Senior Day - May 4, 2014 (vs. CSU) - Photos by Geoff Thurner, Copyright 2014.
Photo Gallery at St. Mary's (4/16/14) - Photos by Geoff Thurner, Copyright 2014.
Fresno Softball Action Pictures, October 2013. Photos by Geoff Thurner, Copyright 2013.
In 2014-15, Sara Pickering returned for her third season as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs after amassing a wealth of softball knowledge and coaching experience with several of the nation's finest programs.
With the 'Dogs, she oversees the team's infield defense, helps coordinate its hitting, handles team travel, and assists in other aspects of recruiting and administrative duties.
Since her arrival the 'Dogs claimed its first Mountain West title since joining the league in 2013 and claimed a 40-win season for the first time since 2010, with 2015 being only the 24th season the `Dogs have posted a +40 win season in program history.
Fresno State secured the 2015 MW title and automatic NCAA bid to postseason after clinching the regular season series against UNLV on May 8. The `Dogs entered the 2015 NCAA Eugene Regional riding an 11-game winning streak, adding to the complied 30 postseason appearances coming consecutively between the years of 1982 and 2011.
In her previous two seasons at Fresno State, the Bulldogs posted back-to-back +30 win seasons and runner-up Mountain West Conference finishes in 2013 and '14, and individually featured a MW-leading 16 all-conference honorees in that span.
One of the collegiate scene's most accomplished hitters and infielders in the modern era, she has had a quick and notable impact on the 'Dogs.
Defensively, Fresno State ranked top 35 nationally in both 2014 (33rd, .970) and 2013 (24th, .971) while ranking top two in the MW for the past three seasons.
Individually, Moss was one of the nation's leaders at the plate earning a 34th place ranking for a season batting average of .439 and tied for 36th in runs per game while junior pitcher Jill Compton tied for 21st after tossing eight shutouts, 13th for claiming 28 victories and 24th for a total of 242 strikeouts. The `Dogs cleanup batter, Kierra Willis stands third in the nation for recording nine triples on the year while pitcher Hannah Harris is fifth for the fewest walks per seven innings (.78).
Nationally in 2014, Moss (stolen bases, 18th, 0.65 p/g) was one of four Bulldogs that ranked top 100 offensively with Brooke Ortiz (triples, 14th, 5), Vonnie Martin (walks, 37th, 0.71 p/g) and Whitney Smith (toughest to strikeout, 79th, 1:17.4 at-bats).
In return for their excellence on the field, Fresno State has celebrated a league-leading 16 All-MW selections the last two years, and five All-Region picks in the past two seasons.
The team's hard work off the field was equally recognized with nine MW All-Academic nods in 2013 (Stesha Brazil, Harris, Taylor Langdon, Martin, Kelly Megee, Moss, Brooke Ortiz, Diane Runge and Whitney Smith) and six in 2014 (Kapri Angotti, Brazil, Harris, Megee, Moss and Ortiz). Additionally, Ford boasts two Academic All-District selections (Runge-2013; Harris-2014) in her three year career at Fresno State.
Prior to joining the `Dogs, Pickering spent two seasons coaching at Cal State Fullerton. She spent a season as the volunteer assistant and was promoted to a full-time assistant coaching position with the Titans in July of 2011.
Pickering spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons as an assistant coach with the Seminoles under head coach Lonni Alameda, specializing with the FSU infielders and hitters. She helped guide FSU to its best start since 1993 (20-1) and helped the squad hit .297 as a team. In 2009, the Seminoles also ranked among the top 25 nationally in fielding percentage (.971).
From 2003-08, Pickering served as an assistant coach at UNLV. During her time, the Rebels won at least 25 games in each of her five seasons, including a 44-19 mark in 2005 that was capped by an NCAA Tournament bid (and its first postseason trip in nine seasons). Afterward, UNLV hit no fewer than 43 home runs as a team in a season (including a program-best 50 in 2005), and she helped coach one NFCA All-American, five NFCA All-West Region honorees, and 14 All-Mountain West Conference selections.
In the years prior, she served an assistant coach for the Cardinal from 1998-2003, and helped the team advance to five consecutive NCAA Regionals. While at Stanford, she worked primarily with the defense and as the team's hitting coach, she also recruited and helped with community relations.
As a player, Pickering was the first two-time, first-team All-American at Washington. She started every game at second base during her four-year career from 1994-97, a span of 271 games. A three-time team co-captain, she helped lead the Huskies to their first Pacific-10 Conference title in 1996 and left the program with 15 records to her name, including an NCAA record 91 career doubles. During her career, UW was the national runner-up in 1996 and a WCWS advancer in '97 after it made NCAA Regional appearances her first two seasons.
Perhaps her most stunning accomplishment came off the field, as a cancer survivor. Pickering was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease and underwent a life-saving stem cell transplant in 2001. She has been in remission for over 10 years. To further her cause, she raised more than $5,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by completing the 2003 Portland Marathon.
While at UNLV, she helped the fight against cancer as the softball team annually hosted a "K-Out Cancer Day" to help benefit the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation. The Rebels also participated in the NCCF's "Champions Run for Life" event each year.
The tradition continued at Fresno State as the `Dogs hosted "Strikeout Cancer Weekend," partnering with local non-profit groups to raise cancer awareness on April 17-19 at Margie Wright Diamond.
Pickering, a native of Corona, Calif., graduated from Washington in 1998 with a degree in sociology. She also played professionally in the Women's Professional Softball League (WPSL) with the Virginia Roadsters and Arizona Heat. She was inducted into the Corona High School Hall of Fame in 2009.
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