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Northwestern’s Danielle Williams Named NFCA National Freshman of the Year

Wildcat pitcher is first Big Ten softball student to earn the honor


ROSEMONT, Ill. — Northwestern University pitcher Danielle Williams was chosen as the 2019 Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I National Freshman of the Year, the NFCA announced Tuesday night during the annual NCAA Women’s College World Series banquet in Oklahoma City.

Williams, who was also the first Wildcat pitcher named Big Ten Freshman of the Year since 2004, is the first Big Ten student to earn the honor and was one of two conference freshmen among the three finalists for this year’s award, the other being Minnesota outfielder Natalie DenHartog.

Williams is tied for the Big Ten lead and third in the nation in wins this season (31), while ranking fifth nationally and tops in the conference with 13 shutouts. It was the most wins and shutouts by a Northwestern pitcher in her freshman season since 1984.

A native of Pleasanton, Calif., Williams also ranks among the top 10 in the nation in strikeouts (317 – 6th) and strikeouts per seven innings (9.7 – 9th), adding a 1.55 ERA and a .163 opponent batting average while giving up just 46 walks. The NU southpaw helped lead the Wildcats to their first NCAA Super Regional berth since 2008 and was a first-team NFCA All-Great Lakes Region selection.