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Newman sets NCAA record with 5th perfect game

Drake senior Nicole Newman pitched her fifth perfect game of the season Friday to set the single-season NCAA record in a 7-0 win over Bradley in the Missouri Valley Conference softball tournament in Peoria, Illinois.

Newman, who was named one of 10 finalists for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year earlier this week, tied her career high with 18 strikeouts and improved to 27-6 on the season.

All five of Newman's perfect games have come since March 30.

Drake (41-14) will play Northern Iowa (28-22) Saturday in the MVC championship game (6 p.m. ET, ESPN+). The winner earns an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The bracket will be unveiled Sunday (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

Four players, most recently former Oklahoma ace Paige Parker in 2015, have thrown four perfect games in a season.

Newman, a 6-foot-1 righty, was selected No. 13 by the Aussie Peppers in the National Pro Fastpitch draft last month.