OKLAHOMA CITY — After helping their teams to a perfect record in last week’s competition, Florida’s Kelly Barnhill (Marietta, Ga.) and UCLA’s Rachel Garcia (Palmdale, Calif.) have been named USA Softball Collegiate National Co-Players of the Week, USA Softball announced today. Barnhill, who also earned Southeastern Conference (SEC) Co-Pitcher of the Week, recorded her first perfect game of her career and also pitched a no-hitter while Garcia allowed just one run in 17 and two-third innings while producing a .529 (9-for-17) average at the plate.
Junior pitcher Barnhill started the week with a one-hit performance with 15 strikeouts, a season-high, in a 6-2 win over Oakland. She would earn her second win of the week after fanning nine batters in a 7-2 win over Maryland. Her next appearance resulted in a no-hitter against Iowa State in which she fanned nine batters in an 8-0 (five inning) shutout. Barnhill continued her dominance in the circle, tossing five perfect innings in an 8-0 shutout over Georgia Southern with 11 strikeouts.
“I am really honored to receive this award,” said Barnhill. “We had a great weekend, we were hitting the ball left and right and our defense made some great plays. Of course, none of this would have ever been possible without Janell (Wheaton) behind the plate. She has a nice stabilizing personality that makes you feel comfortable no matter the situation, but she can also be tough on you. Also, without (Jennifer) Rocha’s pitch calling those games would be completely different. I couldn’t imagine being somewhere without her calling pitches. Overall it was a great weekend, great team wins and I can’t wait to see what we can do in California this week.”
For the week, Barnhill went 4-0 in the circle with 44 strikeouts and a 0.31 ERA in 22 and two-third innings in the circle. This marks the second time Barnhill has been named USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week after she earned the honor in Week 10 of the 2017 season.
“I am extremely proud of Kelly and the body of work she was able to put together last week,” said Florida Head Coach Tim Walton. “She has been working tirelessly to improve every facet of her game, so to see the results from that work be recognized by USA Softball goes to show how valuable Kelly was to her team last week.”
A redshirt sophomore, Garcia did it all in helping the Bruins to a perfect 6-0 record on the week. Picking up a save against Grand Canyon to start the week, Garcia retired all six batters faced to lock up a 7-6 win over Grand Canyon. In matchups against two ranked opponents, Garcia would be a steady presence both in the circle and at the plate. Against then-No. 23 Nebraska, Garcia struck out 11 batters while going 2-for-2 with one RBI and followed with a 12-strikeout performance against then-No. 8 LSU while going 1-for-3 with two RBI. In her final outing of the week in the circle, Garcia picked up a win in relief versus Missouri with three and two-third shutout innings while going 3-for-3 with one RBI. She then closed out the week with two runs scored and one hit away from another perfect outing at the plate in a win over Fresno State.
"I am truly honored and humbled to receive the USA Softball Player of the Week award,” said Garcia. “I want to give credit to our team. This team is special and we are doing some great things right now. I go out there and do what I am supposed to do and I know that I have each one of my teammates support. I am incredibly blessed to be surrounded by such great athletes and coaches because I couldn’t do any of this without them."
Going 3-0 with a save in the circle, Garcia produced a .529 (9-for-17) average at the plate with four RBI. This marks the second time Garcia has earned USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week, having previously earned the honor in Week Nine of the 2017 season.
"Rachel is a fierce competitor and continues to get better every outing,” said UCLA Head Coach, Kelly Inouye-Perez. “She brings great confidence to our Bruin team and leads by example both in the circle and at the plate."
2018 USA Softball National Collegiate Players of the Week
Week 1 (Feb. 8-11): Vanessa Shippy – Oklahoma State – Senior – Infield – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Week 2 (Feb. 12-18): Kylee Hanson – Florida State – RS Senior – Pitcher – Jupiter, Fla.
Co-Week 3 (Feb. 19-25): Kelly Barnhill – Florida – Junior – Pitcher – Marietta, Ga.
Co-Week 3 (Feb. 19-25): Rachel Garcia – UCLA – RS Sophomore – Pitcher – Palmdale, Calif.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 69 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 150,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2 million. USA Softball is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch. USA Softball annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 National Championships. The USA Softball umpire program is among the nation’s largest and are widely known as the best trained umpires in the game.
As the NGB for the sport of softball, USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in events such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, World Championships and other international and domestic events. For more information on USA Softball, including its founding and history as the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), please visit,www.USASoftball.com.
About the NCAA Women’s College World Series
USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium – OGE Energy Field serves as the home to the NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS). For the 28th year, the top eight college teams in the nation will head to Oklahoma City and compete for a national championship. Last year, over 70,000 fans attended the WCWS. Be there to Share The Experience with softball fans from across the country May 31-June 5/6 in Oklahoma City. Tickets for the 2018 NCAA WCWS are on sale now, click here to purchase your tickets and secure your championship experience!