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April 7, 2010
GREENSBORO, N.C.--The Atlantic Coast Conference landed four student athletes among 25 Finalists for this season's USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, announced today by the Amateur Softball Association. Named to the top-25 "watch list" were Florida State junior pitcher Sarah Hamilton, Georgia Tech freshman pitcher Hope Rush and senior second base Jen Yee, and North Carolina senior first baseman/pitcher Danielle Spaulding.
Hamilton, Yee, and Spaulding were each named to the original top-50 "watch list" prior to the start of the 2010 campaign, but Rush was added to the list after anchoring the Yellow Jacket pitching staff and guiding Georgia Tech to a pair of top-10 national rankings through the first half of the season.
Hamilton ranks among the top-20 nationally in three pitching categories. Her 11.6 strikeouts per seven innings pitched rank sixth, while her 1.01 earned-run average and 16 wins stand 13th and 20th nationally. Additionally, the Tallahassee, Fla., native has thrown two of the league's 13 no-hitters this spring, on consecutive days no less. Her five inning no-no against Hofstra on February 27 was followed by another no-hitter against Kent State on February 28. Florida State, which is ranked 19th by USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association and 16th by ESPN.com/USA Softball, holds 33-7 overall and 6-3 conference records.
Yellow Jackets rush and Yee have guided Georgia Tech, ranked 10th by USA Today/NFCA and 6th by ESPN.com/USASB, to a 32-5 overall record and a first-place standing with an 8-1 league mark. Yee has been named ACC Player of the Week three times thus far and leads the league in all three triple crown categories with a .567 batting average, 19 home runs, and 46 runs batted-in. The New Delta, British Columbia, native's batting clip ranks second in the nation, while her per game average of 0.51 home runs and 1.24 RBI lead the country and rank ninth, respectively.
Rush has pulled double duty for Georgia Tech this season, pitching herself to 18 wins, slotted 11th nationally, while hitting .294 with 11 home runs and 31 RBI. On the mound, Rush recently threw a no-hitter against league-foe Virginia Tech (Apr. 5), and her 18 wins and 1.24 ERA rank 11th and 25th in the nation.
Spaulding, a two-time defending ACC Player of the Year, is credited with five of the league's no-hitters this season, and last week tied the school record by authoring her 8th career no-no against Virginia (Apr. 3). This season, Spaulding's 11.5 strikeouts per seven innings pitched and 0.93 ERA stand seventh and eighth nationally. North Carolina is 27-13 overall and 5-7 in the ACC and currently is ranked 24th in the ESPN.com/USASB poll.
With four student-athletes on the list, the ACC is won of seven NCAA Division I conferences represented among the 25 candidates. The 25-person list will be reduced to 10 finalists on May 12 and to three finalists on May 26. The 2010 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced prior to the start of the 2010 NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.