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Florida’s Kirsti Merritt Chosen as the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Player of the Week

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – For her impressive offensive efforts in helping lead second-ranked Florida (52-7) to the 2013 Southeastern Conference Tournament title, freshman outfielder Kirsti Merritt has been selected as the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Player of the Week for May 14.

“I’m thankful to the NFCA for being honored, this is very exciting, but our success last weekend was a team effort,” Merritt said. “Everyone really stepped up in the SEC Tournament, and we had a lot of fun in Lexington (Ky.) playing the game we love. We’re excited to get the NCAA Tournament started and see what this team can do in postseason play.”

The Lake Panasoffkee, Fla., product was tabbed as the SEC Tournament’s Most Valuable Player after batting .455 (5-for-11) with five runs scored, two steals, two HR’s and seven RBIs while helping UF to victories over No. 9 Alabama, Georgia and No. 8 Missouri. Against the defending national champion Crimson Tide in the quarterfinal round, Merritt tied career highs in hits and RBIs by going 3-for-4 at the dish, hitting what eventually turned out to be the game-winning three-run HR (broke a 4-4 dead-lock in the bottom of the sixth) and recording five RBIs. She singled and scored during the 9-5 semifinal triumph over Georgia and then broke a 2-2 tie against No. 8 Missouri via a two-run blast in the bottom of the third frame of Florida’s 10-4, title-securing victory. 

Merritt is currently hitting .305 for the year with 47 runs scored, eight doubles, four triples, six HR’s and 29 RBIs while also boasting 17 steals in 20 total attempts.

“We’re very excited about this recognition for Kirsti after her great week of play, which helped propel the Gators to the SEC Tournament Championship,” Florida head coach Tim Walton said. “Kirsti played a huge role; she had a lot of clutch RBIs and hits – several with two outs and two strikes. This honor is an exclamation point to how fun she was to watch play last week.”

Merritt and her Gator teammates will begin their NCAA Tournament run on May 17th against Hampton at 6 p.m. ET. The Gainesville Regional (No. 22 USF. Georgia Southern, Hampton) will be hosted at Pressly Stadium over May 17-19.

 

Other Selected Top Performances

Hofstra’s Olivia Galati was named the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament’s Most Outstanding Performer after posting a 3-0 record with a 0.35 ERA, a perfect game during a win over James Madison and 22 strikeouts over 20 innings…Wisconsin’s Cassandra Darrah went 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA and 20 K’s over 21 frames of work in reaping Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player accolades…Ellyn Troup of Murray State hit .500 (5-for-10) with two doubles, a steal, two walks and three RBIs as the Racers finished third at the OVC Tournament…2013 America East Tournament MVP Allison Cukrov of Stony Brook picked up a trio of wins to go along with a 1.11 ERA, a save and 11 K’s over 25.1 innings of effort…Oregon’s Alexa Peterson batted .571 (4-for-7) with two doubles, a HR and two RBIs in a three-game series with No. 5 Arizona State…Valparaiso’s Janelle Bouchard hit .529 (9-for-17) with four doubles, a triple and 10 RBIs over six games while being chosen as both the Most Valuable Player and Batter of the Horizon League Tournament…Arizona State’s Dallas Escobedo was 1-0 with a save, a 1.08 ERA and 19 K’s in 13 innings of work against No. 3 Oregon…N.C. State’s Emily Weiman was selected as the ACC Tournament MVP after posting a 3-0 record with a 0.33 ERA and 15 K’s over 21 innings…BIG EAST Tournament Most Valuable Player Sara Nevins of USF was 3-0 with a flawless 0.00 ERA and 25 K’s over 22.2 innings of effort, including a win over nationally-ranked Louisville…Jacksonville State’s Tiffany Harbin was named Ohio Valley Conference Tournament MVP by recording a 4-0 mark with a 0.70 ERA and 39 strikeouts over 30 frames…South Alabama’s Hannah Campbell no-hit No. 21 Louisiana Lafayette as part of a 3-0 record with a 0.32 ERA and 21 K’s in 22 innings to earn Sun Belt Conference Tournament MVP honors…Longwood’s Libby Morris picked up Big South Conference MVP after picking up five wins with a 1.72 ERA and 20 K’s in 36.2 innings over six contests…Atlantic Sun Tournament MVP Cheyenne Griffin of USC Upstate hit .353 (6-for-17) with a triple, three HR’s and six RBIs.

 

2013 Louisville Slugger Division I National Player of the Week 

Feb. 12 – Keilani Ricketts – Oklahoma – Sr. – P – San Jose, Calif.

Feb. 19 – B.B. Bates – UCLA – Sr. – OF – Victorville, Calif.

Feb. 26 – Kelsey Stevens – Stanford – Fr. – P – Albuquerque, N.M.

March 5 – Katie Keller – Louisville – Jr. – 2B – Livermore, Calif.

March 12 – Ivy Renfroe – Tennessee – Sr. – P – Jackson, Tenn.

March 19 – Sara Driesenga – Michigan – So. – P – Hudsonville, Mich.

March 26 – Geri Ann Glasco – Georgia – Fr. – P/IF – Watkinsville, Ga.

April 2 – Amy Letourneau – Northwestern – So. – P/1B – Laguna Niguel, Calif.

April 9 – (Co-) Olivia Galati – Hofstra – Sr. – P/DP – West Babylon, N.Y.

April 9 – (Co-) Stephanie Pasquale – Temple – Jr. – C/1B – Pompton Lakes, N.J.

April 16 – Jessica Moore – Oregon – Sr. – P – Sutter, Calif.

April 23 – Lauren Gibson – Tennessee – Sr. – 2B – Pasadena, Md.

April 30 – Rachele Fico – LSU – Sr. – P – Oxford, Conn.

May 7 – Laura Winter – Notre Dame – Jr. – P/IF – San Diego, Calif.

May 14 – Kirsti Merritt – Florida – Fr. – OF – Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.