During the first-ever Athletes Unlimited Softball College Draft, held on May 10 on Facebook, 12 college seniors, who were selected by already signed players, were invited to join the roster for season two.
The draftees were introduced by members of the Athletes Unlimited Softball Player Executive Committee: Victoria Hayward, Gwen Svekis, Haylie Wagner, Jazmyn Jackson, and Tori Vidales, and trailblazers in professional sports including: Miami Marlins General Manager Kim Ng; softball icon and philanthropist Natasha Watley; Team USA and Athletes Unlimited Softball Champion Cat Osterman; ESPN Analyst and Athletes Unlimited Advisory Board member Jessica Mendoza; Canadian Olympian Danielle Lawrie; former University of Oklahoma All-Star first baseman Lauren Chamberlain; and Texas A&M legend Amanda Scarborough.
Meet the 12 athletes invited to join the 2021 Athletes Unlimited Softball roster.
Images courtesy of UCLA Athletics
Rachel Garcia, RHP, UCLA
Garcia has earned numerous awards throughout her collegiate career as a Bruin. She led the team to the 2019 Women’s College World Series (WCWS) Championship, where she was named the WCWS Most Outstanding Player. As the nation’s best softball player in 2018 and 2019, she earned the Honda Sports Award and was named USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. She also won the 2019 Honda Cup as the top female athlete in the nation.
In the circle, she has a 1.34 career ERA and an 93-14 record. She is the NCAA Division I career leader amongst active players in strikeouts with 927 and batters have hit just .167 against her. A two-tool player, Garcia has also been impressive in the batter’s box, hitting .342 for her career with 39 home runs and 167 RBIs.
Garcia is also a three-time gold medalist with Team USA, taking home titles at the 2018 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women’s World Championship, 2019 Japan Cup and 2019 Pan American Games. She will be representing Team USA at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Images courtesy of Texas Athletics
Shannon Rhodes, OF, Texas
Rhodes has been leading the way for the Texas offense during the 2021 season. She has a team-high 15 home runs and 54 RBIs. Across 46 starts, she has a .368 average at the plate and eight stolen bases.
Rhodes spent the first two seasons of her collegiate career at the University of Oregon where she was named to the 2018 NFCA All-Pacific Region Second Team and helped the Ducks to the Pac-12 Conference title and a berth to the Women’s College World Series. As a freshman, she earned Pac-12 All-Freshman honors and was named the Eugene Regional MVP.
Images courtesy of Oklahoma Athletics
Giselle ‘G’ Juarez, LHP, Oklahoma
Juarez, who was the 2019 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, has continued her success at Oklahoma during the 2021 season. In 86.1 innings, she has posted a 2.59 ERA and a 15-1 record with 108 strikeouts. As a junior in 2019, she threw two perfect games, becoming just the second player in program history to register multiple perfect games in a season.
Juarez attended Arizona State for two seasons prior to transferring to Oklahoma. She has accumulated many honors, including being named an NFCA First-Team All-American in 2018 and 2019. She was a Top-10 Finalist for the 2019 USA Softball Player of the Year award. She ranks second in Oklahoma career history in opponent batting average (.150) and strikeouts per seven innings pitched (10.11).
As a member of the Junior National Team, she won a gold medal at the 2017 WBSC Junior Women’s World Championship.
Images courtesy of Mike Mattina
Dejah Mulipola, C, Arizona
Mulipola returned to the Arizona lineup after redshirting the 2020 season to train for the 2020 Olympics with USA Softball on its Stand Beside Her Tour. She’s hit .395 in 45 games this season with 49 RBIs and 15 home runs.
Of her many collegiate honors, she is Arizona’s first catcher since Leah Braatz in 1998 to be named first-team NFCA All-American, which she earned in 2019. That year, she also received the Johnny Bench award and was named NFCA Catcher of the Year.
Mulipola has been a member of Team USA since 2019 and won gold medals at the 2019 Japan Cup and Pan American Games. She also won a bronze medal at the 2018 USA Softball International Cup.
Images courtesy of Minnesota Athletics
Amber Fiser, RHP, Minnesota
Throughout her Gopher career, Fiser has cemented herself in the team’s history. She ranks third in career wins (95) and fifth in career strikeouts (923). In the 2021 season so far, she has posted a 2.02 ERA with 112 strikeouts and a 13-6 record. She is one of 10 finalists for the 2021 Senior CLASS Award. She led the Big Ten and ranked third in the NCAA with 145 strikeouts during the shortened 2020 season.
Fiser was named 2019 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and a NCAA First Team All-American after posting a 1.27 ERA with 346 strikeouts. That same year she set a school record and matched a conference record with six Big Ten Pitcher of the Week awards and ranked third in the NCAA with 31 wins. She also led the Gophers to their first ever WCWS in the NCAA era, and was named a Honda Cup Award and USA Softball Top-25 Player of the Year Finalist.
