GREENVILLE, North Carolina – Second year Addison Barnard was named American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, it was announced Wednesday afternoon.
The American released his regular season awards, highlighted by the second straight Shocker to win player of the year honors after Sydney McKinney won the award in 2021. Wichita State ranked eight on all-conference teams, tied for most of any school with UCF.
The Beatrice, Neb., was a threat to opposing pitchers in conference play. Barnard hit .435 with 15 home runs, five doubles, 26 runs and 38 RBI to go with a 1.242 hitting percentage. At one point, Barnard had six straight games, tied for the second longest in NCAA history. She tied the school single-game record with three homers in a 24-1 win at East Carolina. Barnard enters the postseason leading the nation in home runs (30), RBIs (77) and total bases (160) to go with a .409 average and 25 stolen bases. She is the only player in the country with at least 20 homers and 20 stolen bases.
Barnard is the third Shocker to win American Player of the Year honors, joining McKinney (2021) and Mackenzie Wright (2018). She also became an all-conference first-team selection twice.
McKinney (unanimously), Neleigh Herring, Lawrence Lucas and Lawrence Mills. All five first-team caps are tied with UCF. erin mcdonald, Jessica Garcia and Zoe Jones were named to the second team, while Alison Cooper was a unanimous pick for the All-Rookie team.
McKinney joins a select group of Shockers to earn three all-conference first-team selections. Only five other players in school history have been selected to the first team three times. McKinney leads the nation in batting average (.497), hits (83) and runs per game to go with five triples, 12 doubles, 13 homers, 37 RBIs and 65 runs scored. She is just five hits away from breaking her own single-season hitting record, which she set just a season ago. Earlier this season, McKinney became Wichita State’s all-time leader.
Herring made two consecutive seasons in the first team. In his senior campaign, Herring is hitting .344 with 14 home runs and 40 RBIs. She is one of six Shockers with 10 or more homers this season. In conference play, Herring hit .420 with six home runs and 21 RBIs.
A second breakout campaign saw Lucas rewarded with his first All-Conference selection. In the league, Lucas led all The American players with an average of .491. For the season, she is hitting .409 with 10 homers, 12 doubles, 36 RBIs and 39 runs.
Mills is also a top All-Conference pick. The Topeka native hit .306 with seven home runs and 20 RBIs in conference play and hit .277 overall with 12 home runs and 39 RBIs. His home run and RBI totals are career highs.
McDonald is a two-time all-conference second-team member after doing so in 2019. The Norman, Okla., native is 9-8 in the circle this season with a team-best 82 strikeouts. She saved her best for conference play where she went 4-2 with a 3.00 ERA, which included a no-hitter against Memphis.
Behind a 10-game career hit streak, Garcia has come alive in league action. Four of his five homers and 11 of his 16 RBIs have come in conference with a .357 batting average.
Texas Tech transfer Jones has settled in well in his first season as a Shocker. Behind a .331 GAA, Jones is second on the team in doubles (11), homers (15) and RBI (49). His nine home runs and 26 RBIs in conference play also ranked second on the team. At Texas Tech, she had never had more than seven home runs and 26 RBIs in a single season. Jones thrived under Wichita State’s coaching staff.
Perhaps no player has improved as much over the season as freshman left-handed pitcher Cooper. Cooper was a perfect 5-0 in the circle with a 2.46 ERA in AAC play, while recording three complete games. For the season, Cooper has a team-leading 3.24 ERA with an 8-2 record in the circle. Her stellar throwing started with a 2-1 victory in the series finale at South Florida where she allowed just one run on just four hits.
Wichita State opens the 2022 American Athletic Conference Championship Thursday as the No. 2 seed against 7th seed Memphis at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT on ESPN+.
2022 American Athletic Conference Softball Regular Season Awards
Player of the Year
Addison BarnardWichita State
Defensive Player of the Year
Justene Molina, UCF
pitcher of the year
Georgina Corrick, South Florida*
Rookie of the Year
Micaela Macario, UCF
Coaching Staff of the Year
All-Conference First Team
P – Gianna Mancha, UCF
P – Georgina Corrick, South Florida*
C – Jada Cody, UCF*
1B- Neleigh HerringWichita State
1B – Kylie Norwood, Tulsa
2B – Justene Molina, UCF
3B – Kennedy Searcy, UCF*
SS- Sydney McKinneyWichita State*
DE – Denali Schappacher, UCF
DE – Alexis Johns, South Florida
OF – Addison BarnardWichita State
OF – Lawrence LucasWichita State
DP/U/Non-P – Lawrence MillsWichita State
Second Team All Conferences
P – Kama Woodall, UCF
P – Kenna Wilkey, Houston
P- erin mcdonaldWichita State
C – Kati Ray Brown, Houston
IF – Micaela Macario, UCF
IF – Becca Schulte, Houston
IF – Abby Jones, Tulsa
IF – Jessica GarciaWichita State
IF – Zoe JonesWichita State
DE – Taudrea Sinnie, East Carolina
DE – Paige Hulsey, Houston
DE – Gracie Morton, Memphis
DP/U/Non-P – Ashleigh Griffin, UCF
All Rookie Team
P – Jordan Hatch, East Carolina
P- Alison CooperWichita State*
C/DP – Ashleigh Griffin, UCF*
IF – Micaela Macario, UCF*
SI – Celeste Wood, Tulsa
DE – Kailyn Bearpaw, Tulsa
* indicates unanimous selection