Tide's Traina, Braud Softball Finalists

OKLAHOMA CITY – Alabama sophomore pitcher and designated player Jackie Traina (Naples, Fla.) and junior outfielder Kayla Braud (Eugene, Ore.) were named Top 25 finalists for the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced on Wednesday.

It is the third year in a row that Braud has been named a top 25 finalist and a career first for Traina. Braud leads Alabama with a .385 average, 42 hits and seven doubles while ranking second on the squad with 35 runs score and 25 stolen bases.

Traina has proved to be one of the top pitchers in the country as she enters the weekend with an unblemished 23-0 record. She set a school record by recording 25 straight decisions with taking a loss. The right-hander sports a 1.21 ERA and has struck out 195 in 145 innings while holding opponents to a paltry .168 batting average.

This award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.

Now in its 11th year , previous recipients of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award are UCLA catcher Stacey Nuveman (2002), Texas pitcher Cat Osterman (2003, 2005 and 2006), Florida State pitcher Jessica Van der Linden (2004), Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott (2007), Virginia Tech pitcher Angela Tincher (2008), Washington pitcher Danielle Lawrie (2009 and 2010) and Stanford shortstop Ashley Hansen (2011).

This year's Top 25 is comprised of 13 seniors, seven juniors, four sophomores, and one freshman. The student-athletes selected represent 17 NCAA Division I universities and eight athletic conferences. While California and Oklahoma lead the way among universities with three athlete representatives each, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Washington each have two members among the Top 25 Finalists.

Just before the start of post-season play, a list of 10 finalists will be announced on May 9. The three finalists will be announced May 23, while the winner of the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be revealed on May 29 prior to the start of the NCAA WCWS in Oklahoma City.

The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award is voted on by coaching representatives from 11 Division I Conferences in the 15 ASA Regions as well as members of the media who consistently cover Division I Softball across the country.

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