Oct. 11, 2017
by Tony Jones
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A total of five University of Notre Dame softball players, infielder Dana Bouquet (’17), pitcher Rachel Nasland (’17), junior catcher Maddie McCracken, sophomore outfielder Alexis Bazos and outfielder/infielder Kimmy Sullivan (’17), have been officially recognized as National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America Scholar-Athletes for the 2016-17 academic year. The NFCA announced on Tuesday that a record 7,351 student-athletes across all seven divisions of NCAA softball earned NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete honors last season.
In the last six years, a total of 10 Notre Dame players have claimed a combined 14 NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete scrolls. Student-athletes who carry a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher during a given academic year are eligible for NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete recognition.
Bouquet wrapped up her Notre Dame career as a first-time NFCA honoree after appearing in nine games as a senior for the Irish in 2017. A veteran of 41 career games, Bouquet batted .250 with two RBI and seven runs scored to go with a perfect fielding percentage. Along with 2017 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Academic Honor Roll accolades, Bouquet was selected as a recipient of the Notre Dame Community Champion award that is presented to student-athletes who embody the spirit of leadership, commitment and selflessness. Bouquet graduated from the College of Arts and Letters in May with a degree in theology.
Nasland claimed NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete recognition for the second straight season, to go along with three straight (2015-17) All-ACC Academic Team selections. She appeared in a career-high 45 games (28 starts) as a senior in 2017, throwing 187 innings. Nasland fashioned a 17-12 mark with two saves in the circle, and added 117 strikeouts. A 2015 all-ACC second team and 2016 ACC Championship all-tournament team choice, Nasland graduated from the College of Arts and Letters in May with a degree in psychology (minors in business economics and constitutional studies) ranked among the top 10 pitchers in career wins (56) and strikeouts (431) in Irish program history.
McCracken claimed her first career NFCA academic scroll following a productive sophomore season in 2017. She batted a career-best .288 over 37 games (22 starts) with seven RBI and a .333 on-base percentage, and added 83 putouts and 13 assists from behind the plate. She was also a repeat selection to the ACC Academic Honor Roll in recognition of achievement in the classroom. McCracken is enrolled in Notre Dame’s College of Science, majoring in pre-professional studies.
Bazos rounded out the first-time Notre Dame NFCA honorees after her freshman campaign last spring. In 42 games during her freshman season in 2017, Bazos batted .294 with 12 runs scored, drawing one walk to reach base at a .333 clip. She also competed with the Greece Women’s National Team in a sixth-place finish at the 2017 Women’s Softball European Championship this past summer. Bazos is enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business.
Sullivan notched her third career NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete nod at the conclusion of her senior season, adding to her award haul in 2014 and 2016 and three (2015-17) appearances on the All-ACC Academic Team. Sullivan played in all 56 games (55 starts) primarily in right field during her senior season in 2017, and batted .276 with 11 doubles, five home runs, 24 RBI, a .468 slugging percentage and 27 runs scored. In 154 career games, Sullivan registered 28 extra-base hits, 52 RBI, a .455 slugging percentage and scored 59 runs split between corner infield and outfield slots and the designated player position. She graduated in May from the College of Science with a degree in science-business.
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men's soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana Monroe and with the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.