Irvine, Calif. - For the second year in a row, the Pacific softball team took home a slew of post-season awards as the Tigers dominated the All-Big West teams as announced on Wednesday, May 16. Pacific was headlined by a pair of major award winners as junior Nikki Armagost was named Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight year while senior Nicole Matson took home Defensive Player of Year honors.
In addition to the major awards, the Tigers placed eight players and grabbed 10 spots on the all-conference teams. Along with their major awards, Armagost earned first team honors as a first baseman while Matson was named the conference's top shortstop. Joining the duo on the first team was junior Megan Hom as an outfielder and sophomore Kelsey Rodriguez as both a utility player and the conference's top designated player. On the second team, Armagost came away with an award as one of the top pitchers while sophomore Tori Shepard (pitcher), senior Alexa Rivera (second base) and sophomore Taylor Petty (outfield) also earned awards. Junior Amy Moore grabbed honorable mention honors as the Tigers' starting catcher.
Armagost became just the sixth player in Big West history to take home player of the year honors twice in a career and the first since Jenny Topping (Cal State Fullerton) was named the conference's top player in three-straight seasons from 2001-03. Additionally, the award is her third straight major honor after also earning Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year honors in 2010.
Putting together a second straight epic season at the plate, Armagost etched her name among the Tigers' and the Big West's all-time greats as the junior posted a .433 batting average on the season. Her .433 average ranked No. 7 in the Big West record book and No. 2 in Pacific's single-season history as the junior ranked in the top-15 nationally in hitting. Even more impressive for Armagost than her .433 average on the season was her dominance against conference foes as she upped her already unbelievable average to .482 in Big West play. With her stellar average, Armagost pounded out 71 hits in 51 games, finishing second in the conference only to Hom. Of her 71 hits, the junior posted 23 extra-base hits as she finished her campaign with 18 doubles and five home runs. Her 18 doubles ranked first among Big West players and sixth nationally in the regular season. For the year, Armagost finished in the top-10 in nine different offensive categories: Batting Avg. (1st-.433), Hits (71-2nd), RBI (38-2nd), On-Base% (.495-2nd), Slugging (.634-3rd), Runs (35-3rd), Doubles (18-1st), HR (5-9th), and Total Bases (104-1st). During the year, Armagost took home player of the week honors in three different weeks (Mar. 12, Mar. 26, Apr. 30), the most of any Big West player in 2012.
In addition to taking home the major honor of offensive player of the year, Armagost took home a pair of all-conference honors as both a first baseman and pitcher. In the field, Armagost was one of the best defenders in the Big West as the junior committed just one error throughout the year to finish with a .996 fielding percentage, the third best among all players. In the circle, Armagost was strong as well as she finished her year with an 11-7 overall record while sporting a 2.29 ERA. Armagost finished her year fourth in the Big West in ERA and opponent batting average as she held the opposition to a .235 average against.
With Armagost taking home the offensive honors, Matson grabbed the defensive honors for her outstanding play at short throughout her final season. One of the most talented shortstops in the country, Matson routinely made the impossible look mundane en route to the yearly award. Placed in the middle of the Tiger defense, Matson produced an awe-inspiring run of excellence in the field to end the year as she finished the season with an 18-game run of perfection. Additionally, over the final 34 games of Pacific's season, Matson committed just four errors despite producing a range that covered half of the field.
On top of her defensive honors, Matson also grabbed the conference's top spot at shortstop for the year as the senior was a force to be reckoned with at the plate for the conference's top offense. Hitting in the cleanup spot and protecting Armagost, Matson put together yet another record campaign at the plate as she led the Big West in every major power category. In her final season, Matson blasted 13 home runs, 10th most in conference history, while driving in 49 RBI, a mark which ranked No. 7 in the conference's record books. Additionally, Matson led the league in slugging (.679), on-base% (.513), walks (35) and hit-by-pitch (18). Matson completed the season in the top-10 in nine different categories as and in addition to the categories she led she finished in the top in batting average (.336-5th), runs (45-2nd), total bases (91-4th) and stolen bases (15-4th). With her second-straight 40+ RBI, 40 run season, Matson became just the second Tiger in program history to reach the 40/40 plateua twice and the first to do it in back-to-back seasons. For her play, Matson took home player of the week honors once throughout the year as she garnered the award on Mar. 5.
