Alabama senior Kelsi Dunne (Port Orange, Fla.) and sophomore Kayla Braud (Eugene, Ore.) were named Top 25 Finalists for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, as announced by the organization Wednesday. It is the second time the duo has made the cut to the top 25.
The award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
The Top 25 list represents 17 schools and six different NCAA Division I Conferences. The list is comprised of nine seniors, six juniors, nine sophomores and one freshman. The 2011 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be chosen from the 25 finalists.
Dunne was named to the top 25 for the second time in her career as she also earned the honor in 2009. The senior leads Alabama with an 18-2 record and a 1.08 ERA. The right-hander has struck out 209 in 136 1/3 innings pitched and has held opposing batters to a .134 average.
Dunne enters the weekend second in the Alabama career annals with 102 wins and 1097 career strikeouts. She is just 16 shy of tying the record (1113) held by Stephanie VanBrakle and 13 wins shy of the record of 115 wins held by Shelley Laird. Dunne leads the SEC in strikeouts and opposing batting average while her ERA and wins rank second.
Braud finds her name on the top 25 list for the second consecutive season. The sophomore leads the team with a .460 average, 63 hits, 52 runs, 10 doubles, a .540 on base percentage and 44 stolen bases. Her 44 stolen leads the country.
The outfielder leads the SEC in stolen bases, runs scored and hits and ranks second in batting average. Braud put together the second longest hitting streak in school history as she combined with her 2010 effort to end with a 28-game streak. She reached base in a school record 52 consecutive games.
Dunne and Braud will return home after a two-week road trip to face Mississippi State in a three-game SEC series. The two teams will open the weekend on Friday, April 15, with first pitch slated for 6:30 p.m.