LOUSIVILLE, Ky.—Carson-Newman junior pitcher Lacie Rinus has been named to the Schutt Sports/NFCA Division II Top 50 National Player of the Year Watch List, the NFCA announced Friday.
Rinus and Coker first baseman Maria Williamson are the only players from the South Atlantic Conference recognized on the list.
The junior is still awaiting her debut for her third season at Mossy Creek, she sat out the opening weekend with the flu.
Last year, Rinus joined second baseman Whitney Hickam as the only other two-year All-American since Carson-Newman moved to NCAA Division II. Hickam earned third team honors in 2007 before following it up in 2008 with a second team accolade.
Carson-Newman and SAC Hall of Famers Sammi Hatcher (1992-93) and Carol Zachary (1989-91) were multi-year All-Americans for the Eagles during the program's NAIA days.
Zachary is the program's only three-time All-American. Last year, Rinus earned Carson-Newman its 18th all-time All-American honoree. Rinus added the accolade to her SAC Player of the Year and SAC tournament MVP honors. Rinus is just the second pitcher in league history since the SAC began presenting a distinct Pitcher of the Year award in 2004 to be named player of the year.
She joined Carson-Newman warhorse Mary Shealy who brought home player of the year honors in 2011. The sophomore is the first player in league history to win both a pitcher of the year and a player of the year honor in a career. She joined former Carson-Newman pitchers Carol Zachary, Heather Randolph and Marci Mitchell (all three SAC Hall of Famers), who all won the award before the awards split in 2004, as Eagle hurlers who have taken home the Player of the Year honor.
Rinus was formidable both at the plate and in the circle on the year. She finished the year second in the league in batting average at .435. She had 70 hits, 19 doubles, three triples and a pair of home runs.
She got on base 52 percent of the time and slugged .656. She led the conference in hits and doubles, was fourth in triples and fourth in the league with 99 total bases. Her 19 doubles were top five in the country and were one away from the single-season school record in Carson-Newman history.
Rinus had 19 multi-hit efforts and seven multi-RBI days. She collected her first career four-hit day against Lenoir-Rhyne in the Eagles' home finale. In the circle, Rinus led the league in starts (36), complete games (25), shutouts (11), innings pitched (232.2) and strikeouts (223).
She had the fifth best batting average against in the league at .221 and the fifth best ERA in the conference at 2.12. She matched her career high for strikeouts on a trio of occasions this year, striking out 12 against Queens, Wingate and Mars Hill.