OKLAHOMA CITY — After helping the Bruins snap a 35-game winning streak by the top-ranked team in the nation, UCLA’s Rachel Garcia (Palmdale, Calif.) has earned the Week 9 USA Softball Collegiate National Player of the Week, USA Softball announced today. The redshirt freshman earned a pair of wins in the circle against the No. 1 Oregon Ducks while also adding four hits at the plate to help her team climb three spots in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll and earn the Pac-12 Conference series win. For her efforts, Garcia was also honored as the Pac-12 Conference Pitcher and Freshman of the Week for the second time this season in each category.
“I am extremely honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Garcia. “I want to say that it really belongs to the entire team. We really came together and played some outstanding Bruin softball against a very strong opponent. We stuck to our plan and it was successful.”
In the series opener against the Ducks, Garcia struck out three batters in a five-hit, complete-game shutout. Allowing just one runner to reach third base throughout the entire contest, Garcia retired the final 11 batters of the game and did not walk a single Oregon batter. At the plate, she also scored what would prove to be the winning run in the 2-0 victory, singling and scoring in the second inning of the game.
Garcia was just as dominant in the second game of the Pac-12 series in a relief effort as the Bruins became the first team since 2013 to blank Oregon in back-to-back games. Combining for a five-hit shutout, Garcia tossed three scoreless innings while fanning three batters and issuing just two hits in the extra-inning thriller.
For the week, Garcia posted a 2-1 record with eight strikeouts in 12 and two-third innings pitched for a 1.66 ERA. She also hit .500, adding four hits in eight at-bats with a pair of doubles in the series finale.
“Rachel has been relentless with her rehab to get back on the field this season,” said UCLA Head Coach Kelly Inouye-Perez. “She is a fierce competitor in the circle and at the plate. This is a well-deserved recognition for her for helping our program achieve two big wins against Oregon.”
This marks the first USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week honor for Garcia and the first for a UCLA athlete since the 2014 season when Ally Carda was tabbed the Week 3 Player of the Week.
2017 USA Softball National Collegiate Players of the Week
Week 1 (Feb. 9-12): Sierra Hyland – Cal Poly – Senior – Pitcher – Visalia, Calif.
Week 2 (Feb. 13-19): Alyssa Denham – Louisiana – Freshman – Pitcher – Alvin, Texas
Week 3 (Feb. 20-26): Mo Mercado – Arizona – Senior – Infield – Temecula, Calif.
Week 4 (Feb. 27-March 5): Nicole Schroeder – Arkansas – Senior – Outfield – Yorba Linda, Calif.
Week 5 (March 6-12): Alexis Osorio – Alabama – Junior – Pitcher – Riverside, Calif.
Co-Week 6 (March 13-19): Braxton Burnside – Missouri – Freshman – Infield – Paragould, Ark.
Co-Week 6 (March 13-19): Sierra Hyland – Cal Poly – Senior – Pitcher – Visalia, Calif.
Week 7 (March 20-26): Danielle O’Toole – Arizona – Senior – Pitcher – Upland, Calif.
Week 8 (March 27 – April 2): Kaylan Jablonski – Nebraska – Junior – Pitcher – Omaha, Neb.
Week 9 (April 3-9): Rachel Garcia – UCLA – Freshman – Pitcher – Palmdale, Calif.