LOS ANGELES — Redshirt junior Rachel Garcia was named the winner of the 2019 Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year Award and the prestigious Honda Cup, as announced during a live television ceremony on Monday night at USC’s Galen Center.
Garcia, the back-to-back winner of the Honda Sport Award for Softball, is just the third Bruin softball player ever to be named the winner of the Honda Cup, joining Lisa Fernandez (1993) and Natasha Watley (2003). Garcia is also the fifth Bruin in all sports to win the Honda Cup — which honors the top female collegiate athlete across all sports — joining UCLA standouts Ann Meyers (basketball, 1978) and Jackie Joyner-Kersee (track and field, 1985).
“I just couldn’t have done it without the support system I have back home. Big shout out to my team.”@UCLASoftball’s Rachel Garcia after winning the 2019 @CWSA_HondaCup. What a moment. pic.twitter.com/et95puLzzd
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) June 25, 2019
The Top Three finalists were selected by a voting of nearly 1,000 NCAA member schools, and the Honda Cup winner was chosen by the Board of Directors of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program.
Garcia’s Honda Sport Award for Softball marked the 11th time a UCLA softball player won the honor, joining Fernandez (1991, 1992, 1993), Watley (2003), Lisa Longaker (1988, 1990), Debbie Doom (1984), Janice Parks (1989) and Jennifer Brundage (1995).
Garcia, the back-to-back USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Women’s College World Series, helping the Bruins post their 13th National Championship. The first to ever be named both Pac-12 Conference Player and Pitcher of the Year in the same season, Garcia was also named Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I National Pitcher of the Year, NFCA and Softball America First Team All-American, NFCA All-West Region First Team, All-Pac-12 First Team, Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week four times and NFCA National Player, USA Softball National Player and Pac-12 Player of the Week once each. She is also nominated for the ESPY for Best College Athlete.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) June 25, 2019
Garcia went 5-0 in the circle at the WCWS with a 1.75 earned run average and 33 strikeouts in 36 innings. She went the distance four times in Oklahoma City, including a 10-inning, 16-strikeout performance against Washington (June 2), capping the game off on the offensive end with a walk-off, three-run homer to propel the Bruins into the WCWS Championship Series. She hit another home run versus Oklahoma in game one of the WCWS Championship Series (June 3), as she batted .333 (5-for-15) with two homers, eight RBI and five walks. Garcia led all WCWS pitchers in wins and was second in strikeouts, and was also first in RBI.
In the entire NCAA Tournament, Garcia was 9-0 in the circle with a 1.49 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings, while also batting .300 (9-for-30) with three homers, 16 RBI and eight walks. Garcia led all postseason players in wins and RBI. On the season, the redshirt junior went 29-1 with a 1.14 ERA and 286 strikeouts in 202 innings. In 36 appearances and 25 starts, she went the distance 19 times with seven solo shutouts, adding four saves and a .162 opponents’ batting average. At the plate, Garcia hit .343 with 11 homers, 57 RBI and a team-best 35 walks and five sacrifice flies.
The CWSA, in its 43rd year, honors the nation’s top NCAA women athletes recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.1 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions.