The 2019 college softball regular season is winding down, and several pitchers have emerged, staking their claim to be the best in the game.
Some are doing it by piling up strikeouts, while others are stranding batters on the base path. There are some who aren’t fanning opposing hitters, but forcing them to hit into easy outs.
We broke down the numbers and looked at three statistics — earned run average, strikeouts per seven innings and hits allowed per seven innings — to find the best pitchers in college softball.
These three stood out from the rest.
Nicole Newman, Drake
The Drake Bulldogs are 30-13 overall and 15-1 in Missouri Valley Conference play this season, and Newman is a big reason why. The redshirt senior from Madison, Wisconsin has been named MVC Pitcher of the Week seven times this season. So far in April, she’s pitched 29.2 innings over seven appearances and has allowed just eight hits. She’s tossed three perfect games this year, the first featuring 15 strikeouts against Indiana State on March 30. She hasn’t given up an earned run since March 26.
Newman is first in the nation in strikeouts per seven innings (12.8) and hits allowed per seven innings (3.01). She’s also racked up the most total strikeouts this season, fanning 255 batters. Newman is 11th in the nation in ERA, with a 1.11 mark.
Gabbie Plain, Washington
An ace from Australia, the sophomore has been stellar for the Huskies’ pitching staff this season, ranking 10th in the nation in ERA (1.10), fourth in hits allowed per seven innings (3.40) and 17th in strikeouts per seven innings (9.3).
Plain has had six outings this season where’s she’s pitched at least three innings and didn’t give up a single hit in the game. She tossed back-to-back seven-inning no-hitters on March 9 and 10, notching shutout victories over Northern Illinois and Seattle.
Rachel Garcia, UCLA
A redshirt junior from Palmdale, California, Garcia has become one of the best softball players in the country. In 2018, she was named USA Softball, NFCA and ESPNW National Player of the Year, and Pac-12 Player of the Year.
This season, her superb play has continued. Garcia is fourth in the country in strikeouts per seven innings (11.2), 17th in hits allowed per seven innings (3.91), second in ERA (0.65) and second in strikeout-walk ratio with a mark of +9.
While she has a 17-0 record, Garcia isn’t just a star pitcher. She’s solid at the plate too, hitting for an average of .337 this season with seven home runs and 34 RBIs. On March 9, Garcia showed off her stamina and versatility, pitching 11.2 innings over two games and striking out 23 batters from the circle, and also notching three hits and an RBI at the plate. Many consider UCLA a contender for the World Series and Garcia is a big reason why.
BUH-BYE!!!! pic.twitter.com/VC3EWM3H8j— UCLA Softball (@UCLASoftball) April 14, 2019
Mitchell Northam is a graduate of Salisbury University. His work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel, SB Nation, FanSided, USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times. He grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore and is now based in Durham, N.C.