NORMAN – Oklahoma pitcher Mariah Lopez has been named a Top 25 Finalist for the 2017 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year, it was announced Thursday.
Lopez has been a welcome addition to the pitching staff this season, combining with juniors Paige Parker and Paige Lowary to form a formidable trio in the circle. In 22 appearances in the circle this year, including 15 starts, Lopez has gone 13-1 with a 1.75 earned run average. She has struck out 75 batters and walked only 14 in 76.0 innings of work and has held batters to a .178 batting average. Lopez has thrown one shutout by herself and combined on seven others and has a save.
A native of Saugus, Calif., Lopez ranks third in the Big 12 in walk rate (1.36 per 7 IP), fourth in hits per 7 IP (4.47), strikeout rate (7.1 per 7 IP) and opponents’ average and is fifth in ERA and wins.
Entering the week, Lopez was fourth in the country among freshmen (min. 72.0 IP) for hits per 7 IP, seventh in ERA and 10th in strikeout rate.
The highlight of her debut season came on March 14 when she threw a no-hitter at Long Beach State. She came one batter away from a perfect game as the lone baserunner she allowed was a two-out walk in the sixth inning after retiring the first 17 batters of the game. Lopez struck out one while getting nine flyouts and 11 groundouts. She did it all on just 78 pitches to record the 48th no-hitter in program history.
Along with a save at Loyola Marymount later in the week, Lopez was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week for her efforts.
Other notable performances include a career-high eight strikeouts against Western Kentucky on March 5, seven strikeouts in four innings against Omaha on March 10 and six strikeouts in three innings vs. UIC on March 11.
On May 11, the list will be trimmed down to the top 10 finalists, while the top three finalists will be selected and released on May 24. In its fourth year, the Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year trophy will be presented during a live ceremony on May 30 prior to the opening of the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Lopez is looking to join Parker as the only Sooners to win the award after the latter won in 2015. Last year, Shay Knighten was one of three finalists for the honor.