Stanford pitcher Alana Vawter sets up to throw a pitch.
Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

College Softball’s Best Pitcher is Transferring

Former Stanford Cardinal pitcher Alana Vawter is heading across the country, transferring to South Carolina.

Alana Vawter — the best pitcher in the college softball right now, and perhaps the best Pac-12 softball pitcher of all time — announced last week that she is joining the South Carolina Gamecocks.

South Carolina head coach Beverly Smith announced that Vawter would be joining the Gamecocks. This seismic news comes two months after Vawter entered the NCAA's transfer portal, confirming reports that she intended to leave Stanford after four extraordinary seasons in favor of a new school where she could spend her final year of eligibility. Vawter, a Kansas City native, seemed keen to head somewhere closer to home than the West Coast — and considering the Pac-12's state right now, this was the perfect time to seek greener pastures.

For anybody who follows college softball, Vawter needs no introduction. Stanford's now-former superstar pitcher amassed an incredible career at the school, tallying many noteworthy accolades including second team All-America honors this past season, All-Pac-12 freshmen team (2021), a three-time NFCA All-West Region selection and a three-time All-Pac-12 first team honoree (to name a few), along with going viral for the perfect game she threw against Fresno State on February 26 of 2022.

During this past season, Vawter led Stanford to the Women's College World Series after posting a 1.81 ERA and a 21-8 record in 40 appearances including 27 starts. She pitched 5.1 shutout innings against Alabama in a Women's College World Series elimination game. She then threw four innings more of solid softball against Oklahoma, which went on to become national champions after beating Stanford.

What's Next For Alana Vawter, College Softball's Pitching Superstar?

Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

One downside to Vawter leaving Stanford with one year of eligibility left is that she can't break the many Stanford school records she was so close to reaching. As it stands, Vawter is top-five all-time in career wins (fourth, with 77), shutouts (fifth, with 26) and strikeouts (fifth, with 527). With one more season, she surely would have taken the top spot in all three stats.

Now Vawter's sights are set on South Carolina, where she joins an already stacked roster and formidable set of fellow transfers. With Vawter as the Gamecock's new ace, one has to imagine that they're the favorites to take time the national championship in 2024. Perhaps the change of scenery will also allow Vawter to win the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, which has eluded her thus far.

As for Stanford, it already has another superstar waiting in the wings to assume Vawter's ace role. True freshman NiJaree Canady posted a 0.57 ERA with a 17-3 record, 10 complete games, eight shutouts and 218 strikeouts in 135 innings pitched. What's less certain for Stanford is which conference they'll belong to. After the Pac-12's historic collapse, Stanford, Cal, Washington State, and Oregon State are now without a conference, and their futures are uncertain.

That, however, is the last thing on Alana Vawter's mind.

MORE: Pac-12 Softball Players Are Pissed Off Over Conference Shake-Up: 'An Upsetting Day'