OKLAHOMA CITY – In all, 55 players from 28 different institutions were selected to one of three 2015 NFCA Division I All-America teams, the Association announced on Wednesday.
(Photo courtesy of UCLA)
The three conferences that are represented at this year’s Women’s College World Series had an impressive 39 of the 55 total selections, including 13 student-athletes on the first team. In all, the Southeastern Conference led the way with 19, while the Pac-12 Conference racked up 13 nods and the Big Ten Conference came in with seven selections. Out of those 39 student-athletes, 28, or 51 percent of the All-Americans, will be stepping on the field at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium tomorrow.
Press Conference Quotes.
To view the complete 2015 NFCA Division I All-American Teams, please visit the following LINK. To watch videos announcing all three NFCA Division I All-American Teams, please visit the end of this story.
Michigan and LSU each led the country with five total selections to the prestigious squads, while Alabama and UCLA garnered four each. Five programs — Florida, Oregon, Auburn, Oklahoma and Arizona — had three All-America selections. Georgia, Louisiana-Lafayette and James Madison rounded out the schools that picked up multiple selections with two apiece.
Headlining the NFCA All-America First Team is 2015 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, Florida’s Lauren Haeger. The top utility/pitcher in the country was named SEC Pitcher of the Year and has posted a stellar 28-1 record from the circle with a 1.24 ERA, 11 shutouts and 194 strikeouts over 186.1 innings of work. She also hit at a .329 clip with 24 extra-base hits, including 16 home runs and a team-leading 64 RBI. Haeger set the program’s all-time home run record and is the first player in NCAA history to hit 60 home runs and win 60 games in a career.
Leading off a three-pitcher contingent on the 2015 first squad is Oregon’s Cheridan Hawkins, one of three finalists for USA Softball National Player of the Year. The junior southpaw has played a big role in the Ducks reaching the Women’s College World Series. Hawkins is 30-2 with a 1.41 ERA and 269 strikeouts in 188.2 innings of work. The Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year and two-time First-Team NFCA All-American had recorded 10 shutouts and seven saves, while holding her opponents to a miniscule .135 batting average.
Joining Hawkins as hurlers on the first squad are Western Kentucky senior Miranda Kramer and UCF junior Shelby Turnier, each a top-10 finalist for USA Softball National Player of the Year. Kramer put forth a very dominant 2015 campaign. The powerful lefty finished with a program-best and nation-leading 439 strikeouts. She posted a 1.24 ERA, 26 victories, 13 shutouts and a .123 batting average against. The Conference USA Pitcher and Newcomer of the Year led WKU to league regular season and tournament titles as well as an appearance in the Athens Regional final.
The nation’s leader in ERA at 0.87, Turnier excelled in a record-breaking season for the Knights. She posted a 25-8 record with 10 shutouts and 268 strikeouts in helping UCF to a program-record 50 wins. Holding her opponents to a .148 batting average, Turnier was named the American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year and was selected Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Pitcher of the Week twice.
Behind the dish as the first-team catcher is Louisiana-Lafayette junior Lexie Elkins. One of the premier power hitters in the Division I, Elkins leads the NCAA with 32 home runs and ranks second with 83 RBI and is third with a 1.077 slugging percentage. A two-time All-American, Elkins is batting .426 and has also registered a superb .998 fielding percentage behind the plate to earn Sun Belt Player of the Year honors.
The most prolific power hitter in NCAA softball history, Lauren Chamberlain of Oklahoma is the first-team selection at first base. The senior and top-10 USA Softball National Player of the Year finalist is now in rare company being named an All-American for the fourth time in her illustrious career. The NCAA’s all-time leader in home runs with 96, finished her career with an NCAA-record .960 slugging percentage. In 2015, Chamberlain, ranked in the NCAA’s top 10 with 23 home runs, 72 runs scored, a .933 slugging percentage, .589 on base percentage and 62 walks.
Leading the nation with 85 runs scored and being just one of five players in Division I with 80-plus RBI, Auburn’s Emily Carosone is the first-team honoree at second base. Contributing to the Tigers’ first SEC Tournament Championship and appearance in the Women’s College World Series, Carasone leads her squad with a .453 average, 82 hits, .851 slugging percentage and a .560 on-base percentage. A two-time NFCA All-American and top 10 finalist for USA Softball Player of the Year, the junior is a stalwart on defense, making just two errors and posting a mind-boggling .990 fielding percentage.
