CLEMSON, S.C. – For the second time in her career, redshirt junior Valerie Cagle has been selected as a Top 10 Finalist for the 2023 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, the organization announced Wednesday.
USA Softball Release | Valerie Cagle – Best Two-Way Player in the Country
The eventual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will come from the top 10 finalists with the top three being announced on May 17. The 2023 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed prior to the Women’s College World Series.
Cagle has excelled on the field in the circle and at the plate in 2023. In the circle, she boasts an 22-5 record with a 1.22 ERA. She has thrown 161 innings this season and allowed just 28 earned runs. Cagle leads the Tigers with 165 strikeouts while only walking 28 batters. She has limited her opponents to a .180 batting average and has allowed only 16 extra-base hits. The Yorktown, Virginia native has tossed seven solo shutouts, three combined, in her 32 appearances. One of her solo shutouts is credited to a 5.0 inning perfect game thrown against Mercer on March 8 where she needed only 51 pitches to strikeout eight batters while never reaching a three-ball count to become the eighth Division I player, and first in the ACC, to throw a perfect game in 2023. She eclipsed 600 career strikeouts in the performance and currently sits with 695 in her tenure. Earlier this season, she also threw an immaculate inning needing only nine pitches to strikeout three batters at Georgia Tech on March 24. She has been named ACC Pitcher of the Week three times this season.
Succeeding at the plate as well, Cagle holds a .468 average with 73 hits, including 18 home runs which is a program record, 14 doubles and one triple. She has tallied 53 RBIs and scored 46 runs while posting a .917 slugging percentage and .554 on-base percentage. The redshirt junior has drawn 27 walks and stole five bases. She was a perfect 4-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored against Ohio State (Feb. 19) and clocked two hits with three RBIs and three runs scored against in-state rival South Carolina on March 28. Cagle has been named ACC Player of the Week three times this season and was named Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Player of the Week after her performance at Georgia Tech. She has been an NFCA Selected Top Performance on five occasions and leads the team with 23 multi-hit games and 16 multi-RBI games.
Cagle was previously named a USA Softball Top 10 Finalist in 2021, when she was also named the ACC Player and Freshman of the Year. She has two All-America nods under her belt, the first coming in 2021 as a Second Team selection and last season being recognized as a First Team honoree.
This season, Cagle has helped Clemson to a 45-8 record and 1.35 earned run average which sits second in the country. The Tigers rank first in the ACC in ERA, fielding percentage (.982), shutouts (18) and win/loss percentage (.849). Cagle ranks first in the conference in batting average (.468), hits (73), on-base percentage (.554), shutouts (7), slugging percentage (.917), total bases (143) and victories (22). She also sits in the top 15 of the nation in 10 categories, the top 10 in six, the top five in three and leads the country in total bases.