Washington's Lawrie Wins USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award

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    By Alyssa Chambers / Fresno State Athletics Communications

    For the second consecutive season, Danielle Lawrie of the University of Washington has been named the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America presented the senior pitcher/hitter from Langley, B.C., with the award earlier this evening at the Opening Ceremony of the NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla.

    "The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award is a great honor for everyone playing for the University of Washington. I have a great team that I am happy to share this award with," Lawrie said. "While it may have my name on it, I think this is something that we all won because everything we do, we do together. I could not do what I do without each of them. I hope this is the start of a great week for our team."

    She is only the second player to receive the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year honor multiple times, joining Texas pitcher Cat Osterman, who received the award in three times, including back-to-back in 2005 and 2006. Other past winners are UCLA's Stacey Nuveman (2002), Florida State's Jessica Van der Linden (2004), Tennessee's Monica Abbott (2007) and Virginia Tech's Angela Tincher (2008).

    Lawrie, who led Washington to a National Championship last season, opens play at the WCWS Thursday when the No. 3 seeded Huskies take on No. 6 Georgia. The two other finalists in consideration for the 2010 award were Pac-10 Player of the Year Megan Langenfeld (Bakersfield, Calif.) of No. 5 UCLA, which will open the WCWS against No. 4 Florida, and ACC Player of the Year Jen Yee (North Delta, B.C.) of Georgia Tech. Langenfeld and Yee, both seniors, were Top 3 Finalists for the first time in their careers.

    "When I heard who else was nominated, I knew this was not a lock for Danielle," said Washington Head Coach Heather Tarr. "When you hear Jen Yee reached base at least once in all 62 games, which is amazing, and you start to hear the stats of Megan Langenfeld, who has always been a tough conference opponent, you know there are no guarantees. The panel of voters could have selected any one of them to win tonight and it would be deserved. I think it is a great honor for Danielle and for our program to be recognized by such a respected group for the second year in a row. Her accomplishments this season really show the strength of the University of Washington."

    It has been a storied season for the senior ace, who has thrown four no-hitters including three perfect games, the latter of which is tied for a Pac-10 record. Heading into the WCWS, Lawrie has amassed a 40-3 record with a 1.00 ERA, 478 strikeouts and just 41 walks in 288.1 innings, including wins over 2010 WCWS teams Arizona, Hawaii and UCLA. She finished the conference season 17-2 with a 1.01 ERA with 212 strikeouts and just 25 walks in 125.1 innings. Lawrie is 21-3 against ranked teams this year with 266 Ks in 162.1 innings.

    She has a nation-best 24 shutouts to break her own single-season school record. Twice this season she had streaks of 25-straight scoreless innings. Lawrie's 40 wins are second on the single-season charts while her 478 strikeouts are second, behind her own record. The senior ranks in the top five nationally in strikeouts, ERA, wins, walks per seven innings and strikeouts per seven innings.

    Facing elimination against Oklahoma in the Super Regionals last weekend, she helped the Huskies reach Oklahoma City with back-to-back shutouts. She struck out 10 in a two-hit, 3-0 victory in the first game and then followed that with 17 strikeouts (in just seven innings) in the nightcap as the Huskies punched their tickets to the WCWS with a 4-0 win. Her season high for strikeouts is 18, which came in a 10-inning three-hit shutout of California, a team which advanced to the Super Regional Championships this season. She is just one of just four pitchers to ever go over 1,800 career Ks.

    In her career, she ranks fourth in NCAA history in shutouts with 1,843 and now owns the conference record in the same category. She has broken UW's career wins record this year to give her seven of the 10 career pitching records.

    While known for her work in the circle, Lawrie has been equally impressive at the plate, leading the Huskies in home runs (15), RBI (57) and slugging percentage (.616), all of which are career highs. Lawrie had a pair of multi-home run games in preseason play, including one in which she had a career-high six RBI with a two-run home run and grand slam. She hit her first career walk-off home run in UW's 2-1 win over Stanford the same weekend the Huskies clinched their third Pac-10 title and first since 2000. She had a five RBI game against nationally ranked Arizona State this year.

    Among Lawrie's other accolades for the season, she was named the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week three times, becoming the first player ever to receive the award more than twice in a single season, and was twice named the NFCA National Player of the Week. Lawrie was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week eight times. She was named First Team All-Pacific Region and First Team All-Pac-10 along with earning the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year award for the second straight season.

    For more information on the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, including a complete list of the Top 10 and Top 25 Finalists, visit the "College Corner" of www.usasoftball.com. To win the award, athletes did not have to be on the Top 50 Watch List but did have to be named on the narrowed down lists of finalists released throughout the season.

    Alyssa Chambers is an Assistant Director for Fresno State Athletics Communications.  She can be reached at achambers@csufresno.edu.

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