UTEP Second Baseman Courtney Clayton with the throw to first during game 2 vs UAB
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The National Fastpitch Coaches Association announced that UTEP softball’s Courtney Clayton was named to the 2016 NFCA All-Region South third team at second base on Thursday.
The 2016 Conference USA Player of the Year and All-C-USA first teamer started all 55 games, including the two postseason contests and finished the season ranked no. 2 in C-USA in batting (.416) and currently leads the league with 21 doubles (Melissa Martinez of NCAA Tournament team Florida Atlantic has 20 doubles).
The sophomore is ranked no. 2 in hits (79), no. 6 in runs (45), and no. 2 in total bases (125). She also ranked in the top 10 in slugging (.658) and on-base percentage (.438). Clayton broke the single-season school record in hits and doubles in 2016.
Clayton is the first Miner since Colleen Hohman to be named NFCA All-Region. Hohman was named to the South Region third team in 2014.
The Cornelius, Ore., native tied second on the team in home runs (seven), ranked second in RBI (35) and led the squad with a pair of triples. Defensively, Clayton registered 96 putouts and 119 assists (second most during a single season in school history). She was part of a defensive squad that set a school record in assists (533) and double plays turned (30). UTEP led C-USA in both categories.
Nationally, Clayton’s .416 average is ranked no. 53, while her .38 doubles per game ranks 12th. Clayton was a tough strikeout as she only whiffed nine times in 190 at bats (21.1). She ranks fourth in C-USA and 59th nationally in that category.
In 24 league contests, Clayton ranked no. 2 with a .467 batting average. She also led C-USA in doubles (12), hits (43) and total bases (64).
In UTEP’s first C-USA Tournament game since 2010, Clayton came up with a clutch two-out double in the fifth inning against FIU. The Miners were down 4-2 at that point, as Ariel Blair drew a walk, following Clayton’s double. Kaitlin Ryder connected on a three-run home run, giving UTEP the go-ahead lead (5-4) and first postseason victory since May 8, 2009.
Clayton registered a career-high four hits on a 4-for-4 night with four RBI in a triumph against Incarnate Word (Feb. 11). She tied her career best with four RBI during a win over Mount St. Mary’s (March 2) and tied her career high with three runs scored in a victory against Grand Canyon (Feb. 21).
During a come-from-behind win at Middle Tennessee (April 17), Clayton went 3-for-5 with three RBI, two runs and a double. Clayton hit a two-run home run during a five-run seventh inning. The Miners were down 6-4 and rallied to defeat the Blue Raiders, 9-6.
Clayton connected on a solo home run in the third inning at FIU (March 25) that tied the contest at 1-1 and resulted in a 2-1 victory. It was UTEP’s first conference road win since May 4, 2014.
Clayton is the second Miner to win the C-USA Player of the Year award (Camilla Carrera 2009, 2012) and the first C-USA sophomore to earn the prestigious honor since Carrera in 2009. Clayton is the fifth sophomore in C-USA history to be named player of the year.
As far as academic success, Clayton has maintained a 3.92 GPA in Health Promotion as was named to the 2016 C-USA Softball All-Academic team, while earned a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-District team.