No-hitters are supposed to be an elusive, once-in-a-lifetime achievement for most pitchers. Redshirt senior Nicole Newman has been making them look easy.
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On Friday, the Drake Bulldog star tallied her jaw-dropping fifth perfect game of 2019, all of which have come since March 30. It sets an NCAA single-season record after four players have thrown four perfect games in a season, the last coming in 2015.
Newman tallied 18 strikeouts over a full seven innings, throwing 69 strikes over 88 pitches, and allowing only three balls in play. At the plate, she also notched two hits, leading her team to a 7-0 win over Bradley.
Newman then turned around and pitched again Saturday in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game. She threw another complete game and struck out 13 batters as Drake defeated Northern Iowa, 4-1. The victory gave Drake its second straight MVC Tournament title, and the Bulldogs became the first team to sweep back-to-back MVC regular season and tournament titles. They earned an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament and will be in consecutive postseasons for the first time ever.
Newman, who improved to 28-6 on the season, has been a star from the beginning of her college career. She was named MVC Freshman of the Year in 2015, and MVC Pitcher of the Year in 2016 and 2018. This season, Newman has 24 games with 10 or more strikeouts, and her 18 strikeouts Friday tied her personal career high and a MVC tournament record. She leads the nation in strikeouts with 393.
Newman is also a Christ-follower, who frequently posts on social media about her faith. She regularly posts on behalf of mental health awareness, and the hope people have in God:
Don’t be weighed down by your past. We all have a past and no matter how bad it is, you can get past it. God can give you a new beginning; he can use you greatly and give you a future🙌🏽
— Nicole Newman (@newmz4) April 23, 2019
Don’t be overcome by fear but overcome your fear with Jesus.
— Nicole Newman (@newmz4) April 2, 2019
Whatever you are going through, believe that God is preparing you and giving you an increasing authority for whatever it is that he is calling you to do!
— Nicole Newman (@newmz4) February 27, 2019
Next up for Newman and the Drake Bulldogs is their first game of the NCAA Tournament, as they’ll face Georgia on Friday in the Minneapolis regional. After her college career ends, Newman will continue playing professionally in National Pro Fastpitch league, as she was selected at No. 13 by the Aussie Peppers (Mankato, Minn.) in the draft last month.
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