PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Six BIG EAST softball athletes from five schools were named NFCA Division I All-Americans as announced by the National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association. USF’s Sara Nevins, Notre Dame’s Amy Buntin and DePaul’s Kirsten Verdun were named second team All-Americans while Syracuse’s Jenna Caira and Louisville’s Tori Collins and Taner Fowler were selected to the third team.
Nevins, an All-BIG EAST Second Team member, leads the conference with a 1.03 ERA and has struck out 323 batters on the year. The sophomore set conference records for being named BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week six times this season, and for five-consecutive weeks. Nevins led the Bulls to their first Women’s College World Series appearance after beating Hofstra in a best-of-three series in the Super Regionals.
Buntin picked up second team All-America honors after ranking among the top-10 in almost every league offensive statistic. The junior led the BIG EAST with 60 RBI and 45 runs scored. She also ranked seventh in batting average (.360) and slugging percentage (.616) and fourth in hits (62), home runs (12) and total bases (106). Buntin also was an All-BIG EAST Second Team member.
Verdun was named a second team All-American after proving herself as a dual threat in the pitching circle and in the batter’s box. The sophomore led the league with 272.0 innings pitched and collected 27 victories while striking out 266 batters. Verdun also ranks among the top-10 in batting average (.363), slugging percentage (.631), hits (61) and RBI (41) among others. She also was named to the All-BIG EAST First Team.
On her way to earning All-America third team honors, Caira led Syracuse to its deepest postseason run in program history. The senior, and All-BIG EAST Second Team member, fanned 279 batters this season, en route to becoming the only pitcher in BIG EAST history to record 1,000 career strikeouts. The 2011 BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year and two-time BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player (2010 and 2011) led the league with a .158 opponent batting average and ranked among the top-four in nearly every pitching statistic this season.
Collins was named a third team All-American after leading Louisville to its most successful season in program history. The Cardinals posted a 55-5 record, and Collins was 25-5 this season. The senior recorded a 1.37 earned run average to rank second in the league. She also ranked second with a .179 opponent batting average while striking out 186 batters in 179.1 innings pitched. Collins also was named to the All-BIG EAST First Team.
Fowler earned All-America third team honors after a stellar sophomore campaign. She led the conference with 118 total bases while also ranking among the top-10 in batting average (.366), slugging percentage (.645), hits (67), RBI (52) and home runs (12). Fowler also was named to the All-BIG EAST First Team.