The second Tiger on the first team is Auburn sophomore third baseman Kasey Cooper. Starting all 63 games at the hot corner, Cooper is batting .408 with 13 doubles, 18 homers, 63 RBI and 54 runs scored. A first-team all-Southeastern Conference member, she recorded a .782 slugging percentage and a .963 fielding percentage, making just six errors all season at third.
Rounding out the infield first-team accolades is LSU junior shortstop Bianka Bell. Playing a role in the program’s first No. 1 national ranking, Bell started all 62 games and leads the team with 19 doubles, 17 long balls, 72 RBI, 68 runs scored and a .813 slugging percentage. In addition, she collected 83 hits, walked 30 times and registered a .513 on-base percentage.
Leading off the first-team outfielder selections is three-time NFCA All-American, Haylie McCleney of Alabama. Having a knack for getting on base, the junior posted a .596 on-base percentage with 57 free passes, good for fifth and sixth in the NCAA, respectively. Owner of a .980 fielding percentage in center field, the SEC first-teamer is also the top offensive threat in the lineup with a .453 batting average, 14 doubles, 47 RBI, 69 runs scored and 31 stolen bases. She also gets it done in the classroom as she was the SEC Softball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Top 10 USA Softball National Player of the Year finalist, Allexis Bennett of UCLA is the next of three first-team outfielders. Bennett owns the second-best batting average in the NCAA, hitting at a Pac-12-best .514 clip and is third in the nation with 90 hits. The junior has tallied 12 doubles, 28 RBI a team-best 20 stolen bases and 57 runs.
The final first-team outfielder is Michigan’s Kelly Christner. An-All Big 10 first-team selection, she leads the third-ranked Wolverine squad with 20 home runs and 78 hits, while recording 12 doubles, 63 RBI, 71 runs scored and an .808 slugging percentage.
At DP or utility/non-pitcher is Arizona State’s Amber Freeman. Now a three-time NFCA All-American, Freeman batted a team-high .436 with 16 doubles and 15 long balls. A three-time Pac-12 first-team selection, she also knocked in 51 runs and recorded a team-best 79 base hits.
The five at-large selections on the first team begin with at-large/second baseman Sierra Romero of Michigan. The Big Ten Player of the Year and top three finalist for the USA Softball National Player of the Year powered the Wolverines into the Women’s College World Series. The three-time NFCA All-American leads the NCAA with a .624 on-base percentage and is in the top-10 with a .472 batting average, 80 RBI, .962 slugging percentage and 83 runs scored to go along with 21 home runs and 20 stolen bases.
Another at-large choice on this year’s first team is second baseman Kelsey Stewart of Florida. The Southeastern Conference’s Player of the year is tops in the NCAA with 95 hits and ranks second with 10 triples. The speedster leads the Gators with a .448 average, 17 doubles, 68 runs scored, 23 stolen bases and a .496 on-base percentage.
Also on the first team as an at-large choice as a utility/pitcher is UCLA’s Ally Carda. The senior hurler and staff workhorse, Carda has posted a 31-6 record with a 2.27 ERA, nine shutouts and 270 strikeouts in 218.2 innings. At the plate, the two-time NFCA All-American is batting a.316 with 15 doubles, eight home runs, 50 RBI and 55 runs scored.
Grabbing an at-large first-team nod at shortstop is Shelby Pendley. Now a three-time All-American, Pendley is the third-most prolific home run hitter in NCAA history with 84 career long balls. This season she is fifth in the NCAA with 24 home runs and seventh with a .950 slugging percentage. The soft-handed senior shortstop made just one error all season to post a mind-boggling .993 field percentage. Pendley also led the squad with a .413 batting average, 14 doubles and 65 RBI.
South Carolina junior Alaynie Page nabbed the final first-team at-large spot. The Gamecock outfielder earns her first All-American recognition after a career junior season. Garnering first-team All-SEC plaudits, Page was the only Gamecock to start all 60 games and led the team with a .436 average, 85 hits, 13 doubles, seven triples, 15 home runs, 45 RBI and 61 runs scored.