Four Bruins Named to USA Softball Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List

 

January 25, 2024

G Laase (FSG)

UCLA softball player Maya Brady is one of the best players in the nation.

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Four members of the No. 8 UCLA softball team have been named to the 2024 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List, the organization announced Wednesday.

Redshirt seniors Maya Brady and Sharlize Palacios and sophomores Megan Grant and Jordan Woolery were among the athletes listed. The four Bruins rank second in terms of representation on the list.

Recognized as the most distinguished individual honor in NCAA Division I Softball, two Bruins have received the honor a total of three times. Rachel Garcia was a back-to-back winner of the award following the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and Stacey Nuveman won the award in 2002.

Brady was a Player of the Year Top 3 Finalist and the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year last season in 2023, recording a conference-best .448 batting average, .866 slugging percentage and 33 extra-base hits. Brady, who transitioned from her role in center field to shortstop midway through the season, ranked second in the Pac-12 in runs batted in (59) and home runs (18). The Thousand Oaks, Calif. native became the fourth Bruin ever and first since B.B. Bates in 2013 to record four multi-homer games in a single season.

Palacios was one of the top catchers in the Pac-12 a season ago, registering a .311 batting average and 10 home runs before her season was shortened due to a left-hand injury. She was named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team for the second time and an All-Pac-12 Team for the third time in her career in 2023.

Megan Grant and Jordan Woolery, a pair of NFCA Freshman of the Year Top 10 Finalists in 2023, enter their sophomore seasons as two of the top 50 stars in the country.

Grant, an NFCA Second Team All-American and All-Pac-12 First Teamer, ranked second among all freshmen in the country with 58 runs batted in. Grant paced all Pac-12 freshmen in RBI, home runs (15), doubles (14) and slugging percentage (.695). The sophomore utility hit leadoff for the Bruins in the final 25 games of the season, belting three leadoff homers in the process. Grant heated up down the stretch to tie Brady for the most home runs in the Pac-12 during conference play with nine. Her 14-game hitting streak from March 18-April 16 was UCLA's longest of the season.

Woolery, the 2023 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and an NFCA Third Team All-American, led all Pac-12 freshmen and ranked second on the team with a .390 batting average (64 hits). Woolery logged 10 home runs, 12 doubles and 46 runs batted in her 57 starts. The Walnut Creek, Calif. product announced her arrival in emphatic fashion with a grand slam off then-No. 15 Alabama's Montana Fouts for her first career home run.

UCLA opens the 2024 season versus Cal State Fullerton at Easton Stadium on Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. (PT).

 

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