Kelsey Nunley Named to Top 50 Watch List for National POY
LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky junior pitcher Kelsey Nunley has been named one of 50 players across the country to the 2015 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List, it was announced by the Amateur Softball Association of America and USA Softball on Wednesday afternoon.
Nunley, who was named the most valuable player by the 2014 team after her historic season in the circle, is on the watch list for the first time. She becomes only the second player to be named to the prestigious watch list in school history, joining UK All-America honoree Molly Johnson-Belcher, who is a current UK assistant coach.
Nunley had the best season in program history in 2014, going 30-11 with a 1.88 ERA in 282.1 innings pitched. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., earned victories in all 10 postseason wins for Kentucky, including striking out seven batters in the Women’s College World Series against Louisiana-Lafayette.
The right-handed hurler, who tossed two no-hitters in 2014, set several impressive single-season marks last season, including first in wins and innings pitched, second in ERA, tied for second in games started, second in complete games, tied for second in shutouts, second in strikeouts, third in appearances, fourth in win-loss percentage and seventh in opponent batting average.
In UK’s career rankings, Nunley – who is just entering her junior season – is first in ERA, second in opponent batting average, third in strikeouts, fourth in innings pitched, tied for fifth in saves, sixth in appearances and sixth in games started.
The preseason watch list includes 26 seniors, 18 juniors and six sophomores, with freshmen ineligible for consideration to the watch list. Athletes named to the watch list represent 32 NCAA Division I universities and 13 athletic conferences. The Southeastern Conference is well represented among the Top 50 watch list with eight schools represented.
The top 25 finalists for the 2015 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 8. While an athlete does not have to be on the watch list to be considered for the top 25, the eventual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will come from the top 25 finalists. The top 10 finalists will be announced May 6 and the top three finalists announced May 20. The 2015 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed May 26.
In addition to bestowing the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, ASA/USA Softball is now in its 13th season of presenting the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll and the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week, which are announced Tuesdays during the regular season.
The pre-season ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll was released Jan. 27 with Kentucky coming in at No. 7. The Wildcats were ranked sixth in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 last week. The rankings are UK’s highest preseason mark in both polls in school history.
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