May 13, 2014
DAVIS, Calif. - Sophomore shortstop Christa Castello earned a spot on the second team, junior first baseman Amy Nunez received honorable mention and freshman right-hander Dana Cruse collected all-freshman recognition when the Big West released its all-conference lists.
Tuesday’s announcement marks the second time in as many years that Castello captured second team honors; teammates Nunez and Cruse were recognized for the first time in their respective careers.
Castello held three NCAA rankings at the conclusion of the 2014 regular season; the No. 33 toughest player in the country to strikeout by fanning once every 22.9 at bats, she also finished No. 37 in the nation in triples and No. 83 in triples per game.
In addition to recording team-high numbers with her .317 batting average, .365 on base percentage, 58 hits and four triples, her hits total also doubled as the Big West’s sixth-highest figure.
Throughout the final weeks of the season, the Concord native finished strong by raising her batting average nearly 20 percentage points. UC Davis’ leadoff batter in every game played this past season hit .353 with runners on base, .417 with Aggies in scoring position and earned two-thirds of her 21 RBI with two outs.
Besides hitting 13 doubles, a top-five total for a majority of the season, Nunez was ranked No. 3 in the conference in putouts, recorded the seventh-highest fielding percentage and set new offensive career-high numbers nearly across the board.
Hailing from Huntington Beach, Calif., Nunez slugged .550 against the Aggies conference counterparts and earned eight of her 23 RBI on the year with two outs.
One of two true pitchers named to the All-Freshman Team, Cruse ended her inaugural season at UC Davis ranked No. 5 in opposing batting average (.266) opposing batting average, No. 8 in strikeouts (68) and ERA (3.54) and No. 10 in innings thrown (130.1).
The San Diego native also finished her first season as an Aggie with 11 victories, five complete games and three complete-game shutout wins. Against Big West opposition, Cruse posted the third-lowest batting average (.237) and ERA (1.67).
The first player since Aggie right-hander Justine Vela accomplished the feat in 2012, Cal Poly’s Sierra Hyland became the third player in the last four seasons to collect both league Pitcher and Freshman Pitcher of the Year honors when the Big West also released its list of specialty award winners.
Cal State Fullerton shortstop Missy Taukeiaho and UC Santa Barbara’s Kristen Clark were named conference Player of the Year and Freshman Field Player of the Year respectively, Long Beach State’s Kim Sowder is the Big West's Coach of the Year with her shortstop, Shayna Kimbrough, named Defensive Player of the Year.