We are one month into college softball, so we have all gotten a good look at the new talent this season. Last year, we saw the likes of Jordy Bahl, Emma Lemley, Cydney Sanders, and more. This year, we already have multiple freshmen off to hot starts in 2023.
Here are the top freshmen to watch that have been on 🔥 to start the season (all stats through March 9):
Jocelyn Erickson — Oklahoma
Jocelyn Alo no longer suits up in her Oklahoma Sooners uniform, but now we have another Jocelyn to watch in college softball. Erickson has started off her freshman campaign in a big way. She headlines this list, and when I start telling you the numbers, you will understand why. Erickson is not only performing well for a freshman, but leads the entire OU lineup. We are talking the strongest offense in the nation and No. 1 team in the nation. Not only that, but her .568 average ranks third in the entire NCAA. She is tied for first on the team with five homers, and sports a 1.108 slugging percentage and team leading 25 RBI. Watch out for Jocelyn Erickson and I mean it. She is taking the sport by storm.
NiJaree Canady — Stanford
Alright, here is the next freshman that is absolutely dropping jaws this season. NiJaree Canady has been close to untouchable in the circle for Stanford. She has a .00 ERA with over 70 strikeouts through 44 innings pitched. Do I need to repeat that stat line? She is one of just three pitchers remaining in the entire nation with a .00 ERA, and she has the most innings pitched out of all of them. (Nicole May and Lexie Delbrey are the two others) Not to mention, Candy has already thrown a couple of no-hitters. This freshman is on fire.
There is another freshman at Stanford to know — River Mahler. If Canady is shining in the circle, Mahler is shining in the batters box. The freshman leads the lineup with a .449 average.
Viviana Martinez — Texas
The 2022 national runner-ups brought in a stellar freshman in Viviana Martinez. The middle infielder leads the Longhorns with a .515 average and is tied for first on the team with 21 home runs.
Olivia DiNardo — Arizona
Over at Arizona, Olivia DiDardo is shining bright in her freshman season. She too is hitting over .500 to start the season — one of 16 players in the NCAA, total — and she, Martinez and Erickson are the only three freshmen in the ranks.
Ruby Meylan — Washington
Time for another pitcher on the list. Ruby Meylan has been outstanding for the Huskies so far this season. She leads the pitching staff with a minuscule .45 ERA through just over 60 innings pitched and has 88 strikeouts. Those 88 Ks rank eighth in the NCAA this season.
Karlyn Pickens — Tennessee
Tennessee has a loaded pitching staff, but there is a freshman in the mix. Karlyn Pickens currently has a .52 ERA as she splits time with Ashley Rogers and Peyton Gottshall in the circle.
A few more freshmen of note:
- Cassidy Curd at Duke boasts a .6 ERA
- Megan Grant at UCLA has 27 RBI, and Jordan Woolery has had an impressive start for the Bruins
- Mihyia Davis at Louisiana has 19 stolen bases and highlight plays in center field:
⏪ 𝙄𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙩 𝙍𝙚𝙬𝙞𝙣𝙙— Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns® Softball (@RaginCajunsSB) February 25, 2023
The 👀 𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐳𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐜𝐡 👀 from Mihyia Davis on defense in the 3rd inning in Baton Rouge. 💎🥎#GeauxCajuns ⚜️ | #SCTop10 pic.twitter.com/POGVjsYnkd
- Robyn Herron at Arkansas has 71 strikeouts so far and a .81 ERA, and that's with splitting time with Chenise Delce
- Kenleigh Calahan at Alabama is hitting over .400, currently