Oklahoma City, - - Florida’s Kelly Barnhill and Mississippi State’s Caroline Seitz share USA Softball Collegiate National Player of the Week honors
OKLAHOMA CITY — Strong outings in the circle and at the plate have landed Florida’s Kelly Barnhill (Marietta, Ga.) and Mississippi State’s Caroline Seitz (Birmingham, Ala.) USA Softball Collegiate National Co-Player of the Week honors for Week 10 of play USA Softball announced today. This marks the first Player of the Week accolade for each athlete, who helped lead their respective teams to Southeastern Conference (SEC) series wins on the road.
Barnhill earned four victories in the circle for the Gators last week, each win coming over a Top 25 ranked opponent. With three of those wins by way of a complete game shutout, the sophomore pitcher didn’t allow a single run to cross the plate during her 23 innings in the circle. Opening up the week against Georgia, Barnhill fanned 14 batters in a three-hit shutout. She followed it up with two innings of relief in a non-conference meeting against Florida State. Entering the game in the sixth inning, Barnhill issued three strikeouts while keeping the Seminoles hitless through the final two innings. Barnhill finished the week with back-to-back, complete game shutouts on the road against Kentucky. In the series opener, Barnhill fanned 15 batters and followed suit with another 15-strikeout, no-hitter performance in the series finale to help the Gators clinch the series.
"It feels amazing to be selected as the co-Player of the Week, but what’s more important is that the Gators won the weekend series with good defense and timely hitting against a tough SEC opponent,” said Barnhill. “I am truly humbled by the award. There are many great pitchers and players in this game and to be chosen is a great honor. My performance would have not been possible without my pitching coach and my catcher Janell Wheaton. With Janell behind the plate, my job gets a little easier.”
Barnhill finished the week with a perfect 0.00 ERA, issuing 47 strikeouts and allowing just five hits through 23 innings of work. This marks the first USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week honor for Barnhill, and is the first honor for an athlete from Florida since Week 10 of the 2016 season when fellow teammate Delanie Gourley earned the accolades.
“I am very proud of Kelly and her performance last week to help lead us to four wins over Top 25 ranked opponents,” said Florida Head Coach Tim Walton.
Mississippi State’s Seitz had a record-setting weekend at the plate as the Bulldogs earned a road SEC series win over Georgia. The senior third baseman started her week with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, including a grand slam, one run scored and six RBI. With the game tied up at 4-4 and the bases loaded, Seitz blasted a shot over the left field fence to put the Bulldogs ahead. Seitz once again had a multi-hit game in the second matchup of the series, going 3-for-4 at the plate and adding another grand slam to her weekend performance. With the blast, Seitz became the first player in Mississippi State history to hit a grand slam in back-to-back games. Seitz helped the Bulldogs clinch the series in the finale, going 2-for-3 at the plate with two home runs and three RBI.
“It really is an honor to receive this award,” Seitz said. “Honestly it was kind of a surreal weekend. I catch myself kind of grinning when I think about it. I am just glad I got to experience it with my teammates and help our team get the series win on the road. Our pitchers looked great as well and we are really coming together at the right time."
For the week, Seitz amassed a staggering .700 batting average (7-for-10) with 14 RBI, four home runs, four runs scored and a 1.900 slugging percentage. In addition to her grand slam accolades, Seitz also became the first player in Mississippi State history to record four home runs in a single SEC weekend series.
“This is an incredibly tough award to win,” said Mississippi State Head Coach Vann Stuedeman. “There are a lot of very good softball players in the country and in the SEC. Great things happen when you believe that in every opportunity there is a lesson. Caroline has been a soldier for us for four years and believes in opportunities. I could not be happier for her or our team.”
This marks the third USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week for Seitz and the first for an athlete from Mississippi State since the 2012 season when Jessica Cooley earned the honor in Week 4.
2017 USA Softball National Collegiate Players of the Week
Week 1 (Feb. 9-12): Sierra Hyland – Cal Poly – Senior – Pitcher – Visalia, Calif.
Week 2 (Feb. 13-19): Alyssa Denham – Louisiana – Freshman – Pitcher – Alvin, Texas
Week 3 (Feb. 20-26): Mo Mercado – Arizona – Senior – Infield – Temecula, Calif.
Week 4 (Feb. 27-March 5): Nicole Schroeder – Arkansas – Senior – Outfield – Yorba Linda, Calif.
Week 5 (March 6-12): Alexis Osorio – Alabama – Junior – Pitcher – Riverside, Calif.
Co-Week 6 (March 13-19): Braxton Burnside – Missouri – Freshman – Infield – Paragould, Ark.
Co-Week 6 (March 13-19): Sierra Hyland – Cal Poly – Senior – Pitcher – Visalia, Calif.
Week 7 (March 20-26): Danielle O’Toole – Arizona – Senior – Pitcher – Upland, Calif.
Week 8 (March 27 – April 2): Kaylan Jablonski – Nebraska – Junior – Pitcher – Omaha, Neb.
Week 9 (April 3-9): Rachel Garcia – UCLA – Freshman – Pitcher – Palmdale, Calif.
Co-Week 10 (April 10-16): Kelly Barnhill – Florida – Sophomore – Pitcher – Marietta, Ga.
Co-Week 10 (April 10-16): Caroline Seitz – Mississippi State – Senior – Infield – Birmingham, Ala.
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