Mackenzie Audas and Shelby Turnier could be UCF’s first All-Americans
It has been a historic season for the UCF Knights Softball program. The Knights currently are ranked 13th in the country in the NFCA Poll and one of the main reasons for that is their dominant pitching staff.
The staff is led by the 1-2 punch of Shelby Turnier and Mackenzie Audas. Turnier and Audas have each raised their level this year to an incredible level: the Knights lead the NCAA in ERA (0.89), strikeouts and shutouts.
In her senior season, Audas has broken UCF’s career records for most wins, strikeouts, starts, appearances and no-hitters. She claimed the wins record on April 11 against Houston by throwing her fifth career no-hitter, breaking Allison Kime’s record of four.
Audas has broken most of Kime’s other records this season, re-writing the UCF Softball pitching record book in the process. She is on pace to break the single-season school record of strikeouts per seven innings (10.5). Audas also is only one of four active pitchers with more than 900 strikeouts in a career, currently with 939, which puts her third behind only North Carolina State’s Emily Weiman (975) and Western Kentucky’s Miranda Kramer (1,052).
Turnier Breaks Out
Junior Shelby Turnier leads the NCAA in ERA (0.75) and is among the leaders in shutouts, wins, strikeouts. She became the first UCF Softball player to be named a finalist for the USA Softball College player of the Year Award. Turnier also has won National Pitcher of the Week Award three times season, becoming only the second Knight to do so (UCF Hall of Famer Stephanie Best won the National Player of the Week Award in 2003 for her performance against Army when she tied an NCAA record with 11 RBIs in one game).
Turnier and Audas have each won the American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week award five times this season, winning the award in ten of the season’s first 11 weeks.
Where Do They Stack Up?
Turnier and Audas’ incredible season got me thinking out loud: Could UCF Softball have two All-American pitchers playing at the same time? How common is that?
ESPN’s Graham Hays has covered College Softball for many years. In his weekly softball article, “Five Things You Need to Know,” breaks down how often it has happen which is nine times in the last decade. Hays mentioned that Turnier and Audas have a chance to reach 20 wins and 250+ strikeouts together in the same season – something last done by a pair of teammates in 2009 by North Carolina’s Lisa Norris and Dannielle Spaulding.
As for the All-American team, the First, Second, and Third Teams are announced around the Women’s College World Series. Each team has three spots for pitchers, plus a Utility/Pitcher spot and a At-Large Pitcher spot. So as many as five pitchers can make each All-American Team – a total of 15 in all.
Below are the contenders with their stats prior to 4/21/15. Here’s how Audas’ and Turnier’s numbers stack up to other top pitchers in the country in the All-American conversation:
[table id=216 /]
NOTE: Parenthesis indicate player’s NCAA ranking in that category.
Safe to say if Audas and Turnier keeps pitching like they have all season. Both will add another first to the program. The first two All-Americans from UCF.
SportstalkFlorida.com’s Insider Jeff Sharon contributed to this report.
For more on Mackenzie Audas and Shelby Turnier, Read UCFKnights.com’s Jenna Marina feature on Audas and Turnier “Shake and Bake”
My Interview with Audas and Turnier prior to the start of the season right here.