SOFTBALL SELECTED THIRD IN THE BIG SKY PRESEASON COACHES POLL

SOFTBALL SELECTED THIRD IN THE BIG SKY PRESEASON COACHES POLL

Big Sky Release

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento State, which has combined for a 52-26 conference record over the last four years, was selected to finish third out of eight teams in the Big Sky Conference softball preseason coaches poll, it was announced by the league today.

Fifth-year head coach Lori Perez will oversee a roster that includes 13 returners from a year ago, including six positional starters and three pitchers. The Hornets will also welcome five newcomers to the roster, including two transfers from Div. I institutions. The Hornets finished 2017 with a 21-28-1 overall record and a 10-10 mark in league play, winning seven of their final 10 games of the season.

This year marks the sixth season of softball in the Big Sky, which is an eight team league. This year's Big Sky Tournament will take place in Ogden, Utah, at Weber State's home field from May 10-12. The winner of the three-day event receives an automatic berth to the NCAA Regionals. This year will mark the first pre-determined Big Sky Tournament site. In the past, the winner of the regular season championship hosted the event.

Defending Big Sky Tournament champion Montana sits atop the preseason poll with 47 points and five first-place votes. Weber State, which won last year's Big Sky regular season title, sits in second with 45 points and three first-place votes. Rounding out the field are Sacramento State (37), Idaho State (27), North Dakota (T5th, 24), Southern Utah (T5th, 24), Northern Colorado (T7th, 10) and Portland State (T7th, 10).

The Hornets return three starters in the infield, comprised of second baseman Zamari Hinton, shortstop Sydney Rasmussen and corner infielder Mo Spieth. In addition, the Hornets return starting outfielders Suzy Brookshire, Marissa Maligad and Nene Alas. Hinton and Brookshire were first team all-conference selections while Spieth was an honorable mention all-league choice. The Hornets also welcome back Traci Shaw, who started 11 conference games at designated player, and Jessica Scott who started eight conference games behind the plate.

Sacramento State returns three pitchers, including right-handers Celina Matthias and Savanna Corr, as well as left-hander Danielle Sperry. Two years ago, Matthias was named third team all-Pacific Region, Big Sky Pitcher of the Year and first team all-league. She ranks in the program's top 10 in numerous career categories including fifth in appearances (103), sixth in strikeouts (309) and seventh in wins (38).

Of the 19 players on the roster, there are three seniors, five juniors, nine sophomores and two freshmen. Among the newcomers are Washington transfer Krystal Aubert and New Mexico State transfer Kaitlyn Rubio.

The Hornets open the 2018 season next week when they host a three-day, 10-game tournament at Shea Stadium that includes Cal, UC Santa Barbara and Santa Clara. The tournament takes place Feb. 9-11, and features three games on Friday, four on Saturday, and three on Sunday. The Hornets play their first game of the tournament on Friday at 3 p.m. vs. Santa Clara. For tournament schedule and more information, click here for the tournament home page.

2018 BIG SKY PRESEASON COACHES POLL

Team - Points (First Place Votes)
1. Montana (5) - 47
2. Weber State (3) - 45
3. Sacramento State - 37
4. Idaho State - 27
T5. North Dakota - 24
T5. Southern Utah - 24
T7. Northern Colorado - 10
T7. Portland State - 10