St. John's, Notre Dame, Rutgers and Louisville Take Home 2012 Softball Awards


SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Four schools shared the BIG EAST softball regular-season awards, as major award winners and all-conference teams were announced on Wednesday evening at the 2012 BIG EAST Softball Championship banquet, held at the Double Tree by Hilton South Bend hotel. St. John's senior catcher Kacee Cox was named the BIG EAST Player of the Year while Notre Dame sophomore Laura Winter was tabbed the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year. Rutgers pitcher Alyssa Landrith was declared the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and Louisville received BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year honors. Awards are voted on by the league head coaches, who are not permitted to vote for their own players.


Cox was selected as the BIG EAST Player of the Year after topping the league in five major offensive categories in conference play this season. She led all hitters with a .484 batting average and a .968 slugging percentage. She ranked first with 30 hits, including a league-leading eight home runs, to give her a .558 on-base percentage. The senior also ranked first in total bases, with 60 in conference play. Cox also excels behind the plate, where she picked off nine base-runners this season, six more than the closest competitor. In addition to being named BIG EAST Player of the Week on April 30, Cox was named the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Player of the Week.


Winter earned the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year honor after ranking among the top six players in most pitching categories for conference games. She led the league with 13 conference victories and ranked second with a 1.21 ERA. In 98.2 BIG EAST innings pitched, the sophomore fanned 102 batters and topped the conference with 38 strikeouts looking. Winter produced a 25-8 overall record as the top hurler for the Irish. She was honored as the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week on April 23.


The BIG EAST Rookie of the Year award was presented to Landrith, who ranked among the top 10 in nearly every pitching statistic for conference games, including second with 102.0 innings pitched. She garnered eight wins while compiling an ERA of 1.85 and holding opposing batters to just a .218 average. In her first collegiate year, she took on the bulk of the Scarlet Knights' pitching, making 34 appearances. Landrith earned an 18-11 overall record and an 8-8 conference mark.


Louisville head coach Sandy Pearsall, associate head coach Carol Bruggeman, assistant coach Courtney Scott, volunteer assistant coach Lacy Wood and director of operations Lisa Pinkston were unanimously selected the 2012 Coaching Staff of the Year. This is the second coaching honor for UofL and the first since 2006. The No. 8/9 Cardinals, who have been ranked in both the Softball and USA Today/NFCA polls all year, produced a 50-3 record this season, setting a school mark for wins in a season. UofL also set a school record for the longest winning streak, when it opened the season 28-0. In a win against St. John's on May 5, the Cardinals earned the program's, and its coaching staff's, 500th victory since its inception in 2000. Louisville led the conference in batting average (.314), slugging percentage (.489), runs scored (282) and total bases (696) among other offensive statistics, while finishing second in ERA (1.33) and opponent batting average (.182). The Cards are competing as the No. 1 seed at the championship after earning their second BIG EAST regular-season title.


The 2012 All-BIG EAST Teams also were announced Wednesday, with the first team comprised of representatives of seven schools. Louisville and Notre Dame lead the way with three players apiece while Syracuse has two. St. John's, Connecticut, USF and DePaul each have one player on the first team. Syracuse second baseman Stephanie Watts and DePaul pitcher/first baseman Kirsten Verdun were both unanimous selections.


The 2012 BIG EAST Softball Championship will be held at Melissa Cook Stadium on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. Competition will begin on May 10 with four games. No. 4 USF and No. 5 DePaul will open the tournament with a game at 10 a.m. and No. 1 Louisville will face No. 8 Connecticut at 12:30 p.m. In the second session, No. 3 Syracuse will play No. 6 St. John's at 4 p.m. while No. 2 Notre Dame will take on No. 7 Rutgers at 6:30 p.m. The first round and semifinals will be streamed live on the BIG EAST's Championship Central site, while the championship game on May 12 at 6 p.m. will be televised live on ESPN2.


2012 BIG EAST Player of the Year
Kacee Cox, St. John's, Sr., C

2012 BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year
Laura Winter, Notre Dame, So., P

2012 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year
Alyssa Landrith, Rutgers, Fr., P

2012 BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year

All-BIG EAST First Team
P Tori Collins, Louisville
P Laura Winter, Notre Dame
C Kacee Cox, St. John's
1B Dani Miller, Notre Dame
2B Stephanie Watts, Syracuse *
3B Kim Silva, Connecticut
SS Kourtney Salvarola, USF
OF Kristin Austin, Louisville
OF Alexa Maldonado, Notre Dame
OF Veronica Grant, Syracuse
U/P Kirsten Verdun, DePaul *
DP/U Taner Fowler, Louisville

All-BIG EAST Second Team
P Sara Nevins, USF
P Jenna Caira, Syracuse
C Amy Buntin, Notre Dame
1B Stephanie Medina, USF
2B Katie Keller, Louisville
3B Kelly Hmiel, Pittsburgh
SS Chloe Saganowich, Notre Dame
OF Kelsey Thornton, Notre Dame
OF Kristi Cady, St. John's
OF Janine Richardson, USF
DP/U Amy DeLuca, Connecticut

All-BIG EAST Third Team
P Caralisa Connell, Louisville
P Alyssa Landrith, Rutgers
P Stacy Kuwik, Syracuse
C Holly Stevens, Pittsburgh
1B Alicja Wolny, Louisville
3B Brittney Lindley, Rutgers
SS Whitney Arion, Louisville
OF Jennifer Esteban, Louisville
OF Jordan Trimble, Louisville
OF Chandler Howard, Rutgers
DP/U Mary Connolly, DePaul