LSU's Fico finalist for Player of the Year
The award, considered the Heisman Trophy of women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
"We're extremely pleased that Rachele has been recognized on USA Softball's prestigious list," head coach Beth Torina said.
"She has had an outstanding season and is very deserving of this honor." Fico joins former All-Americans Britni Sneed, Leslie Klein, Kristin Schmidt and Kirsten Shortridge as the only LSU players named as USA Softball Top 25 finalists. Sneed and Schmidt were one of 10 finalists for the award during the 2002 and 2003 seasons, respectively.
In 2006 and 2007, Klein was one of 25 finalists for the honor followed by Shortridge in 2010. Fico has amassed a 14-4 record with a blistering 0.81 ERA and is one of only two pitchers during the 2012 season to defeat No. 2 Alabama. The junior right-hander accomplished this feat in-front of a Rhoads Stadium record crowd of 3,521 fans.
Fico has won seven straight decisions going back to March 16 and already tossed nine shutouts highlighted by a quartet of one-hitters. The four-time Louisiana Pitcher of the Week is ranked in the Top five nationally in ERA and shutouts.
In her four losses on the season, Fico has received only one total run of support. The Top 25 list represents 17 schools and eight different conferences. It's comprised of 13 seniors, seven juniors, four sophomores and one freshman. Just days before the start of post-season play, a list of 10 finalists will be announced on May 9.
The three finalists will be announced two weeks later on 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 2012 NCAA Women's College World Series 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.
LSU continues its season's long seven-game road swing and wraps up its season series Wednesday at Southeastern Louisiana. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at North Oak Park in Hammond. Live stats will be available in the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live. There is no radio broadcast of Wednesday's contest on the LSU Sports Radio Network.
Fans also can follow every pitch of LSU softball this season via live in-game updates on LSU softball's social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsusoftball and @lsu_softball on Twitter.
Here are the finalists for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. Name (School) - Year - Position - Hometown
Valerie Arioto (California) - Senior - Utility - Pleasanton, Calif.
Lexy Bennett (Texas) - Senior - Infield - Kingwood, Texas
Katelyn Boyd (Arizona State) - Senior - Shortstop - Phoenix, Ariz.
Kayla Braud (Alabama) - Junior - Outfield - Eugene, Ore.
Lauren Chamberlain (Oklahoma) - Freshman - Infield - Trabuco Canyon, Calif.
Raven Chavanne (Tennessee) - Junior - Third base/Outfield - Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Rachele Fico (LSU) - Junior - Pitcher - Oxford, Conn.
Ashley Hansen (Stanford) - Senior - Infield - Chandler, Ariz.
Jolene Henderson (California) - Junior - Pitcher/First base - Elk Grove, Calif.
Kaitlin Inglesby (Washington) - Sophomore - Pitcher/First Base - Portland, Ore.
Ashley McClain (Florida International) - Senior - Outfield/Pitcher - Brandon, Fla.
Michelle Moultrie (Florida) - Senior - Center field - Jacksonville, Fla.
Sara Nevins (South Florida) - Sophomore - Pitcher - Pinellas Park, Fla.
Christi Orgeron (ULL) - Senior - Outfield - New Orleans, La.
Sara Plourde (UMass) - Senior - Pitcher - Bristol, Conn.
Kimi Pohlman (Washington) - Senior - Outfield - Sammamish, Wash.
Jamia Reid (California) - Senior - Outfield - Buena Park, Calif.
Ellen Renfroe (Tennessee) - Sophomore - Pitcher - Jackson, Tenn.
Keilani Ricketts (Oklahoma) - Junior - Pitcher - San Jose, Calif.
Hannah Rogers (Florida) - Senior - Pitcher - Lake Wales, Fla.
Jordan Rutkowski (Valparaiso) - Senior - Catcher/Outfield - Alden, N.Y.
Jessica Shults (Oklahoma) - Junior - Catcher - Valencia, Calif.
Chelsea Thomas (Missouri) - Redshirt Junior - Pitcher - Pleasantville, Iowa
Jackie Traina (Alabama) - Sophomore - Pitcher/Designated player - Naples, Fla.
Delaney Willard (BYU) - Senior - Outfield - Camarillo, Calif.