Lowe advances to final 15 for NFCA National Freshman of the Year

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Behind an All-Southeastern Conference performance during the regular season, Shelby Lowe advanced as one of 15 finalists for the 2021 National Fastpitch Coaches Association/Schutt Sports Division I National Freshman of the Year award, the association revealed Thursday.

The NFCA/Schutt Sports Division I National Freshman of the Year award was created in 2014 to honor outstanding athletic achievement among Division I freshmen softball student-athletes. Former Tiger Kasey Cooper and Tennessee’s Annie Aldrete shared the award in its inaugural season. Cooper is Auburn’s lone winner of the award.

To be eligible, student-athletes must be nominated by their member head coach. With the cancellation of last year’s season due to COVID-19, candidates hail from the 2020 and 2021 freshman classes. Due to having two freshman classes eligible for the award, an additional five players have been added to the traditional top 25. Lowe was one of three honorees from the Southeastern Conference, which was the most candidates by any conference as the list of finalists was trimmed in half. Lowe was also one of seven true freshmen to advance to the final 15 nominees.

A left-hander from Carrollton, Ala., Lowe ranks second in the SEC with a 1.32 earned run average. She has allowed just 30 earned runs over her team-leading 158.2 innings pitched. Her ERA is currently the second lowest recorded by an Auburn pitcher in single-season history.

Lowe also ranks second in the league with a 6.48 strikeout-to-walk ratio. She leads the league with a 1.19 walks allowed per seven innings average as Lowe has issued just 27 walks this season.

With 13 wins to her credit, Lowe has tossed 14 complete games, three of which have been shutouts. She has fanned at least 10 batters seven times this season and ranks eighth in the SEC with a 7.7 strikeouts per seven innings average.

She leads all SEC true freshmen and ranks third overall in the league with 175 strikeouts. She is just the fifth Auburn freshman in program history to record 100 strikeouts in a season and the first to do so since Marcy Harper in 2013.

Lowe’s 175 strikeouts are the second most in program history by a freshman. She also holds the 10th most strikeouts recorded by an Auburn pitcher in school history. Her 175 strikeouts are the most by an Auburn pitcher since 2010. Lowe already stands 16th in Auburn career history for total strikeouts.

Earlier this season, Lowe put together the eighth longest scoreless inning streak in program history, not allowing a run in 24.1 consecutive innings.

She is a two-time SEC Freshman of the Week winner, joining teammate Maddie Penta and Anna Thompson (2007) as the only Auburn pitchers to win multiple SEC Freshman of the Week honors in a season. Earlier this week, Lowe was tabbed to the All-SEC Second Team and to the SEC All-Freshman Team.

The final three candidate will be released on May 27.  The 2021 Schutt Sports / NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year will be announced on June 1.