Drake pitcher Nicole Newman (Drake University)

Drake University pitcher Nicole Newman has the hottest arm in softball, and her latest performance cemented her place in the NCAA Division I record book.

Newman pitched her fifth perfect game of the season Friday, striking out a career-high 18 batters on the way to a 7-0 victory over Bradley. The win sent the Bulldogs to Saturday’s Missouri Valley Conference tournament championship game.

Newman, a senior, tacked on two hits in four at-bats for good measure.

Friday’s performance was Newman’s 23rd game of the season with 10 or more strikeouts.

Only four Division I softball pitchers had tossed four perfect games, the last being Oklahoma’s Paige Parker in 2015. Newman has more perfect games in 2019 than all of Division I softball witnessed in 2018 (four), per NCAA.com.

Her season stats are staggering. She’s 27-6 with a 0.88 ERA, 13 shutouts and 380 strikeouts to just 42 walks in 42 appearances. On top of her five perfect games, she has thrown three no-hitters and contributed to two other combined no-hitters.

Newman was named one of 10 finalists for Collegiate Player of the Year by USA Softball on Wednesday. She was also recently selected 13th in the National Pro Fastpitch draft by the Aussie Peppers.

Drake (41-14) meets Northern Iowa (28-22) for the Missouri Valley Conference crown this evening, weather-permitting. The winner clinches a spot in the NCAA tournament.

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