NORMAN – Oklahoma sophomore infielder Shay Knighten has been nominated for an ESPY Award in the Best Championship Performance category, ESPN announced Wednesday.
The 2017 ESPYS, hosted by Peyton Manning, will air live on ABC at 7 p.m. CT on Wednesday, July 12 at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Fans will have the chance to select the winners by voting at ESPN.com/ESPYS.
Knighten was named the Women's College World Series' Most Outstanding Player after hitting .350 (7-20) with four runs scored, two doubles, a home run and six runs batted in as the Sooners swept top-seeded Florida for OU's second straight national title, third in the last five years and fourth overall.
The Buena Park, Calif., native had clutch hits in each of the Sooners' wins over the Gators.
In game one, Knighten was the hero as she broke a 4-4 tie in the top of the 17th inning with a towering three-run home run to left field. It was her 11th of the season and the third WCWS home run of her young career.
In game two, the Sooners found themselves trailing Florida 3-2 in the bottom of the second when Knighten stepped in with the bases loaded and two outs. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Knighten smashed a bases-clearing double to right center, giving OU a lead it would not relinquish.
In addition to being the WCWS Most Outstanding Player, Knighten was a second team All-American and first team All-Region honoree for the second straight year. She was also named the Big 12 Player of the Year after leading the team with 70 RBI and hitting .358 with a .575 slugging percentage, a .435 on-base percentage, 49 runs scored, 13 doubles, 28 walks and nine stolen bases.
Also nominated in the category with Knighten are Tom Brady, who led the New England Patriots to a comeback win in the Super Bowl, Kevin Durant, who helped the Golden State Warriors to an NBA title and Deshaun Watson, who quarterbacked Clemson to the national championship.
Should Knighten win, she'd be the second college athlete to take home the honor since the award was introduced in 2001, joining Texas' Vince Young who won in 2006.
Knighten's nomination marks the third time in the last five years that the Oklahoma softball team has been nominated for an ESPY. In 2015, Lauren Chamberlain was nominated for Best Record Breaking Performance after setting the NCAA career home run record, while in 2013, the Sooners were up for Best Team after winning the 2013 national championship and Keilani Ricketts was nominated in the category of Best Female College Athlete.
Prior to that, the last time Oklahoma was nominated for an ESPY came in 2009 when Sam Bradford and Blake Griffin were each in the running for Best Male College Athlete.