Softball: Tigers Picked Third In Preseason Coaches Poll
Entering its final season in the Big West Conference, the Pacific softball team was picked to finish third by the conference's coaches as the Preseason Coaches Poll was released on Wednesday, January 30. The Tigers, who took home the 2011 Big West title, picked up 58 points and one first place vote in the poll as they trailed Hawai'i and Long Beach State. The newest members of the Big West, the Rainbow Wahine, were picked to win the conference in their first season of action as Hawai'i earned 76 points and four first place votes. Long Beach State, the reigning Big West champions, tallied 73 points and four first place votes in the poll to finish second.
Looking for its second title in the last three seasons, the Tigers are also expected to contend for the conference championship after finishing 34-20 a year ago. The Tigers are led by one of the nation's top two-way players in senior Nikki Armagost. Armagost, the 2012 Big West Offensive Player of the Year, led the conference in batting average (.433), doubles (18) and total bases (104), while also ranking in the top five in runs scored (35 - 3rd), hits (71 - 2nd), RBI (38 - 2nd) and slugging percentage (.634 - 3rd).
Armagost also excelled in the circle with an 11-7 record and 2.29 ERA. Fellow senior Megan Hom gives the Tigers another .400 hitter in the lineup and first team all-conference performer. Hom hit .409 with a Big West leading 49 runs scored. In addition to Armagost, the Pacific pitching staff is bolstered by the return of junior Tori Shepard, who received All-Big West Second Team acclaim and amassed a league-leading seven saves. Pacific begins its 2013 season on Feb. 9 as the Tigers help christen Santa Clara's new stadium with an opening day doubleheader. The Tigers and the Broncos kick off the new year at 11:00 am for the first game of the day. For Pacific, its final run through the Big West commences on March 23 when the Tigers host UC Riverside at Bill Simoni Field to begin conference play.
2013 Big West Softball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Hawai'i (4)-76
2. Long Beach State (4)-73
3. Pacific (1)-58
4. UC Santa Barbara-52
5. UC Davis-51
6. Cal State Fullerton-33
7. Cal Poly-24
8. UC Riverside-22
9. Cal State Northridge-16
( ) First-place votes