hits and three runs over 13 innings in the circle. Graf also helped herself at the plate, with three hits in five at-bats and a stolen base.
Meanwhile, junior first baseman Taggard gave the No. 7 Blazers their third national honoree of the season, and their second-straight Louisville Slugger/NFCA Player of the Week winner. The Picayune, Miss., native was 7-for-9 (.778) in a three-game sweep of Texas-Dallas that kept Belhaven tied atop the American Southwest Conference standings with No. 4-ranked East Texas Baptist. Taggard had a double, two homers, nine runs batted in, a stolen base, and didn’t strike out once, while playing flawlessly in the field.
Other Top Performances
Franklin & Marshall junior left fielder Jamie Belfer hit .556 with two walks, a double and two diving catches in the outfield. … Husson sophomore pitcher Jill Bisson pitched a complete game in her first career start, striking out three and walking just one over five innings. … Simmons senior outfielder Danielle Carson was 6-for-11 (.545) with two steals and two bunt singles. … College of New Jersey senior third baseman Lauren Conroy hit .429 with four runs, a double, two homers and four RBI. … Wisconsin-Eau Claire junior outfielder Ellie Decker hit a two-run homer and batted .714 filling in for the Blugolds’ regular center fielder. … Husson freshman third baseman Kenzie Dore just missed hitting for the cycle with her first career homer, double and triple, while driving in five runs. … Brandeis junior pitcher Sydney Goldman tossed the second perfect game in school history (13 strikeouts), which was the program’s first no-hitter since 2011. … Franklin & Marshall sophomore pitcher Jill Holoboski returned to drive in the tying run after being removed from the circle after being hit in the elbow, and tossed the final two innings of a win, then threw a complete game in the nightcap to secure a doubleheader sweep. … College of New Jersey sophomore second baseman Julia Kinnally was 7-for-12 (.583) with a homer and three RBI. … Rochester senior pitcher Hannah Leahy ran her win streak to five with three more victories, including a three-hitter and seven innings of one-run ball in another appearance. … Alfred junior shortstop Ashley Lugo hit in all six Saxon contests, going 10-for-19 (.526) with two doubles, three triples, eight runs scored, nine RBI, and nine steals. … East Texas Baptist freshman shortstop Tristen Maddox drove in a run in all three games for the Tigers, batting .556 with three doubles and three RBI. … Illinois Wesleyan sophomore pitcher Nina Mardjetko tossed two complete games without allowing an earned run and registered her first career shutout against her league’s top offensive team. … St. Olaf senior left fielder Hannah Matthies tied a school record with six RBI in the second game of a doubleheader and drove in nine runs for the two games. For the week, she hit .500 with three doubles, a homer and 11 RBI. … Carnegie Mellon junior pitcher Scotty McGee fanned 21 over 14 innings and two complete games. … Ursinus sophomore pitcher Alexis Miller tossed two complete games, including a shutout of previously-unbeaten Gettysburg. … College of New Jersey senior pitcher Alanna Namit struck out 13 and allowed just seven hits in a pair of complete-game triumphs. … St. Benedict sophomore pitcher Elly Novak was 2-0 with a save and 23 strikeouts over 11.2 innings. … Cortland senior outfielder Kelly O’Gorman hit a tiebreaking grand slam during a week in which she hit .480 with three doubles and 11 RBI. … Eastern Nazarene sophomore first baseman Bailey Olaveson drove in 12 runs on 11 hits, including a double and three homers, while also scoring 12 runs. … Illinois Wesleyan junior left fielder Colleen Palczynski tied the program record with seven RBI in a win over Wheaton (Ill.), hit her second grand slam of the season, and also had a two-homer game (three homers total for week). … Beloit junior pitcher Maddy Pfortmiller set a school record with 15 strikeouts in a 4-3 win over Lawrence. … Rochester senior third baseman Alexis Pope went 9-for-16 (.562) with six runs, two doubles, a homer and nine RBI. … Clarkson junior third baseman Kayla Robert accounted for much of her team’s 50 runs, driving in 10 and scoring eight herself, while batting .593 with a triple and homer. … Bethel (Minn.) sophomore pitcher Kayla Simacek tossed her second career no-hitter (both this season), fanning 10 of the 15 batters she faced, and came within a hit by pitch of a perfect game. … Babson graduate pitcher Brooke Stock tossed a one-hit shutout and then four shutout innings of relief in a sweep of Springfield. … Wooster junior outfielder Brooke Swain was 11-for-15 (.733) with eight runs, six steals and three RBI. … Saint Benedict junior left fielder Jordyn Swoboda hit .600 (6-for-10) with eight runs, two doubles, two homers, six walks and three steals. … Alfred graduate pitcher Jessica Wilcox scored three wins and had an increasing number of strikeouts in each contest; 12 at Fredonia, 14 against Ithaca, and 15 versus Utica. … Salisbury sophomore pitcher Lindsey Windsor tossed two three-hit shutouts and also hit .467 with four runs, two doubles, a homer and three RBI. … Franklin & Marshall sophomore right fielder Devon Witt collected the first extra-base hit and RBIs of her career with a bases-loaded triple and batted .500 for the week. … Clarkson junior pitcher Olivia Zoeller won five league games, had three complete games, a win in relief and an 18-strikeout, one-hitter against St. Lawrence. She followed that up with 16 strikeouts and the walk-off hit in the bottom of the seventh.
Winners are selected by the NFCA Division III Top 25 Committee, which has a representative for each of the eight NCAA regions.
2021 Wilson/NFCA Division III National Pitcher of the Week
April 14 — Julie Graf, St. Olaf College, Sr., RHP, Sammamish, Wash.
April 7 — Lorrin Pondo, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Jr., RHP, Bolingbrook, Ill.
March 31 — Megan Gavin, Concordia College-Moorhead, Sr., RHP, Cold Spring, Minn.
March 24 — Cami Henry, DePauw University, Jr., RHP, Camby, Ind.
March 17 — Kennedy Carruth, Belhaven University, So., RHP, St. Francisville, La.
March 10 — Ashley Croft, East Texas Baptist University, Fr., RHP, Cypress, Texas
2021 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division III National Player of the Week
April 14 — Elizabeth Taggard, Belhaven University, Jr., 1B, Picayune, Miss.
April 7 — Allie Gordon, Belhaven University, So., 3B, Macon, Ga.
March 31 — Julia Loffredo, Ithaca College, Jr., RF, Skillman, N.J.
March 24 — Brooke Wehr, Moravian College, Sr., C, Orefield, Pa.
March 17 — Jessica Goldyn, Virginia Wesleyan University, Sr., C, Virginia Beach, Va.
March 10 — Marin Musicant, East Texas Baptist University, Jr., DP, San Diego, Calif.