Big West Softball Finishes First Week of Conference Play
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Conference play presented itself last week for the first matchups of the season between league opponents. The top two preseason poll teams walked away with their first series losses as Cal State Northridge had the 2-1 series advantage at Pacific and UC Santa Barbara grabbed the 2-1 matchup record over Long Beach State at home. Pacific continues to lead the conference in overall percentage (.618), while Northridge with the overall lowest conference percentage (.226) takes the first series win.
In all four head-to-head competitions, the winning team on the first day of contest was able to pull away with the series victory, only excluding Pacific. Cal State Northridge was the only team to manage a back-to-back win against the Tigers, while it was a back and forth battle between other conference foes. UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara were able to get the at home series win’s while Northridge and Cal State Fullerton taking the visiting series win.
BIG WEST CONCLUDES NON-CONFERENCE PLAY
In the final week of non-conference games, nine matchups took place on the Big West softball schedules. Cal Poly finished its last non-conference opponent matchups going up against No. 14 UCLA in a two game sweep by the Bruins, while the Matadors competed against Oregon State for a pair of losses, still with three non-conference games to play during league play. Cal State Fullerton will take on one more opponent, San Diego State later in between conference play for two matchups, while the Aggies have one more game against nationally ranked Stanford later in the season. Both Pacific and UC Santa Barbara competed last week against non-conference rivals, Pacific taking a sweep over Cal State Bakersfield and Long Beach dropping an 2-1 contest to Fresno State. Closing out the Big West teams, Long Beach State and UC Riverside will only take on conference opponents for now on as they have finished pre-conference play challengers.
KOLZE COLLECTS 600th CAREER WIN
Entering the season with 580 career wins, head coach Brian Kolze has reached the 600 win plateau after picking up his 20th win in 2012 with victories against Cal State Bakersfield. Kolze earned his milestone victory with a doubleheader sweep of the Roadrunners on the road as Pacific won 9-3 in game one before taking a 10-0 (5 inn.) win in game two for their coach.
Kolze is No. 2 all-time after passing former Cal State Fullerton coach Judi Garman (581 wins) at Stanford’s Nike Invitational.
TIGERS CONTINUE WITH TOP RANKS
Despite the opening series loss, the Tigers continue to dominate the statistic across the boards both offensively and defensively. At the plate both top two batting averages belong to the Tigers, Megan Hom (.420) and Nikki Armagost (3.98), Nicole Matson leads in slugging percentage (.718), Matson first in on base percentage (.492), Hom (36) and Matson (28) ranked on top in runs scored, total hits this season Hom (50) and Armagost (45) and Armagost leads with 12 doubles and Matson with nine home runs. Defensively the circle has shown composure and dominance for the Tigers as well. Tori Shepard leads the conference with a 2.33 ERA followed close behind by teammate Armagost (2.42), while Shepard also holds the most saves (7), games finished (14) and games in relief (14).
FULLERTON FIGHTS TO THE END
Taking on Cal Poly in its first conference matchup, the Titans went out swinging last week for the first win of the series 10-2 in a shortened six innings. Senior Nicole Johnson went 3-for-3 with a home run and four RBI to help pace a 12-hit Cal State Fullerton attack, gaining recognition for Big West Player of the Week. The double header was postponed due to weather conditions, so the back-to-back matchup was played out the following day.
In a Sunday split, the Titans went home with the first series win of the conference rivalrys. Sophomore Leesa Harris led Fullerton with three hits onthe day while senior Anissa Young homered and drove in four. Senior Nicole Johnson also finished 2-for-2 with a double and two runs scored, but was walked four times (twice intentionally) and was hit by a pitch. Johnson, Harris, and Eliza Crawford each extended their hitting streaks to four games while Johnson and Harris have now reached base safely in each of their last six consecutive
The Cal State Fullerton softball team will host conference rival UC Santa Barbara this weekend, leading the all-time series with the Gauchos by a 101-10 count in a series that dates back to 1980.
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.