Special to GC
Nashville, Tenn. - University of Florida senior Lauren Haeger<http://www.gatorzone.com/softball/bios.php?year=2015&player_id=57> was drafted Wednesday by the Dallas Charge during the 2015 National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) Senior Draft. The NPF and its five affiliate teams - the Charge, Akron (Ohio) Racers, Chicago Bandits (Elgin, Ill.), Pennsylvania Rebellion (Washington, Pa.) and USSSA Pride (Orlando, Fla.) held the annual draft at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. "Since we recruited Lauren as a young athlete, she has always been a winner," Florida Head Coach Tim Walton said. "She always performed at the highest level, with a state championship, an ASA championship, winning a gold medal with the junior national team and being the winning pitcher in that game. She's a special athlete. If she were a baseball player, she would be a first-round draft pick. She's a special athlete and a good player. We have worked hard to develop her. To see her perform on the collegiate level on a big stage, internationally with Team USA and now get the chance to play professionally says a lot about her and how hard she has worked." Haeger was chosen as the 21st overall pick with the sixth choice of the fourth round. The pitcher/first baseman will join former teammate Hannah Rogers as rookies in the NPF; Rogers signed with the USSSA Pride<http://www.gatorzone.com/story.php?id=29103> last November. Haeger and Rogers will become the second and third members of Florida's 2014 national championship team to play in the NPF after Stephanie Tofft joined the Akron Racers<http://www.gatorzone.com/story.php?id=28341> in June. The selection of Haeger marks Florida's first NPF draft pick since 2011, when Kelsey Bruder, Megan Bush and Aja Paculba all were chosen<http://www.gatorzone.com/story.php?id=20275>. The two-way player will become the ninth Florida alumna to pursue a professional career. Haeger ranks third in hitting for Florida this season (minimum 1.0 plate appearance per team game) with a .327 average, and is tied for the team lead with nine home runs. Her 34 RBI, 33 hits and .644 slugging percentage all are second on the squad, and her 30 runs scored are the third-highest total on the Gator roster. In the circle, the senior leads the team in ERA (1.23), wins (14), complete games (nine) and shutouts (five) while ranking second in strikeouts (104). The Orange and Blue raced to a program-record 28-0 start before sustaining their first loss, and Florida is 194-38 since No. 17 arrived on campus before the 2012 season. Named a First Team All-American as a sophomore, Haeger's name appears throughout the Florida record book. Entering Wednesday's game, the three-time All-Southeast Region First Team selection ranks among the Gators' all-time offensive leaders in RBI (first, 223), intentional walks (first, 13), home runs (tied for second, 61), walks (second, 151), slugging (fourth, .649), total bases (fifth, 428) runs scored (tied for seventh, 142), on-base percentage (eighth, .451) and hitting (10th, .320). A prolific pitcher in addition to her hitting prowess, Haeger also has achieved success in the circle. Coming into the contest against UNF, the senior ranks among the Gators' all-time leaders in saves (tied for fifth, five), wins (seventh, 55), strikeouts (seventh, 421), shutouts (tied for seventh, 16), appearances (eighth, 98), starts (ninth, 64), complete games (ninth, 36), and innings pitched (ninth, 430.2). Per NCAA rules, active senior student-athletes cannot sign a professional contract until their college season is complete. The NPF schedule, which will be unveiled at a later date, runs from June through August. About National Pro Fastpitch: National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women's Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women's fastpitch softball and has been since 2002.