Also joining Armagost and Matson on the first team was Hom, who took home her third straight first team award as an outfielder. One of the most dangerous threats in the conference at the top of the Tigers' order, Hom put together one of the finest seasons in Pacific history as the junior hit .409 to finish with the third-best single-season average ever. With her .409 average, Hom produced 76 hits on the year to lead the Big West, a mark which ranks as the most by any Tiger in the regular season and second most all-time. Her 76 hits placed the junior inside of the nation's top-10 hitters for the 2012 regular season. While reaching base at a record pace, Hom scored at a scorching rate as she touched home 49 times throughout the year to lead the Big West and place her name No. 2 in Pacific history and No. 10 in conference history. For the year, Hom was also superb in the field as she patrolled center field for Pacific in all 54 games.
Also earning first team honors for yet another season, Pacific's swiss-army knife, Kelsey Rodriguez, took home a pair of first team honors while playing DP, catcher, first base and second base throughout the year. A year after leading the conference in hitting as a freshman, Rodriguez was nearly as good as the sophomore finished her second season with a .325 average. Batting all throughout the heart of the Tigers' order, Rodriguez drove in 33 RBI on the season to finish fourth among all Big West hitters while finishing third on the team. Picking up when the Tigers needed her in conference action, Rodriguez drove in nearly half of her runs against Big West foes as she led the conference with 15 RBI in Big West play. For the year, the sophomore finished in the top-10 in 10 different offensive categories: batting average (.325-9th), hits (52-7th), on-base% (.417-8th), slugging (.481-10th), runs (34-4th), RBI (33-4th), doubles (10-6th), HR (5-9th), total bases (77-6th) and sacrifice bunts (15-2nd). She was named the conference's top weekly player once in 2012 as she took home the award on Apr. 9.
For the second straight season, Shepard was named to the conference's second team for her work in the circle for the Tigers. The sophomore pitcher established herself among the conference's best once again as she became Pacific's workhorse during her second season of action. Appearing in 35 contests for Pacific, Shepard led the way both as a starter and a finisher as the sophomore ended her season with a 13-5 overall record (6-1 in Big West games) while also picking up a program-record seven saves, a number which ranked No. 4 in the country. Shepard's 13 wins ranked as the fourth most in the Big West in 2012 while her 3.12 ERA and .247 batting average against both ranked sixth. During the year, Shepard took home one weekly pitching honor as the sophomore was named the Big West's best on Mar. 26 after going 2-0 with one save in Tempe, Ariz. during the ASU Diamond Devil Invitational.
In her final season of action, Rivera saved the best for last en route to her second career all-conference honor. Steadily improving her batting average throughout her career, Rivera finished her final season with a career-best .302 average, fifth-best among the Tigers. In 42 hits on the year, Rivera posted nine extra-base hits including hitting her first-career home run. Rivera's home run came on her 394th career at bat and was a game-tying strike against Sacramento State on Mar. 3 at the Tigers' Louisville Slugger Invitational.
In just her second season of action, Petty earned her first-ever all-conference award as she moved to the outfield for the first time in her playing career. Taking over right field for the Tigers, Petty put together a solid year at the plate and in the field. For the year, Petty hit .254 with nine extra-base hits including three home runs, 23 RBI and 14 runs scored. Upping her play against conference opponents, Petty produced a .327 batting average while driving in a conference-best 15 RBI in 20 games played. In the field, Petty used her strong arm to cut down four runners on the basepaths including gunning down a pair at the plate in conference play.
Behind the dish for the third straight year, Moore earned her second-straight all-conference honor for her play as the Tiger's starting catcher. Despite a down year by her own standards, Moore finished the season among the top offensive threats as the junior hit .242 while driving in 31 RBI, fifth most in the Big West. On the year, Moore posted 38 hits with nine extra-base hits including a pair of home runs and seven doubles. Additionally, Moore struck out just 12 times, the lowest among the Tigers' starters. Defensively, Moore threw out 12 would-be basestealers while allowing a conference-low 18 stolen bases. She also added a pair of pickoffs to bring her program-record total to 16 for her career.