Rachel Garcia Embraces Opportunity With Athletes Unlimited
Rachel Garcia, one of the most decorated players in college softball history, is in the midst of her first summer of professional softball with Athletes Unlimited.
The right-handed pitcher, who led UCLA to a national championship in 2019 as one of the best two-way talents softball has ever seen, has taken her abilities to the AU stage this summer to compete in the new league on two separate occasions.
Back in June, Garcia made her Athletes Unlimited debut during the first-ever AUX season in San Diego. She finished second overall out of 43 athletes on the leaderboard after posting a .333 batting average, three home runs and nine RBIs at the plate and a 2-1 record with 25 strikeouts in 27 innings in the circle.
Now, she is in the midst of her first championship season with Athletes Unlimited. Entering the final weekend of the league's third championship campaign, Garcia is ranked No. 26 on the leaderboard of 60 players with a 2-2 record and a league-leading 38 strikeouts.
“I think it's just an awesome opportunity,” Garcia said of her Athletes Unlimited experience. “Especially knowing where AU started, it's continuing to grow the game. Just to be a part of it, playing with some of the best in the game, I think, is awesome.”
And she's certainly brought her own star power to the Athletes Unlimited stage. During Garcia's collegiate career, she was one of the most popular and accomplished players in the sport. And with a career ERA of 1.43 and a 99-17 record at UCLA, she left her mark on the game as a whole.
And that was especially due to her ability to get it done both in the circle and at the plate. To go along with her impressive pitching numbers, Garcia posted a career batting average of .337 with 214 hits and 43 home runs, making her a legendary force for the nation's most storied college softball program.
“I know that if one side of my game isn't working, the other is,” added Garcia, who garnered nearly every accolade a college softball player can collect, including twice being named the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year as well as the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year with the Honda Cup. “Just ultimately pitching and hitting for me feed off of each other.”
Garcia, who served as a volunteer assistant coach at San Diego State this past spring, also has some pretty impressive experience to pull from outside the college game. She was a member of the 2020 U.S. women's national softball team that captured the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
“You're playing internationally with some of the best of the best in the sport,” Garcia said, “so I think just continuing to surround myself with the best athletes in the game helps to improve my game.”
And while she's experienced success at every level of softball she's been on, Garcia is still embracing the newness of professional softball in her life and the unique experience that Athletes Unlimited provides to its athletes.
“It's a new chapter of my life that I am enjoying,” Garcia said. “Just getting out and meeting some new people (in the game) has been really exciting.”