Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Hollowell a Finalist for Player of Year
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: May 30, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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OKLAHOMA CITY --- Arizona senior pitcher Alicia Hollowell has been named one of three finalists for the fifth annual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award.

It's Hollowell's second time among the final three. She was a finalist for the honor as well as for the Honda Softball Award, as a sophomore in 2004 when she finished with a UA-record 41-4 pitching record.

An initial watch list -- which included Wildcat junior centerfielder Caitlin Lowe was released on February 1 and a list of 25 finalists was announced April 7.  The top 10 finalists were announced on May 10, including Lowe, and now that list has been cut to the top three players. Lowe was one of the three finalists a year ago.

 The other two finalists for the 2006 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award are also pitchers, junior Monica Abbott of Tennessee and senior Cat Osterman of Texas. Osterman won the award the last two years.

The award will be announced Tuesday evening at opening ceremonies of the Women's College World Series here, where all three finalists will be leading their teams into action.

Hollowell, of Suisun, Calif., takes a 27-4 pitching mark and an earned run average of 1.00 into UA's game Thursday against Oregon State at the Women's College World Series. Abbott, of Salinas, Calif., is 41-8 and has an ERA of 0.88, which she'll put on the line against top-seeded UCLA on Thursday. Osterman, of Houston, faces off against Arizona State with a record of 37-2 and the nation's best ERA at 0.39.

Abbott and the Volunteers knocked off the 2005 National Champion Michigan Wolverines in Super Regionals to advance to the WCWS for a second consecutive year.  She is currently fourth in the NCAA Division I career strikeout list with a 1,668 career strikeouts.  Hollowell, who owns nearly all Arizona pitching records, and last week joined Osterman and former Southern Mississippi ace Courtney Blades as one of only three pitchers in Div. I history to strike out 1,700 batters. On the season Hollowell gave up only 37 runs, second-best in the nation, in 209.1 innings pitched. Osterman has led Texas to three consecutive WCWS appearances. Last week she moved to No. 4 in the NCAA record books for strikeouts in a single season with 590.  She heads into the WCWS leading the nation in ERA, strikeouts, runs allowed (14) and hits (66).

  “Alicia is very deserving. We are very excited that USA Softball is honoring her,” said Candrea. “She has had a great year and career and been a huge part of our success the past four years.”

“It’s a really big honor with all the amazing athletes that are playing softball this year. To be in the top three is a really big honor for me,” said Hollowell. “I have had a whole new approach and had fun doing it. I have wanted to go out this season and make some great memories since it’s my senior year.”