Senior Lexy Bennett along with juniors Taylor Hoagland and Blaire Luna have been named to the watch list for the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, which is given by the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) each year. Texas is one of only five universities to have three athletes named to the watch list.
A combination of 50 sophomores, juniors and seniors are named to the watch list prior to the start of each season. At this time in the season, freshmen are ineligible to be considered for the watch list.
In April, 25 finalists will be chosen for the national player of the year award. To be chosen, athletes do not need to be part of the original 50, and freshmen who have played at the collegiate level are eligible for consideration. Of these 25 finalists, the pool will shrink to the top 10, top three and finally on May 29, the national player of the year will be selected.
Luna, the right handed All-American hurler from Austin, was a top 10 finalist each of the past two seasons. Last season, Luna went 28-7 and finished with a 1.27 season ERA. She finished the 2011 season ranked third in the NCAA and first in the Big 12 with 16 complete game shutouts. Her long list of national and conference accolades includes several mentions as conference player of the week as well as two national player of the week honors.
As an outfielder, Hoagland is fresh off her first season as a member of the 2011 USA National Softball Team. The Flower Mound native started in all 56 games for the Longhorns' last season and posted a .335 batting average that included 36 RBIs and a team high 15 home runs. Hoagland has been named to the All-Big 12 first team each of the past two seasons.
Despite an injury toward the end of the season, Bennett is returning for her final year of eligibility after a strong 2011 outing. Bennett posted a .438 season batting average, a team high and accounted for 51 runs and 41 RBIs, another team high. Last season, Bennett was a Top 25 Finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, but the injury to her right arm prevented her from finishing any higher.
The Longhorns will begin their 2012 season against Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Red & Charline McCombs Field.
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