Pepper Gay Named Preseason First-Team All-Big Ten

Pepper Gay holds the Illinois record for career opponent batting average at .214.
Pepper Gay holds the Illinois record for career opponent batting average at .214.

Jan. 15, 2013

Urbana, Ill. – Illinois senior pitcher Pepper Gay was named to the Big Ten Preseason All-Conference First Team by Gay is one of three pitchers on the 12-player team and the first Illinois player to earn first-team preseason honors from College Sports Madness. Teammate Jessica Davis was named to the second team in 2012.

The Avondale Estates, Ga., native is poised to complete her career as the most decorated pitcher in Illinois history. A 2012 NFCA All-Region selection and two-time All-Big Ten honoree, Gay enters her final season with the best career opponent batting average in program history (.214), ranked second in career strikeouts (463), wins (58), saves (6) and complete games (46), and third in ERA (2.07), shutouts (14) and innings pitched (526.2).

“Pepper continues to hit her spots really well,” said Head Coach Terri Sullivan, “yet she has also expanded her repertoire of pitches. It’s her grit, her guts, her mental toughness and her smarts that make her arguably the best pitcher we’ve had here.”

In addition to selecting a first and a second team, each with 12 players, College Sports Madness named four individual honors, three of which went to 2012 Big Ten Champion Michigan. Northwestern’s Marisa Bast earned Preseason Field Player of the Year and Haylie Wagner represented Michigan as Pitcher of the Year. Wolverine newcomer Sierra Romero is the predicted Freshman of the Year, and Michigan Head Coach Carol Hutchins took home Preseason Coach of the Year.

Of the 24 student-athletes selected to all-conference teams, Wisconsin and Michigan led with four honorees each, with Wisconsin tabbing three first-team selections. Northwestern garnered three honors, and Iowa, Penn State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Purdue each had two selections. Illinois and Michigan State each had one player on the first team and Indiana garnered one second-team selection. Ohio State was the lone team without a representative.

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