STOCKTON, Calif. – The Pacific softball team kicks off the 2018 season with a road trip down to Phoenix, Ariz. for the second annual Grand Canyon Kickoff Tournament.
The Tigers embark on their first nonconference match this Friday, Feb. 9th, at 8:30 A.M. against Weber State followed by an 11:00 A.M. game versus Montana. The Orange and Black will have a rematch with the Wildcats on Saturday at 1:00 P.M. before taking on hosts Grand Canyon University (GCU) at 5:30 P.M. and cap their trip off with a Sunday morning showdown at 9:00 A.M. against No. 1 Oklahoma. Live stats will be provided throughout the tournament.
The Tigers look to improve on last year's 28-26 record by starting their season in one of the most competitive opening tournaments for Division I women's softball.
All four of Pacific's opponents were postseason participants in 2017, either winning or being a runner-up for their conference title.
Weber State fell to the eventual Big Sky Champs, Montana, while GCU split with New Mexico State to earn a share of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) as Co-Champions. No. 1 Oklahoma made a run for the Big 12 title and the postseason crowning themselves as NCAA Tournament Champions.
In last season's opening tournament, Pacific finished Cal State Fullerton's Easton Invitational with a three-game sweep of North Dakota State and the Titans. The Orange and Black allowed only one run during their three-match stretch, with pitchers Hailey Reed and Marissa Young each posting shutouts in the circle.
Reed, Young, and infielder Syndey Lahners each look to build off of their notable seasons for the Tigers being named to the All-West Coast Conference Preseason Team.
Sophomore Hailey Reed had a stellar freshman campaign winning co-Freshman of the Year with 16 starts, nine complete games, an ERA of 2.48, the second-lowest on the team.
Pairing up with senior Marissa Young, the duo poses as one of the top pitching tandems in conference. Young finished with the second-best ERA mark in WCC history with 2.22 and a career-high 23 starts for the Orange and Black. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native is 28-19 suiting up for Pacific.
Lahners will be a noteworthy aid to the Orange and Black's offense this season. The senior infielder has increased her hit total by ten or more each year, recording 50 hits in 2017. Lahners led the team with 38 RBI and was second in slugging with .506.
Players like Caitlyn Sung, Rachel Sellers, Samantha Owen, and Molly Bourne also look to have a strong presence at bat for Pacific, recording 30+ hits for their team last season.
With the emergence of four freshman: Megan Fields, Talli Shepherd, Bethany Hammer, and Madeline Domingo the Tigers have a well-rounded crew of experience and young talent approaching the 2018 season.
The Orange and Black were selected to finish 2nd overall in the WCC according to the WCC Preseason Coaches' Poll.
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