Images courtesy of Simon Asher
Jessie Harper, MIF, Arizona
Harper is ranked second in Arizona history in home runs with 89 behind Athletes Unlimited infielder and former Wildcat Katiyana Mauga, who hit 92 during her time at Arizona. Harper is chasing the NCAA home run record, held by Lauren Chamberlain with 95 homers, and is the active career leader in home runs.
During the 2021 season, she has posted a .331 average behind the plate with 40 RBIs, including six in one game.
Harper is a two-time NFCA All-American at two different positions (first base and shortstop), and led the Pac-12 in home runs in the 2019 (29) and 2020 (10) seasons. A power bat at the plate, she has finished either first or second in each season of her career.
In the shortened 2020 season, Harper became the first player since Lovie Jung in 2003 to accomplish the team triple crown, leading the team in batting average (.395), home runs (10) and RBIs (29).
Images courtesy of Louisiana Athletics
Ciara Bryan, OF, Louisiana Lafayette
Power-hitter Bryan joined the Louisiana Softball roster as a graduate transfer for her extra year of eligibility. In her first season with the Ragin’ Cajuns, she has led the team in batting average, hitting .434 in 50 games. She has also hit five home runs, 10 doubles, and four triples, driving in 36 runs. She leads the team with 31 stolen bases on 33 attempts.
Bryan began her collegiate career at University of Georgia in 2017, where she was an All-SEC and NFCA All-Region selection. During the shortened 2020 season, she hit 11 home runs, which co-led the SEC and ranked fourth nationally.
Images courtesy of Iowa State Athletics
Sami Williams, MIF, Iowa State
Williams has left her mark at Iowa State and continues to cement her name in history during her final season as a Cyclone. She is the program’s all-time leader in home runs (65), hits (322), doubles (77), RBIs (178), runs scored (206), games played (249) and at-bats (820). and the NCAA’s active career leader in hits (322), doubles (77) and total bases (613). Her 77 doubles are the most ever by a player from the Big 12 Conference and rank No. 5 in the NCAA record books.
During the 2021 season she has hit .445 with 19 homers and driven in 54 runs, both of which are career highs. Williams was named the 2019 Big 12 Softball Student-Athlete of the Year and is a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American.
Images courtesy of LSU Athletics
Aliyah Andrews, OF, LSU
Andrews is not only known for her incredible diving plays and speed, but also her impact at the plate. She is a .346 hitter in the box and although not a power hitter, has hit two home runs during the 2021 season – one an inside-the-park homer, which marked the first of her career, and the other an out-of-the-park blast that she pulled over the right field wall.
Since joining the Tigers in 2017, Andrews has stolen 144 bases. She is second in the SEC in stolen bases and is the active NCAA career leader. She has been named to the Final 25 for 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year.
Andrews earned SEC All-Defensive awards in 2018 and 2019, and is a SportsCenter regular with her catches.
Images courtesy of Oklahoma State Athletics
Carrie Eberle, RHP, Oklahoma State
A 2021 preseason All-American, Eberle has gone 19-2 with a 1.06 ERA and 123 strikeouts. She has been named Top 10 Finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. She ranks in the top 20 in the nation in ERA (1.06) and wins (19).
Eberle spent the first three years of her collegiate career at Virginia Tech where she was named 2019 ACC Pitcher of the Year before transferring to Oklahoma State in 2020. She ranked fourth in the nation with a 0.46 ERA in her first season with the Cowgirls and earned second-team All-America honors from Softball America.
Images courtesy of Lexi Horsey and Ary Frank
Alyssa Denham, RHP, Arizona
Denham, who has thrown three no-hitters at Arizona, is the first UA pitcher to throw multiple solo no-hitters since Kenzie Fowler (2010-2014). In 120 innings this season, Denham has a 17-6 record, 94 strikeouts and a 1.69 ERA. She is a two-time third-team All-Pac-12 selection.
Prior to attending UA, Denham played her freshman season at Louisiana Lafayette, where she was named Sun Belt Freshman of the Year and an All-Sun Belt First-Team selection.
Image courtesy of Washington Athletics
Sis Bates, MIF, Washington
Star Washington shortstop Sis Bates has made her presence felt with her glove and bat. She led the Huskies to three consecutive WCWS appearances and has etched her name into the program’s history.
Bates was named a Top 10 Finalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. She is the all-time leader in Husky history with 18 triples and is the third player in program history to record 300+ hits. Her 308 hits is just 10 away from the all-time Husky record. She is a two-time NFCA First-Team All-American (2018, 2019) and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year (2018, 2019).
Bates was also a member of the USA Women’s Junior National Team, with whom she won a gold medal at the 2017 WBSC Junior Women’s World Championship.
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