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Thursday, May 12, 2016

National Player of the Year Top 10 Finalists Announced

The group of ten finalists for the 2016 National Player of the Year award have been announced, narrowing the list from the twenty-five finalists announced last month.

Twice-defending champion and likely NCAA #1 seed Florida has two representatives on the list, the only school who can boast that. Two other SEC schools, Alabama and Auburn, are represented by a single player each, as are Michigan; Minnesota; Notre Dame; Florida Atlantic; James Madison; and Louisiana-Lafayette.

Pitchers Delanie Gourley and Aleshia Ocasio represent the Gators as finalists - Ocasio leads the Gators with a 0.71 ERA and a 19-1 record. She's collected 127 strikeouts in 128 innings and allowed just fourteen extra base hits. Gourley sports an 0.76 ERA and an 18-3 record. She boasts more than 200 strikeouts of her own, while opponents are batting just .142 against her.

Auburn's Kasey Cooper - the SEC Player of the Year and likely national award front-runner - batted .435 on the year, with nineteen homeruns and seventy-three RBI. She led her team in five statistical categories, numbers that also included a .939 slugging percentage.

Michigan's Sierra Romero is one of just three seniors in the final ten. For her part, she is batting .485 on the season with sixteen homeruns, seventy-one RBI, and a .947 slugging percentage. She has earned forty-two walks on the year and scored sixty-six times.

Alabama senior outfielder Haylie McCleney; James Madison sophomore pitcher Megan Good; Minnesota junior pitcher Sara Groenewegen; Florida Atlantic junior pitcher Kylee Hanson; Notre Dame junior outfielder Karley Wester; and Louisiana-Lafayette's injured senior catcher Lexie Elkins round out the list of finalists.

Perhaps the most glaring omission from the ten finalists might be Washington's Ali Aguilar, who posts a .362/20/58 thus-far and boasts an .872 slugging percentage. She leads the PAC-12 in home runs, RBI, and slugging percentage.

The list of finalists will be narrowed down one more time, to the final three, on May 25, while the winner will be selected a week later prior the start of the Women's College World Series.

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