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BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (May 11, 2023) – Two Southeastern Conference student-athletes are among the top 10 finalists for the 2023 TUCCI/NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year.
Representing the SEC on the Top 10 list are Reagan Johnson of Arkansas and Karyln Pickens of Tennessee.
Johnson, an outfielder from Karnes City, Texas, has a .377 batting average and leads the Hogs in hits (72), runs scored (41), stolen bases (17) and triples (4). She also has a .412 on-base percentage with 20 RBIs. Johnson is ranked second in the SEC in hits and tied for fourth in triples. Nationally, his 72 hits lead all freshmen and tied him for ninth place overall.
Pickens, a right-handed pitcher from Weaverville, North Carolina, appeared in 24 games with the Lady Vols and had nine wins and two saves in 81.2 innings pitched. She whipped up 94 batters and held them to a .176 batting average. In conference, Pickens has a 2.35 ERA with six wins, one save and 62 strikeouts in 50.2 innings of work. She was named SEC Rookie of the Week three times and Pitcher of the Week once during her rookie campaign. The award was established in 2014 to honor outstanding athletic achievement by first-year Division I softball student-athletes. To be eligible, student-athletes must be nominated by their Member Head Coach and in their freshman year of NCAA Division I collegiate competition as a true freshman or redshirt freshman.
Annie Aldrete (Tennessee, 2014), Kasey Cooper (Auburn, 2014) and Amanda Lorenz (Florida, 2016) have previously received the NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award from SEC member institutions.
The three finalists for this award will be revealed on Thursday, May 25. The winner will be announced Tuesday, May 30 before the start of the 2023 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. The top 25 list was selected by the NFCA, while the top 10, top three, and winner are voted on by the NFCA Division I All-America Committee. Nominated student-athletes remain in consideration for the selection of the top 10.