LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tufts’ Cassie Ruscz and Belhaven’s Julienne Broussard have been selected as the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division III National Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively.
Ruscz, a junior first baseman from Wolcott, Conn., hit .500 (13-for-26) with eight runs, five homers, 17 RBI, four walks and just one strikeout in 30 plate appearances for the three-time defending national champion (7-4) Jumbos, who are tied with St. Thomas for 23rd in the latest NFCA Division III Top 25 poll. The Taft High graduate leads Tufts in batting with a .457 average, team-best six homers and 19 RBI through the first 11 games of the season.
Meanwhile, junior right-hander Broussard earns her first Pitcher of the Week honor for the (20-5) Blazers, who are in their first season transitioning from NAIA to Division III. The Carencro, La., native was 2-0 for the week, allowing just two hits over 8.2 innings while walking none and striking out 17. The LSU-Eunice transfer pitched a six-inning shutout and set a school record for strikeouts (12) in a game. She later fanned five over 2.2 innings of relief work.
Other Selected Top Performances
Gallaudet sophomore left-hander Alyssa Barlow tossed an one-hit shutout (leadoff double to start game) with one walk and seven strikeouts against Notre Dame (Md.). … Texas-Tyler senior righty Kelsie Batten was 3-0 for the week, as the top-ranked Patriots improved to 15-0 in conference play. She won both of her starts and also collected a victory in relief on the strength of 21 strikeouts over 14 innings. … Mary Hardin-Baylor junior infielder Leah Brown hit .615 (8-for-13) with seven runs, three doubles, two homers and three RBI in two road wins over Ozarks. … Manhattanville freshman second baseman Desiree Buboi was 4-for-5 (.800) with four runs, two walks, a homer and four RBI in a pair of five-inning wins. … Belhaven senior third baseman Dani Craft batted. 778 (7-for-9) with three runs, two walks, a hit by pitch, steal and three RBI, while playing perfect defense (10 putouts, three assists). … Manhattanville sophomore right-hander Alycia Feeney held FDU-Florham’s top-ranked offense to four earned runs and 10 hits over a pair of five-inning victories. She needed just 46 pitches to wrap a three-hit shutout. … Virginia Wesleyan junior outfielder Blake Henderson was 7-for-12 (.583) with three runs, two doubles, two steals and five RBI. … College of Saint Elizabeth freshman outfielder Allie Jenkins hit .714 (5-for-7) with six runs, a double, triple, walk, stolen base and four RBI in a pair of wins, and also tossed three innings of relief. … Lebanon Valley senior catcher Emily Johnson was 5-for-8 (.625) with three runs, two doubles, a homer and five RBI. The homer was her 1,000th career hit. … Illinois Wesleyan freshman utility player Julie Josten batted .571 (4-for-7) with two runs, three doubles, a homer and RBI. She went 3-for-4 with three doubles in the nightcap of a doubleheader sweep of Lake Forest. … New York University freshman outfielder Diana King was 9-for-16 (.563) with five runs, a triple, two homers and eight RBI. She also was 1-0 in the circle, striking out six in her start. … Virginia Wesleyan freshman righty Kandis Kresinske was 2-0 for the week with four innings of one-hit pitching in a five-inning win over Eastern Mennonite and just three hits in a shutout of Lynchburg. … New Jersey City University freshman right-hander Christina Mezey lost a perfect game on a leadoff single in the top of the fifth and proceeded to fan her final 10 batters (12 strikeouts total) in an 11-0 five-inning triumph over Lehman. … Franklin sophomore first baseman Grace Paszek batted .500 (6-for-12) with two doubles and six RBI over four games, while playing flawless defense (25 putouts). … Widener junior righty Alexis Schengrund pitched 14 innings of scoreless softball over three starts and flirted with a perfect game (single in fourth) while striking out eight Arcadia batters. … Manchester junior right-hander Anna Schillinger went 3-0 with three complete games and an 1.27 ERA, allowing four earned runs over 22 innings. … Averett senior right-hander Mary Beth Smith was 2-0 for the week and also batted a team-best .571 with two homers and seven RBI. She hit the game-winning three-run homer in the second game of a twinbill with Huntingdon.
The Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division III National Player and Pitcher of the Week are selected by Division III head coaches representing the eight NCAA regions.
2016 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division III National Player of the Week
March 30 — Cassie Ruscz, Tufts, Jr., 1B, Wolcott, Conn.
March 23 — Kristin Lopez, Texas-Tyler, Sr., OF, Houston.
March 16 — Ama Biney, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, So., CF, Worcester, Mass.
March 9 — Jessica Long, Averett, Jr., SS, Prospect Hill, N.C.
March 2 — Cassetty Howerin, Virginia Wesleyan, So., 1B, Dover, Del.
2016 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division III National Pitcher of the Week
March 30 — Julienne Broussard, Belhaven, Jr., RHP, Carencro, La.
March 23 — Annie Pitkin, Washington (Mo.), Sr., RHP, West Springfield, Mass.
March 16 — Alaina Kissinger, Texas-Tyler, Jr., RHP, Telephone, Texas.
March 9 — Lindsey Thayer, St. John Fisher, So., RHP, Winthrop, N.Y.
March 2 — Kelsie Batten, Texas-Tyler, Sr., RHP, Huntington, Texas.