TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Florida State softball junior pitcher Lacey Waldrop received an enormous national honor on Tuesday when she was named the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year, announced tonight by the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) and USA Softball.
Waldrop becomes the first Seminole to win the national honor since former softball legend Jessica van der Linden was named the USA Softball Player of the Year in her senior season in 2004. Waldrop, who hails from Chester, Va., established herself as arguably the most dominant pitcher in the nation in 2014.
“This is an incredible and deserving honor for Lacey and a big achievement for our program,” FSU head coach Lonni Alameda said. “Her competitive drive is incredible and after last season she really set out to try and be one of the nation’s best pitchers. She has been our leader in the circle all year, and more than just being a great player, she is a great person. She’s extremely coachable and is always trying to get better, which sums up our entire team. I’m so proud of Lacey for receiving the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year – It’s a product of her hard work and dedication.”
Coming off an All-American campaign as a sophomore in 2013, she heads into the NCAA Women’s College World Series with a 38-5 record, a 1.01 ERA and 282 strikeouts in 257.1 innings pitched. Waldrop has allowed opponents to hit just .184 against her this season, has picked up 27 complete games and four shutouts, and has not allowed a triple.
Waldrop ranks first nationally with her 38 victories, which includes eight wins against Top 25 teams. Her win total marks a single-season school record at Florida State, breaking the old mark of 35 wins held by Leslie Malerich in 2000 and 2002. Her two most recent wins were the biggest of her career last Friday, defeating Michigan twice in two starts in the Super Regional to put FSU back into the WCWS since 2004.
The crafty right-hander has held her own nationally in other individual categories – she ranks third in ERA, 14th in strikeouts, 25th in shutouts, and 26th with 4.73 hits allowed per seven innings. Playing for a school with a rich history in pitching excellence, Waldrop is trying to become the first Seminole since Sarah Hamilton in 2009 to post a sub-1 ERA.
Waldrop earned 2014 ACC Pitcher of the Year honors after posting superb numbers in conference play. In 20 ACC appearances, she went 17-1 with a 0.90 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 101.2 innings pitched. She only allowed one home run against ACC competition, and also picked up a save. She earned ACC Pitcher of the Week seven times in 2014 and now has 12 total for her career. Waldrop also earned a national player of the week honor this season.
Depending on FSU’s outcome in the WCWS, Waldrop also has the possibility of becoming the sixth Seminole to throw 300 strikeouts or more in a season. She is 18 K’s away from the milestone as she heads into FSU’s matchup with No. 1 seed Oregon on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. CT.
Of the three USA Softball National Player of the Year finalists, Waldrop was the only one to lead her team to the WCWS. The other candidates included Michigan shortstop Sierra Romero and UCLA pitcher/utility player Ally Carda.
Florida State begins their national championship quest on Thursday as it battles No. 1 seed Oregon at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
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