*Courtesy Auburn Media Relations*
AUBURN, Ala. - Freshman third baseman Kasey Cooper has been named a Top-Three Finalist for the National Fastpitch Coaches' Association's inaugural Division I National Freshman of the Year Award. The award will be presented prior to the start of the 2014 NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Joining Cooper in the final three are Tennessee's Annie Aldrete and Notre Dame's Karley Wester.
Cooper had one of the best seasons in Auburn history by not only a freshman, but any player that has come through its program. She finished first on the team in batting average (.418) and is one of only two Auburn players this season to finish with a batting average of .400 or higher.
Finishing her season with that high of an average, Cooper completed the second-best offensive season in school history behind only Mary Petrie, who batted .454 during the 2000 season.
Kasey Cooper has led the team in multiple offensive categories throughout the course of this season including: average, hits, home runs, RBI, slugging and runs scored. Cooper finished 2014 tied for first on the team in runs (70), overall leader in hits (74), home runs (18) and slugging percentage (.780). With only seven strike outs this season, Cooper was one of the toughest batters to strike out.
The freshman etched her name into Auburn Tigers history last week at the NCAA Minneapolis Regional when she hit her 18th home run of the season, breaking the school's all-time single-season record of 17 set by Holly Currie and Ashley Moore in the 2005 and 2002 seasons respectively.
Cooper won two SEC Freshman of the Week award this season, becoming the first Auburn Tiger to do so since 2007 and still has the highest batting average in the SEC among freshman. She's seventh in the conference in average, tied for first in runs scored (70), third in total bases (137), fourth in slugging (.780), second in RBI (77) and fourth in home runs (18).
With her performance so far this season, Cooper has already set two Auburn freshman single-season records for home runs and RBI. The record was last set by Tatiana Fernandez who had eight home runs and 41 RBI in the 2006 season. Cooper stayed on pace all year and also broke the freshman record for batting average in a season, breaking the previous high of .389 set by Emily Carosone last season.
Cooper's accomplishments haven't gone unnoticed as she became the first Auburn Tiger to ever be named All-SEC (Second Team) and SEC All-Freshman in a season. She was also recently named to the NFCA All-Southeast Region First Team, joining Branndi Melero and Carosone as the first Tigers named to an All-Region team since 2005.
The NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year award was created from an idea to honor outstanding athletic achievement among freshmen softball student-athletes throughout Division I. The inaugural NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year trophy will be presented during a live ceremony on May 27 prior to the opening of the annual WCWS.