Rachel Garcia caps off softball season with Honda Cup, collection of accolades
Rising redshirt senior pitcher Rachel Garcia was honored with the Honda Cup this week, the highest award for a female collegiate athlete.(Ashley Kenney/Daily Bruin)
By Coral Smith
July 1, 2019 12:06 a.m.
Rachel Garcia finished her season at the top.
The rising redshirt senior pitcher capped off UCLA softball’s championship season by being awarded the Honda Cup for the best female student-athlete of the year.
Garcia won the Honda Sport Award for softball in June, which qualified her – along with 11 other athletes from each of the NCAA women’s sports – for the Honda Cup. Garcia beat out a top-three that included Indiana swimmer Lilly King and Iowa basketball player Megan Gustafson.
This was the pitcher’s first Honda Cup, despite winning the Honda Sport Award for softball last season as well.
With the win, Garcia became the fifth UCLA athlete and third Bruin softball player to win the Honda Cup – following now-assistant coach Lisa Fernandez in 1993 and former player Natasha Watley in 2003.
Other accolades Garcia collected this postseason include her second straight USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, the Women’s College World Series Most Outstanding Player and both the Pac-12 Player and Pitcher of the Year awards. Garcia is also nominated for the Best College Athlete award at the ESPYs.
Garcia went 29-1 on the season with a 1.14 ERA, striking out 286 and giving up just 33 earned runs over the whole year. At the plate, Garcia hit .343 with 11 home runs.
Garcia took over the majority of pitching responsibilities in the postseason, pitching in all five games of the WCWS and accumulating a 5-0 record in Oklahoma City with a 1.75 ERA. This run included a 10-inning victory over No. 3 seed Washington, in which Garcia pitched every inning, struck out 16, and threw 179 pitches before hitting a walk-off three-run home run to send the Bruins to the championship finals.
Garcia will spend the summer training with USA Softball as part of the national team, hoping to claim a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic squad.