Bob Drebin /

NiJaree Canady: USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year

OKLAHOMA CITY – NiJaree Canady is USA Softball's Collegiate Player of the Year. The sophomore pitcher led the nation in ERA and strikeouts on the way to one of college softball's most prestigious honors.
Canady was honored with the award at a banquet ahead of the Women's College World Series, becoming the second member of the Cardinal to earn the award. Ashley Hansen earned the award in 2011.
In her second season on The Farm, Canady cemented herself as the best pitcher in the country. The Collegiate Player of the Year award is added to a trophy case that includes Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year and NFCA Freshman of the Year. The Topeka, Kans. product has been named to two All-Pac-12 First Teams, an NFCA All-Region First Team (2024), the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team (2024), Pac-12 All-Freshman Team (2023), two Pac-12 All-Tournament Teams and the 2023 Women's College World Series All-Tournament Team.
Canady enters the Women's College World Series leads the country in ERA (0.65) and strikeouts (310), and sits second in strikeouts per seven innings (10.6) and hits allowed per seven innings (3.39).. Canady's 528 career strikeouts are already the fifth-most in program history, and her 2024 total is good for the sixth-most in a single season.
Canady is 22-5 in 2024 with five saves. The ace has gone the distance in wins over then-No. 3 Texas (8 IP), No. 5 Georgia (9 IP) and No. 8 Washington twice. Canady has allowed multiple runs in a game only three times in 34 appearances.
Canady and the Cardinal begin their run at the Women's College World Series this week, opening up against Texas on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. PT on ESPN2.