CLEMSON, S.C. – For the first time in the program’s infancy, Clemson softball’s Valerie Cagle has been named a 2023 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top Three Finalist, the organization announced Wednesday.
The 2023 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed prior to the Women’s College World Series.
Cagle has been dominant for the Tigers in the circle and at the plate this season. On the rubber, she maintains a 1.20 ERA and a 23-5 record with three saves. Through 169 innings of work, she has struck out 177 batters and only allowed 16 extra-base hits and 29 earned runs. She has posted seven solo shutouts and limited opponents to a .177 average. Most recently in the circle, she struck out a season-high 12 batters against North Carolina in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament. The Yorktown, Virginia, native tossed her first-career perfect game earlier this season against Mercer on March 8, where she needed only 51 pitches to earn the victory. She struck out eight batters while never reaching a three-ball count to become the eighth Division I player, and first in the ACC, to toss a perfect game in 2023. She also threw an immaculate inning needing only nine pitches to strikeout three batters at Georgia Tech on March 24. She was named the ACC Pitcher of the Week on three occasions this season, and recently surpassed 700 career strikeouts.
Being a dual threat, Cagle has shined at the plate with a .457 average, .889 slugging percentage and .544 on-base percentage. She leads the Tigers with 74 hits, including 18 home runs, 14 doubles and one triple, and 53 RBIs. She has tacked on 46 runs and drawn 28 walks for Clemson while also stealing five bases. The reigning ACC Player of the Year and First Team All-ACC selection has also been named an ACC Player of the Week three times and named a Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Player of the Week once. She leads the team with 23 multi-hit and 16 multi-RBI games this year.
Cagle was previously named a USA Softball Top 10 Finalist in 2021, when she was also named the ACC Player and Freshman of the Year. She has two All-America nods under her belt, the first coming in 2021 as a Second Team selection and last season being recognized as a First Team honoree. She was a USA Softball Freshman of the Year Top Three Finalist in 2021, as well.
This season, Cagle has helped Clemson to a 46-9 record and 1.33 earned run average, which is the second-best ERA in the country. The Tigers are first…