Big West Softball Competes With 3-of-4 Swept
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Three of four conference matchups last week ended with a sweep as Pacific, UC Davis, and Long Beach State took the 3-0 series win from opponents to improve their conference records, while Cal State Fullerton took a 2-1 series victory over UC Santa Barbara. UC Davis improved to 5-1 in conference standing for the solo lead going into this weeks contests. Last season the Aggies were 3-4 after week two, this week Davis will face same opponent as last season, Long Beach State in the third week where the 49ers were able to take all three games. Following close behind in a three-way tie on the Big West leader board is Pacific, Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton, 4-2 against league opponents going into the third week of conferences play.
MUSTANGS COLLECT FIRST ROAD WIN
In their first road win of the season, Cal Poly faced Fresno State to start the week with a extra-inning battle to come out on top in a 4-3 win in the 10th inning. Going into its eighth road game, the Mustangs made history snapping a 17-season, 12-game losing slide at Bulldog Diamond. This was also the longest game Cal Poly has played downing its opponent since Utah Sate in March of 2009. The win gave the Mustangs their ninth overall win improving to 9-25.
Starting pitcher for Cal Poly, freshman Jordan Yates (2-7) collected her first collegiate road win of the season tossing a career-high 133 pitches. Yates pitched a complete game, only allowing three runs on eight hits with only one earned run and a solo strikeout. On offense sophomore Maria Cochiolio’s two-run homer sent it into extra innings, as teammate Kim Westlund came through with a two-out single in the top of the tenth for the Mustangs to make the final push for the win.
TIGERS DOMINATE OFFENSIVELY
In a three-game sweep against UC Riverside last week, the Pacific Tigers improved their offensive numbers tremendously unable to go unnoticed both nationally and conference wide. As a team the Tiger’s lead the conference in batting average (.311), slugging percentage (.457), on base percentage (.394), runs scored (195), hits (303), runs batted in (173), doubles (63) and home runs (26). Ranked nationally at No. 27 for batting average (.311) and No. 6 in the nation for doubles per game (1.7). Individually the Tigers dominate as well with Nicole Matson and Megan Hom taking the lead on most stats.
Starting senior Matson is just 10 RBI short of the tying her Big West career-record 50 RBI in a single season sitting in the sixth spot. For the No. 1 spot in conference history Matson would have to obtain 19 more RBI on the season as Jenny Topping (59) holds the record from her 2001 season at Cal State Fullerton. Nationally Matson is ranked No. 4 for her 1.07 RBI per game and No. 34 for her .30 home runs per game. Matson leads the league in home runs with 11 of the Tigers total 26 on the season.
Junior outfielder, Megan Hom found herself on the leader board last season for her career batting average of .367 for ninth in all-time Big West history. At this point in the season Hom has improved to an impressive .432 average for the No. 2 slot in all-time career batting average in the conference. She improved her average from the week before, .426 to .432 last week, garnering the No. 24 spot in the nation for season batting average. She also currently leads the league in batting average (.432), runs scored (39), hits (57) and total plate appearances (148).
DYNAMIC DUO OWN LBSU WINS
Collecting two wins last week, Long Beach State’s Taylor Petty improved to 3-1, with 3-of-4 conference wins this season for the 49ers. Petty is accompanied by Erin Jones-Wesley who has the other win on the week for the 49ers and the solo 12 non-conference wins this season. The duo only allowed 11 hits while striking out 10 in a two-game sweep against Cal Poly in the first day of the series play. The two wins marked the first time this season the 49ers have been able to sweep a pair of games on the same day, after playing 11 other doubleheader contests.
The two bounced back on Saturday to complete the three-game sweep against Cal Poly in a 2-1 win. Petty picked up the win for the 49ers pitching a total four innings while keeping the Mustangs scoreless with four strikeouts. Jones-Wesley collected her first save of the season pitching a total three innings, allowing the Mustangs only run and striking out three.
UC DAVIS STRIKES HIGH
Holding the No. 1 spot after two weeks of conference play, the pre-season ranked No. 7 Aggies are showing nothing less than composure and defense to continue their climb to the top. Justine Vela and Jessica Thweatt each posted eight-inning complete game shutouts with 10 strikeouts apiece, helping the UC Davis softball team take 1-0 and 2-0 wins in a doubleheader sweep over Cal State Northridge on Friday at Matador Diamond followed by a 3-0 win by Vela on Saturday.
Starting pitcher for Davis, Vela took the Big West weekly honors after her performance in three games last week, where she tossed a total 30 strikeouts to be ranked No. 11 in the country with an average 9.4 K’s in a seven-inning contest. Vela leads the season with 171 total strikeouts in the Big West thus far while holding her opponents to an impressive .203 batting average.
Jessica Thweatt paired with Vela in the weekend matchup verses Northridge collecting her fourth vicotry this season while closing out the bottom of the eighth with three-consecutive strikeouts to seal the deal for the Aggeis second win over the Matadors in the doubleheader Friday.
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.
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.