Gardner-Webb freshman Autumn Owen

Gardner-Webb’s Autumn Owen was featured on the Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I Freshman of the Year Top 25 list, making this the second consecutive season that Gardner-Webb has been represented.

Owen has had a stellar inaugural campaign in the red and black, having earned Big South Freshman of the Week accolades three times. The freshman catcher most recently earned recognition on April 15 for going 5-for-16 with three dingers and a two-base hit in six games the previous week.

Entering Saturday’s game at Charleston Southern, Owen is hitting .346 (45-for-130) and leads the team with 47 RBI and 25 extra-base hits, 13 of which have gone over the fence. The Polk County High School product has collected 99 total bases and has a slugging percentage of .762 along with an OPS of 1.206, all of which are team-highs.

Expanding beyond leading the team, Owen finds herself ranked among the Big South’s and nation’s leaders. In the conference, she sits second in seven different statistical categories: slugging percentage, RBI and RBI per game, home runs and home runs per game, total bases, sacrifice flies, Additionally, she is in the top-10 in batting average, on-base percentage, runs scored and walks per game.

Nationally, Owen has the seventh-most sacrifice flies and is in the top-40 in three additional categories: RBI (16th), home runs (26th), total bases (32nd) and slugging percentage (40th).

The 25 freshman on the Schutt Sports/NFCA Freshman of the Year Top 25 list represent 16 difference conferences. The SEC leads the way with four selections, while the Big Ten (3, Pac-12 (2), ACC (2) and Mountain West (2) all have multiple players on the list. Three conferences – the American East, Ivy League, and MAC – had a player selected for the first time. UCLA and Virginia Tech both have two nominees, the most for an individual team. Six teams had a player named to the list for the first time.