MSU SOFTBALL: Zalewski, Foerster Repeat Academic All-Americans

Michigan State Softball (PHOTO:  MSU SID)
Michigan State Softball (PHOTO: MSU SID)

East Lansing, Mich. -- - Seniors Kristina Zalewski (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Lea Foerster (Portage Mich.) have been named to the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America Softball Team, as selected by CoSIDA. This program recognizes the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances on the field and in the classroom.

The teammates were both Academic All-America selections in 2017, and become the third and fourth MSU softball student-athletes to earn CoSIDA Academic honors multiple times. Sheila Ovenhouse (1986, 1988, 1989) was a three-time recipient, while Patti Raduenz (1995, 1996) and Margaret Hollis (1998, 1999) were also two-time Academic All-Americans.

The Spartan softball program boasts 17 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections, the most for any women's program at MSU and the second-most overall at MSU to football, which has 38 selections dating back to the early 1950's. Foerster and Zalewski are two of the seven athletes in 2018 who previously earned Academic All-America honors.

"It is an enormous sense of pride to see two players in your program earn honors that are incredibly difficult to achieve, and to have them both do it twice is just such a special honor," said MSU head coach Jacquie Joseph, who in her 25 years as the Spartan mentor has coached 13 of the 17 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. "They both impacted our program in countless ways both on and off the field. These are what true student-athletes look like -- dedication to their sport as well to their studies. They set a tremendous example for their teammates and a high standard for our program."

Complete CoSIDA Academic All-America Teams :

Zalewski was named MSU's 2018 President's Award winner for the highest GPA in the graduating class of student-athletes. She owned a perfect 4.0 through her 10 completed semesters and has earned two bachelor's degrees: one in Nutritional Sciences with a minor in Bioethics (2017) and a second in Psychology (2018). Zalewski will earn her fourth Academic All-Big Ten and third Big Ten Distinguished Scholar awards in 2018 and has been accepted to medical school. In 2016, she was also an NFCA Third Team All-Region selection.

On the field, Zalewski's 170 strikeouts in 2018 ranked fifth in the Big Ten and seventh all-time in a season at MSU, and her 2.30 ERA was eighth among B1G hurlers. She also ranked 10th among B1G pitchers in wins (15) and 14th in opponent batting average (.260). She tossed 15 complete games in 27 starts.

Zalewski has cemented her place in the MSU softball record book. She is second-all time with 643 strikeouts, is in third place in career innings pitched (695.0), ranks third in career victories (54) and is sixth in complete games (49).

Foerster graduated as one of the most decorated players in her sport. She earned All-America honors in 2017, and was a two-time First-Team All-Big Ten selection (2017, 2018) after earning Second Team kudos as a freshman in 2015. In addition to her selection to the All-Big Ten squad, Foerster also earned a spot on the All-Defensive team both years, as well as a spot on the Big Ten Softball All-Tournament Team in 2017 and 2018.

Foerster ranked among the Big Ten's top 10 in 2018 in batting average (.371, eighth), slugging percentage (.715, fourth), on-base percentage (.503, third), doubles (22, first), home runs (10, ninth), total bases, (108, 10th), and also led the league in hit by pitch, (19, first). Her 22 doubles in 2018 ranks sixth all-time in the Big Ten single-season annals, which is behind the 26 she hit in 2017 to establish the all-time Big Ten record. She ranks seventh all-time in the NCAA annals in career doubles (75), which is also the Big Ten career record, while ranking 10th all-time in the Big Ten in career base hits (251).

Foerster will graduate as one of MSU's most prolific players. She is MSU's all-time run-scoring (190), extra-base hit (118) and doubles (75) leader, is second in batting average (.368), hits (251), RBI (130), and home runs (33), sixth in walks (81), and 10th in triples (10). She played 220 career games, starting 219.

The center fielder ranked among active Division I career leaders in several categories as well. She leads active players (in 2018) in doubles, is third in hit by pitch (65), 12th in runs (190), ninth in total bases (445), 19th in hits, 41st in triples and 33rd in at-bats (682).

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