Big West Continues to Impress At Home
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UC Riverside closed out it’s third of four home tournaments last week. The Highlanders have posted a 11-5 home record in the past two tournaments improving to 12-14 overall, while holding a spot in the top five of conference standings. Riverside finished 5-3 last week for the most games played by a Big West team in one week this season. With three of the four midweek win’s going into the home tournament, Riverside split with Quinnipiac, beat Saint Joseph’s and lost in the tournament closer to Loyola Marymount by one run (7-6) in extra innings.
Kayla White led the Highlanders appearing in all eight games while contributing a .467 average at the plate, .484 on base percentage with three home runs and one triple. The starting centerfielder collected only one error over the weekend and dominated the bases with four stolen bases to come in to score nine times. Against Eastern Kentucky, the juniors three runs and four RBI was a season-high, while collecting a season-high four hits against LMU.
Senior pitcher, Jordyn McDonald also contributed with her performance in the circle. McDonald pitched a week total 29 innings, collecting three wins in her four appearance for the Highlanders. In a 4-0 win over Saint Joseph’s, she collected her second shutout this season, allowing only five hits while striking out five. On the week she posted a 2.66 ERA allowing just 14 runs in her 125 batters faced, with 23 strikeouts and a 3-1 record.
The Aggies hosted the Aggie Stampede II, going .500 in the three days of play. The Aggies improve to 9-17 overall with their three wins against Idaho State, while falling to No. 1 California early in the week and Sacramento State twice in tournament play. Freshman pitcher Justine Vela grabbed the weekly honors for her performance from the circle with a 3.30 ERA in her tournament contests, collecting 18 strikeouts and winning three of her four matchups. On offense, Kelly Harman recorded a .556 batting average over six games and a .929 slugging percentage after to home runs. Harman had the game-winning hit against Idaho State in a 3-2 victory in the bottom of the seventh.
BIG WEST PROGRESS
Midweek play started off with Big West teams going 3-3 as they entered tournament play. Five of the eight Big West Conference softball teams were .500 or above last week improving the overall standing to 70-120 (.396). Pacific is the only team over .500 with two teams treading close behind at .462. The league together had a winning record of 23-21 over the week, its first winning week so far in the pre-season tournament play.
Five teams played host last weekend to non-conference competitors, improving the overall home record to 33-24, while 14-12 last week. This week four Big West fields will play hosts to non-conference matchups with five ranked opponent battles.
TIGERS CLAW TO THE TOP
Pacific continues to improve with a 5-1 record last week, their only loss to a No. 5 Arizona at the Diamond Devil Invitational. The Tigers improve to 14-9, the only Big West team to be over .500, while marking a .833 record last week. It is a joined effort from the Tigers as four players are batting over .300 and the team overall is batting .281, the third highest in conference competition.
The triple-threat Nikki Armagost received the Big West Player of the Week after a stellar performance at the plate, in the field and in the circle. Armagost marked a .455 average over the week with three home runs and a double in her 10 hit week. She leads the league with a .377 batting average and 2.05 ERA. Teammate Nicole Matson makes her presence known in the Big West rankings sitting at the top of the charts for most home runs (7), slugging percentage (.732), and second-highest on base percentage (.488), runs scored (21) and runs batted in (23).
49er GETS IT DONE
Sophomore pitcher for Long Beach State, Erin Jones-Wesley collected all three wins for the 49ers last week improving to 10-8. She started four of the five games played last week, which included three complete games, and two shutouts for Long Beach. She pitched a total 23.1 innings to allow only 24 hits in her 112 batters faced, with 18 strikeouts and a 3.30 ERA.
She leads the team starting 17 of the 22 games played so far on the season with a 10-8 record and 2.68 ERA. Jones-Wesley is the sole owner of each of the 49ers wins this season as the team has collected a 10-17 record thus far. She leads the league in innings pitched (112.1), wins (10), tied for first in most starts (17) and ranks second in league-leading ERA (2.68).
BIG WEST BEING “WATCHED”
The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) announced February 1st that Pacific junior pitcher/utility Nikki Armagost has been selected to the Top 50 “Watch List” for the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award.
Now in its 11th year, the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, given by the National Governing Body for softball in the United States, recognizes outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
As a sophomore, Armagost was named the 2011 Big West Player of the Year as well as an All-Big West First Team honoree and a Second Team All-Region award winner. Armagost was a vital two-way player in helping Pacific capture the 2011 Big West championship. She ended the season posting a .367 average with 65 hits, and went 19-11 overall in the circle with a 2.66 ERA.
MOORE MAKES NATIONAL TEAM
Junior catcher Amy Moore will be the first player in Tigers’ program history to be an active player on the roster of a national team. Moore was one of 16 players to be named to the 2012 Great Britain National Team on February 17 to represent Great Britain at the Canadian Cup in Vancouver during the Summer of 2012.
Moore will join the Great Britain squad at the conclusion of her junior season at Pacific to play for the currently ranked No. 11 squad in the world and No. 3 in Europe. The Canadian Cup is used as a warm up for the 2012 World Championships played in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada among the top 16 teams from around the world.
ESPNU & ESPN3
In collaboration with ESPN and the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, the Big West Conference launched a ten-game distribution package on ESPN3 this past Fall. The first appearance for Big West women’s softball will be the double-header at Cal State Fullerton against Long Beach State for conference play on May 5 at 2:30 pm and 5:00 pm on ESPNU. The second double-header televised will be a LBSU at Pacific battle on May 11, slated for 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm on ESPN3.
This year’s package included a volleyball match, two baseball, two men’s basketball, two women’s basketball, one MPSF men’s volleyball and two softball games. The addition of games on ESPN3 extends ESPN’s current five-year deal with the Big West, which continues through the 2012-13 season.
ESPN3 is currently available in more than 70 million households through computers, tablets and smart phones and in 25 million households via Xbox gaming consoles.
BACK FOR MORE
Three-year All-Big West First-Team recipient Alex Holmes will return to the Aggies’ dugout this season but in a different capacity. Holmes will be returning as a student-assistant coach under head coach Karen Yoder. While on the Davis’ lineup Holmes made club and conference rankings including national recognition from NCAA Division I statistics with eight triples in 2011.