April 9, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Receiving national recognition for their excellent play so far this season, Maddie O'Brien and Lacey Waldrop were selected to be among the Top 25 Finalists for the 2014 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year as announced by The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball on Wednesday. The award is in its 13th year and was won by former Seminole Jessica van der Linden in 2004.
"This is a great honor for both of these ladies and just shows how much work and effort they put in to be successful," said head coach Lonni Alameda. "They are leaders on this team and represent this program and university well. While they have great individual numbers, we all know that this is a team game and they couldn't be where they are without their family behind them to challenge and support them.
O'Brien is putting together the best offensive season in Florida State history. The Palm Harbor, Fla., native is currently batting .451 (55-for-122) with 14 doubles, 16 home runs, 63 RBI, 42 runs scored and 24 walks. Her 16 home runs and 63 RBI have already shattered FSU single-season records and the 34 home runs in her first three seasons are an FSU all-time record.
The redshirt junior shortstop currently leads the NCAA in home runs, RBI and slugging percentage (.959) and is also in the top-20 in the nation in on-base percentage (.543 - 15th) and batting average (.451 - 18th). In six games against ranked opponents so far in 2014, O'Brien is batting .412 with two home runs, five walks and seven RBI.
"I'm honored to be nominated for this award, but I realize it would not be possible without the support from my entire Seminole family," said O'Brien. "From teammates to coaches to fans in the stands, I feel like anything is possible with them behind me! Go `Noles!"
Waldrop has been nearly unhittable in the circle this season. She leads the nation with a 25-2 record and is second in the country with a 0.70 ERA. The Chester, Va., native has been named ACC Pitcher of the Week a record seven times this season and was honored as the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Player of the Week on March 4.
The junior has allowed more than one earned run in only three of her 29 appearances in 2014 and is eighth in the NCAA and leads the ACC with 195 strikeouts. She leads the ACC in five different categories, including opposing batting average (.160). Waldrop has thrown three no-hitters this season and five in her career.
"It is absolutely amazing to share this honor and this moment with my teammate, Maddie O'Brien, but these honors are based on team performance," said Waldrop. "Our family works so hard every day to reach our goals and we all perform together. Without the outstanding defense and offensive numbers put up behind me none of this would be possible."
O'Brien, Waldrop and the rest of the No. 7/8 Seminoles take on the No. 8/6 Florida Gators tonight, April 9, at 6:00 p.m. at JoAnne Graf Field. It is the final game of the home-and-home regular season series between the two teams and will be broadcast on ESPN3.
Follow Florida State softball on Twitter (@FSU_Softball) and Instagram (fsusoftball), and like our Facebook page (Facebook.com/FSUsoftball) to keep with everything about Seminole softball throughout the 2014 season.