SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State, which enters the 2014 season with a new head coach for the first time in over two decades, was picked to finish second in the Big Sky Conference preseason coaches poll, it was announced today by the league.
First-year head coach Lori Perez will oversee a roster that returns 16 players from last season's team which finished 22-22 overall and 7-8 in the Big Sky. Among those 16 returners are seven returning positional starters and the entire pitching staff. Perez, who has 13 years of experience at Sacramento State as either a player or assistant coach, takes over the head coaching duties for Kathy Strahan who retired after 21 seasons.
This year will mark the second season of Big Sky Conference softball, and the seven-team league consists of Sacramento State, Portland State, Northern Colorado, Idaho State, Weber State, North Dakota and Southern Utah. The winner of the Big Sky Championship (May 8-10) will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Regionals. The three-day, double-elimination Big Sky Championship will be hosted by the conference's regular season champion.
Defending Big Sky regular season champion Idaho State sits atop the poll after receiving 35 points and five first-place votes. Behind Idaho State is Sacramento State (28 points, one first-place vote), Southern Utah (26 points, one first-place vote), Portland State (24), Northern Colorado (15), Weber State (13) and North Dakota (6). Portland State won last season's Big Sky Championship and received the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Regionals.
The Hornets return starters at catcher (Kortney Solis), first base (Alyssa Vanderdrink), second base (Kayla Papez), shortstop (Yesenia Alcala), left field (Alexa Chattleton) and right field (Paige Martin). The entire pitching staff of Caitlin Brooks, Taylor Stroud, Jennifer Hartman and Kaitlyn Yerby also return. The pitching staff combined to post a Big Sky-best 2.33 ERA last year, including Brooks who was a first team all-league selection after going 14-7 with a 1.81 ERA.
Martin was the team's leading hitter with a .336 batting average last season while Vanderdrink led the squad with four home runs. Also returning are three players who shared the designated player role last year in Alexis Martinez, Riley Price and Makenzie Wayadande. Martinez was batting .294 with a home run, three RBIs and a .455 on-base percentage before suffering a knee injury early in the 2013 season.
Sacramento State begins the season on Saturday, Feb. 8, when the team plays a doubleheader at Pacific. Each of the team's first 16 games of the season will come away from Shea Stadium as the Hornets' home opener doesn't take place until March 4 vs. UC Davis.
BIG SKY COACHES POLL
School - Points (First Place Votes)
1. Idaho State - 35 (5)
2. Sacramento State - 28 (1)
3. Southern Utah - 26 (1)
4. Portland State - 24
5. Northern Colorado - 15
6. Weber State - 13
7. North Dakota - 6
April 25, 2014 SOFTBALL SWEEPS WEBER STATE, NOW 12-4 IN CONFERENCE PLAY
April 24, 2014 SOFTBALL TO PLAY HUGE THREE-GAME SERIES AT WEBER STATE
April 23, 2014 SOFTBALL FALLS TO CAL IN FINAL NON-CONFERENCE GAME
April 17, 2014 SOFTBALL PLAYS ITS FINAL REGULAR SEASON HOME GAMES THIS WEEK
April 11, 2014 SOFTBALL SPLITS A DOUBLEHEADER AT IDAHO STATE
April 8, 2014 MARGULIES LEADS SOFTBALL TO 9-5 VICTORY AT PACIFIC
March 28, 2014 SOFTBALL SPLITS HOME DOUBLEHEADER WITH SOUTHERN UTAH
March 26, 2014 SOFTBALL’S GAME TODAY AT CAL POSTPONED BECAUSE OF RAIN
March 24, 2014 YERBY RECIPIENT OF BIG SKY PITCHER OF THE WEEK HONORS
March 22, 2014 SOFTBALL COMPLETES 3-GAME SWEEP OF NORTH DAKOTA WITH 9-0 WIN
March 12, 2014 SOFTBALL DROPS A PAIR OF GAMES AT NEVADA
March 11, 2014 LINDY WINKLER’S #3 TO BE RETIRED BY SOFTBALL ON SATURDAY
March 9, 2014 SOFTBALL CONCLUDES TOURNAMENT WITH 6-2 LOSS TO CAL POLY
March 4, 2014 SOFTBALL WINS ITS HOME OPENER OVER UC DAVIS, 5-0
March 3, 2014 SOFTBALL TO PLAY HOME OPENER TUESDAY VS. UC DAVIS
February 27, 2014 WINNERS OF FIVE OF THE LAST SEVEN, SOFTBALL TRAVELS TO MORAGA THIS WEEK
February 25, 2014 BROOKS EARNS BIG SKY SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
February 23, 2014 BROOKS’ SHUTOUT AND 7-RUN INNING LEAD SOFTBALL TO 7-0 WIN VS. SAN DIEGO
February 22, 2014 STROUD’S GEM LEADS SOFTBALL TO SPLIT IN SECOND DAY OF BRONCO CLASSIC
February 21, 2014 BROOKS’ 10 STRIKEOUTS LEADS SOFTBALL TO 3-1 WIN OVER SANTA CLARA
February 20, 2014 SOFTBALL PLAYS FOUR GAMES OVER THREE DAYS IN SANTA CLARA
February 16, 2014 SOFTBALL STRANDS 10 RUNNERS IN 1-0 LOSS TO UC RIVERSIDE
February 15, 2014 SOFTBALL POUNDS OUT 11 RUNS AND 15 HITS IN VICTORY OVER CSU BAKERSFIELD
February 15, 2014 SOFTBALL MERCY RULES UC RIVERSIDE, 9-1
February 14, 2014 DEFENSE HURTS SOFTBALL IN 3-2 EXTRA INNING LOSS TO UC SANTA BARBARA
February 14, 2014 SOFTBALL FALLS AT FRESNO STATE, 5-1
February 12, 2014 SOFTBALL DROPS SEASON OPENER AT UC DAVIS, 1-0
February 11, 2014 SOFTBALL OPENS SEASON WEDNESDAY AT UC DAVIS
February 5, 2014 2014 SOFTBALL SEASON OUTLOOK
January 23, 2014 SOFTBALL TO GET A FRESH LOOK IN 2014
January 22, 2014 SOFTBALL AND SOCCER RECEIVE NEW SCOREBOARDS
January 15, 2014 SOFTBALL SELECTED SECOND IN THE BIG SKY PRESEASON COACHES POLL
November 15, 2013 SOFTBALL SIGNS LOCAL PRODUCTS HINTON, MALIGAD AND MARTIN
November 5, 2013 2014 SOFTBALL SCHEDULE RELEASED
October 18, 2013 BLAIR AND HARTMAN BOTH RECIPIENTS OF NFCA SCHOLAR-ATHLETE ACCOLADES
August 28, 2013 WILLIS AND KAMINAKA HIRED AS SOFTBALL ASSISTANT COACHES
August 14, 2013 LORI PEREZ NAMED INTERIM HEAD SOFTBALL COACH