CLEMSON, S.C. – For the third consecutive year, Clemson softball’s pitcher/utility player, Valerie Cagle, has been named a Top 25 Finalist for the 2023 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, the organization announced Wednesday.
The eventual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will come from the top 25 finalists. The top 10 will be announced on May 3 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 had yet another standout season in 2023 both in the circle and at the plate. In the circle, she boasts an 20-3 record with a 0.73 ERA. She has thrown 134 innings this season and allowed just 14 earned runs. Cagle leads the Tigers with 143 strikeouts while only walking 23 batters. She has limited her opponents to a .157 batting average and has allowed only 10 extra-base hits. The Yorktown, Virginia native has tossed seven solo shutouts, three combined, in her 27 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 673 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, and last week pitched 10.2 innings clocking victories against both South Carolina and NC State with nine strikeouts.
Being a dual threat, Cagle has also shined at the plate holding a .485 average with 64 hits, including 18 home runs, 13 doubles and one triple. She has tallied 52 RBIs and scored 43 runs while posting a .1.008 slugging percentage and .575 on-base percentage. The redshirt junior has drawn 25 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 20 multi-hit games and 16 multi-RBI games. Last week, she combined for four home runs against NC State and South Carolina bringing her season total to 18 which marks a single-season program record, leads the ACC and is tied for the nation lead. She is on a five-game hitting and RBI streak.
Cagle was named an NFCA First Team All-American in 2022 and an NFCA Second Team All-American in 2021. She is a two-time All-ACC First Team selection, as well as being the 2021 ACC Player and Freshman of the Year.
This season, Cagle has helped Clemson to a 41-5 record and 1.13 earned run average which sits second in the country. The Tigers rank first in the ACC in doubles (75), ERA (1.13), fielding percentage (.981), on-base percentage (.423), shutouts (17) and win/loss percentage (.891), and Cagle ranks first in batting average (.485), ERA (0.73), hits (64), home runs (18), on-base percentage (.575), RBIs (52), shutouts (7), slugging percentage (1.008), total bases (133) and victories (20). She also sits in the top nine of the NCAA in each of those categories, including leading the nation in home runs and total bases.