LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Carson-Newman sophomore pitcher Lacie Rinus (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) is one of 50 NCAA Division II softball players named to the NFCA/Schutt National Player of the Year award watch list.
Rinus, Lenoir-Rhyne outfield Erin Boone and Newberry's Haley Simonds and Natalie Willis are the only players from the South Atlantic Conference to make the list.
Rinus is 1-1 this season with a 0.54 ERA. She has struck out 18, the second most in the league, through 14 innings of work. She won the league's first SAC Pitcher of the Week honor.
Last year, Rinus became the fourth Eagle pitcher to be recognized as an All-American with second team accolades from the NFCA and third team honors from the D2CCA. She joined Heather Randolph (1995), Zoe Heim (2008) and Carol Zachary (1989-1991). Rinus is the first Eagle to ever earn All-America honors as a utility/pitcher.
Rinus added the All-America accolade to all-region and region Pitcher of the Year plaudits in a prolific year where she had already stuffed her trophy case with placards for SAC Freshman of the Year, SAC Pitcher of the Year and SAC Tournament MVP. She was the first player in league history to win all three of those awards in the same season. Rinus is the just the second player in the league's history to take both Freshman and Pitcher of the Year honors in the same season. She joins Catawba's Carly Tysinger (2013) as the only other player to receive that distinction.
She became the second Carson-Newman pitcher to earn the league's top honor for hurlers, joining Megan Elliot, who did it in 2005. Rinus was the fifth Carson-Newman player recognized as the league's freshman of the year and the most recent since Elliot was lauded in 2003. She joined Elliot and SAC Hall of Famer Marci Mitchell as the only two C-N pitchers to receive the accolade.
The Murfreesboro, Tenn.-native led the conference in strikeouts (232), batting average against (.205), earned run average (1.56) and wins (26). She also led the league in shutouts, overtaking first place with back-to-back scoreless outings to clinch C-N the SAC tournament title.
On three occasions last year, Rinus garnered AstroTurf South Atlantic Conference and Tennessee Sportswriters Association Pitcher of the Week accolades. She was lauded with recognition as the Fastpitch News National Pitcher of the Week on April 5th. She did not allow an earned run from March 22 – April 5th, a streak of 35 consecutive innings.
Rinus pitched a season-high 12 strikeouts against Erskine on Feb. 22. She has hit double digit strikeouts on seven occasions this season. Perhaps more impressive is her strikeout to walk ratio, which sits at 6.75:1. There have been 13 starts this year where Rinus did not issue a base on balls. At the plate, Rinus has also proved to be an asset.
She hit .356, the second highest average among regulars on the team. Her 12 doubles and three triples are both second on the team. She hit an inside-the-park home run against Brevard. She has collected 12 multi-hit games this year, the third most on the team. She has a staggering seven, three-hit efforts, which is tied for the second most in a single season for a Carson-Newman player in the last seven seasons.
The previous honorees of the award are Courtney Poole, North Georgia (2015), Lyndsay Butler, Wayne State University (2016) and Coley Ries, Minnesota State (2017).
2018 Schutt Sports / NFCA Division II Player of the Year Watchlist
*Denotes returning NFCA All-American
Courtney Barnhill Outfield Sophomore Angelo State University
Janessa Bassett* Outfield Senior Dixie State University
Erin Boone* Outfield Junior Lenoir-Rhyne University
Taylor Brandts Pitcher Senior UVa Wise
Jessica Brown Catcher Senior Cal State San Bernardino
Rosa'Lynn Burton* Outfield Sophomore Wilmington University
Jayden Chestnut Pitcher Junior Central Oklahoma
Haleigh Christopher Catcher Sophomore University of Charleston
Angelique Elemen* Utility Junior Fort Lewis College
Sara Ercolani Second Base Senior West Chester University
Julia Garcia* Third Base Senior Cal State Monterey Bay
Haley Gilham* Pitcher Senior Chico State
Brooke Goad Outfield R-Senior Southern Arkansas University
Kilee Halbert Pitcher Senior West Texas A&M University
Ashley Hardin* Outfield Senior West Texas A&M University
Morgan Heard Shortstop Senior Central Oklahoma
Brooke Hodgson* Utility Senior Colorado Mesa University
Kala Holder* Infield Sophomore Pittsburg State University
Hanna Holland Outfield R-Junior Humboldt State University
Amanda Houck* Pitcher Senior West Chester University
Mariah Jameyson* Catcher Senior Texas A&M University-Commerce
Jamie Johnson* Third Base Senior UNC Pembroke
Sara Keeny Outfield Junior Kutztown University
Kacie Kelly* Second Base Sophomore Saint Leo University
Carly Kingery Pitcher Junior University of Missouri-St. Louis
Taylor Kline Shortstop Senior Ohio Dominican University
Jennifer Leonhardt* Pitcher Sophomore University of Southern Indiana
Caitlyn Lloyd Outfield Sophomore California Baptist University
Brandy Marlett* Pitcher Senior Angelo State University
Brenna Martini* Third Base Senior Adelphi University
Jess Meidl* Outfield Senior Minnesota State University
Jessica Mohl Shortstop Senior Valdosta State University
Marisa Monasseri* Catcher Senior Caldwell University
Emily Price* Shortstop Senior California (Pa.)
Christa Reisinger* Outfield Junior Truman State University
Lacie Rinus* Pitcher Sophomore Carson-Newman University
Meredith Rousse Second Base Senior Saginaw Valley State University
Jill Roye* Pitcher/First Base Senior Southern Arkansas University
Rhiannon Sassman Shortstop Junior University of West Florida
Julia Seader Catcher Junior LIU Post
Haley Simonds* Utility/Pitcher Sophomore Newberry College
Allie Smith* Infield Senior West Texas A&M University
Kylee Smith* Pitcher Sophomore University of North Georgia
Sydney Sprague* Shortstop Senior University of North Georgia
McKenzie Surface Pitcher Junior Colorado Mesa University
AnnMarie Torres* First Base Sophomore Colorado Mesa University
Hannah Vet* Pitcher Senior West Virginia Wesleyan College
Kelsey Vining Outfield Senior University of Montevallo
Magnolia West Outfield Sophomore Palm Beach Atlantic University
Natalie Willis Second Base Junior Newberry College