SACRAMENTO, Calif. – One season after posting a 25-21 overall record and 12-4 league mark, Sacramento State was selected to finish second in the Big Sky Conference softball preseason coaches poll, it was announced by the league today.
Second-year head coach Lori Perez will oversee a roster that returns 16 players from last season's team, including eight position starters and three pitchers. The Hornets went 17-8 over their final 25 games of the 2014 season and finished in second place in the conference standings, just a half game back of Idaho State.
This year will mark the third season of Big Sky softball, and the-eight team league will consist of Idaho State, Sacramento State, Northern Colorado, Southern Utah, Weber State, Portland State, Montana and North Dakota. Montana is a first-year program and is joining the league in softball for the first time this season.
The winner of the Big Sky Championship (May 7-9) 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 winner.
Defending Big Sky regular season champion Idaho State sits atop the poll after receiving 48 total points and six first-place votes. Behind the Bengals are Sacramento State (42 points, one first-place vote), Northern Colorado (34), defending Big Sky Tournament champion Southern Utah (32 points, one first-place vote), Weber State (29), Portland State (16), Montana (14) and North Dakota (10).
The Hornets return starters at catcher (Nikki Gialketsis), first base (Sasha Margulies), shortstop (Paige Castro), third base (Alexis Martinez), left field (Nicole Clark), center field (Alexa Chattleton), right field (Paige Martin) and designated player (Kortney Solis). Amazingly, all eight of those players received some form of all-league recognition last season, including first teamer Martinez and second teamers Martin and Solis. The remaining five were each selected honorable mention all-conference.
Three pitchers, comprised of Caitlin Brooks, Kaitlyn Yerby and Jennifer Hartman, also return. Brooks, who is the reigning Big Sky Pitcher of the Year and first team all-league selection, leads a pitching staff that paced the conference in overall ERA (2.83) and ERA against league opposition (2.22).
Of the 20 players on the roster, 12 are upperclassmen, including six seniors and six juniors.
Sacramento State begins the season on Friday, Feb. 6, when the team plays at Long Beach State in the first of three games over two days at the So Cal Collegiate Classic.
2015 BIG SKY PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Idaho State (6) - 48
2. Sacramento Sate (1) - 42
3. Northern Colorado - 34
4. Southern Utah (1) - 32
5. Weber State - 29
6. Portland State - 16
7. Montana - 14
8. North Dakota - 10
October 6, 2015 SOFTBALL SETS SCHOOL RECORD WITH EIGHT NFCA SCHOLAR-ATHLETES
July 24, 2015 SOFTBALL SIGNS ALL-STATE PITCHER TAYLOR TESSIER
May 6, 2015 SOFTBALL BEGINS BIG SKY CHAMPIONSHIP ON THURSDAY
April 27, 2015 BROOKS EARNS 12TH CAREER BIG SKY PITCHER OF THE WEEK AWARD
April 18, 2015 SOFTBALL FALLS AT HOME TO IDAHO STATE, 7-2
April 15, 2015 SOFTBALL FALLS AT PACIFIC IN FINAL NON-LEAGUE GAME
April 13, 2015 MATTHIAS AND MARGULIES SWEEP BIG SKY SOFTBALL WEEKLY AWARDS
April 2, 2015 SOFTBALL TAKES PERFECT LEAGUE RECORD TO SOUTHERN UTAH
March 20, 2015 SOFTBALL SWEEPS NORTHERN COLORADO TO OPEN BIG SKY PLAY
March 18, 2015 SOFTBALL SPLITS A HOME DOUBLEHEADER WITH NEVADA
March 10, 2015 SOFTBALL FALLS AT UC DAVIS, SETS SIGHTS ON 14-GAME HOMESTAND
February 28, 2015 SOFTBALL ERASES EARLY DEFICIT IN 5-4 WIN OVER COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
February 27, 2015 SOFTBALL SPLITS A PAIR ON FIRST DAY OF NORTHRIDGE TOURNAMENT
February 26, 2015 SOFTBALL TO PLAY FIVE GAMES OVER THREE DAYS IN NORTHRIDGE
February 24, 2015 SOFTBALL POUNDS OUT 12 HITS, BUT FALLS AT HOME TO PACIFIC, 8-6
February 21, 2015 SOFTBALL DROPS A PAIR IN HOME OPENER AGAINST SAINT MARY’S
February 19, 2015 SOFTBALL HOSTS SAINT MARY'S ON SATURDAY IN HOME OPENER
February 15, 2015 MARGULIES WALKOFF AND BROOKS GEM LEAD SOFTBALL TO WIN VS. UC RIVERSIDE
February 14, 2015 SOFTBALL DROPS A PAIR OF EXTRA INNING GAMES IN FRESNO
February 13, 2015 SOFTBALL DROPS 6-0 DECISION TO #23 CALIFORNIA
February 13, 2015 SOFTBALL OPENS FRESNO TOURNEY WITH 6-2 LOSS TO UC DAVIS
February 12, 2015 SOFTBALL TRAVELS TO FRESNO FOR FIVE GAMES OVER THREE DAYS
February 7, 2015 MARTIN’S 3-RUN BLAST DELIVERS SOFTBALL A 4-1 WIN AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT
February 6, 2015 SOFTBALL DROPS SEASON OPENER AT LONG BEACH STATE
February 6, 2015 SOFTBALL PICKS UP FIRST WIN, DEFEATS NORTHWESTERN STATE, 4-2
February 5, 2015 SOFTBALL OPENS SEASON FRIDAY IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
January 28, 2015 SOFTBALL SELECTED SECOND IN THE BIG SKY PRESEASON COACHES POLL
November 13, 2014 SOFTBALL SIGNS ALAS, CORR, DIAZ, MOORE, RASMUSSEN AND STRONG
October 3, 2014 SOFTBALL RELEASES ITS 2015 SCHEDULE
September 26, 2014 SACRAMENTO STATE WOMEN’S ATHLETICS TO HOST OKTOBERFEST ON OCT. 4