Cruse, Yanez On National Player Of The Year Watch List
A pair of Oregon players were named to the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List Wednesday, as Haley Cruse and Brooke Yanez were among the 50 players nationally on the list.
Cruse is coming off of a shortened 2020 season in which she led the team and finished third in the conference with a .457 batting average while ending the year second in the Pac-12 with 37 hits. She also finished tied for the conference lead with 15 stolen bases and was one of just seven players nationally to steal at least 15 bags without being thrown out. Cruse was also named to D1Softball's Preseason All-America Second-Team on Thursday.
The fifth-year senior is became the first player in program history to lead the team in batting average three consecutive years after having also done it as a sophomore and junior. She owns a .373 career batting average, which is currently sixth-best all-time at Oregon, and a .455 on-base percentage.
Yanez put up big numbers in her first season as a Duck in 2020, finishing tied for third in the Pac-12 with a team-high 94 strikeouts while going 9-1 with a 1.56 ERA. She ended the year second in the conference and 16th nationally with 10.5 strikeouts per seven innings. The junior also held opponents to a .172 batting average while allowing just 4.13 hits per seven innings, a rate that was third-best in the league.
The Ventura, Calif. native made an immediate impact after transferring in from UC Davis last year, earning NFCA National Pitcher of the Week honors following the opening weekend of 2020. Her 17 strikeouts against BYU were the second-most in a game in school history while she was one of just three pitchers in the country last year to strike out at least 17 in a game without any walks. Yanez arrived at Oregon after playing two seasons at UC Davis, where she was named the Big West Pitcher of the Year in 2019.
The 50-player watch list for the award will be trimmed down to 25 in April, with finalists being announced in May before a winner is revealed on June 1. Yanez was also named to the preseason top 50 for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award prior to the start of last season.