Tide Players Up For Big Honor

The Amateur Softball Association announced the 25 finalists for the 2007 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year this week with Alabama's Lauren Parker and Chrissy Owens each named to the list.

"We are all very proud of what Chrissy and Lauren have done this season so far," said Alabama Head Coach Patrick Murphy. "Not only are they great on the field, they are two of the finest kids we have had in the program."

Lauren Parker, a sophomore middle infielder, has had a breakout year in her first season with the Tide after transferring from Baylor. She has been stellar at the plate this season for Alabama and leads the SEC in several categories. She is currently hitting .476 (49-of-103) and has an on-base percentage of .521 to lead the conference. Her average is 49 points higher than any other player in the SEC. She also ranks among the top-10 in slugging pct. (2nd, .825), total bases (3rd, 85), RBI (T-3rd, 37), runs (4th, 36), home runs (T-5th, 8), hit-by-pitch (T-6th, 5), hits (7th, 49) and triples (T-10th, 2).

"It is a great honor," said Parker. "I wasn't expecting anything like this. I have tried to come in and have fun playing this year and try to let the rest take care of itself. There are some big time names on this list and it is a great honor to be named one of 25 finalists. I just have to keep coming out and trying to have fun while I play."

Through 16 SEC games, Parker leads the league in six offensive categories. She is first with a .480 avg., .740 slugging pct., .518 on-base pct., 13 runs, 24 hits and 37 total bases. She is second in both RBI (13) and sacrifice flies (1), third in doubles (4) and fifth in home runs (3).

Parker was named SEC Player of the Week on Feb. 26 after she was tabbed the Hampton Inn Crimson Classic Tournament MVP. She set or matched tournament records for avg. (.643), hits (9), runs scored (6) and doubles (3). She also had a home run, six RBI and two stolen bases. She had four multi-hit games and scored a run in all six contests. She was also named to the Easton Spring Fling All-Tournament Team.

This season Parker has tallied hits in 29 of the 38 games she has played in. She leads the team with 16 multi-hit games and 12 multi-RBI contests. She had two or more hits in five straight games against Arkansas and No. 8 LSU. During that span she hit 11-of-17 (647) with two home runs, four RBI and five runs scored. She has driven in a run in 20 games this season and scored a run in 28 outings. She had a streak of 13 straight games with a run scored from Feb. 16 – March 4.

Chrissy Owens, a junior pitcher from Miami, Fla., has been equally as impressive on the mound for Alabama. She was one of the last pitchers in the country to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten as she started the season 16-0. She recently picked up her 17th win of the year and is 17-2 overall with 113.2 innings pitched and 89 strikeouts. She has 12 complete games in 18 starts with eight shutouts. The Tide has recorded 12 total shutouts in games Owens has pitched in this season.

"I am really honored," said Owens. "I have to give a lot of credit to my team because without them there supporting me and scoring runs this would have never happened. They deserve a lot of credit."

She was nearly un-hittable during the Tide's four tournament championships. She was named to the All-Tournament team in the Hampton Inn BAMA BASH!, Hampton Inn Crimson Classic and Easton Spring Fling. She only allowed two runs in her first 55 innings this season for a 0.25 ERA. During that span Owens was 10-0 with five shutouts and the Crimson Tide cruised to a 21-0 record. She only allowed 41 hits during the span while striking out 57 batters. In her start against Indiana State on Feb. 24 she set a career high with 13 strikeouts.

Throughout the entire season her ERA has never been above 1.00. She currently has a 0.80 ERA to rank second in the SEC. She is third in the conference with 17 wins and 13 earned runs allowed. She has started 18 games to rank seventh in the league and her 113.2 innings pitched is the eighth most in the SEC. Opponents have only hit two home runs off her this season.

In SEC play, she is 6-2 with a 1.38 ERA and 32 strikeouts. She has pitched five complete games with three shutouts. In 55.2 innings she has allowed 11 earned runs on 52 hits. She leads the SEC with nine conference starts. She is second in innings pitched and appearances, third in wins and fourth in ERA. In three games at South Carolina she pitched 12.2 innings and only allowed one run on eight hits with nine strikeouts.

The 25 finalists consist of players representing 17 colleges and six different NCAA Division I conferences. Among the list are 12 seniors, seven juniors, five sophomores and one redshirt freshman.

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