Senior catcher Taylor Neumann was named CCAA Player of the Week after becoming the program's all-time homerun leader last weekend. (Photo: John Hefti)
Cal State East Bay softball player Taylor Neumann collected Player of the Week honors from the California Collegiate Athletic Association on Monday, following the team’s four-game sweep of Cal State Stanislaus March 16-18. Neumann led the Pioneers to their first series sweep of the CCAA season and became the top homerun hitter in program history thanks to her two homeruns last week.
A senior catcher, Neumann finished the weekend batting .615 to lead all starters, scoring four runs and accounting for four RBI during the sweep that saw East Bay post a pair of eight-run rule wins. Neumann reached base in 64.3 percent of her plate appearances and slugged at a 1.154 clip to rank second among all players last week. She also hit safely in all four games and had multiple hits in three of the four contests over the weekend while avoiding a strikeout in all 13 at-bats.
Her two homeruns pushed her season total to 12, a number that leads the conference and ranks among the top three in all of Division II. Neumann already set the new single season homerun record for the Pioneers and her weekend performance broke the career mark, previously held by Jen King (2003-06), to make the Moorpark native the most prolific homerun hitter in program history. In less than two seasons in the red and black, Neumann has gone yard 19 times and her 12 homeruns this year put her just three away from tying the CCAA single season record, set by Cal State Monterey Bay’s Shae Olds in 2009. Neumann also helped the Pioneers hit 10 total homeruns over the weekend, bringing their season total to 35, breaking the program record of 31 set last season.
In Saturday’s opener, Neumann finished 2-for-3 at the plate, hitting her sixth double while scoring once and driving in the eventual game-winner in the 10-1 eight-run rule victory. Game two saw Neumann go 2-for-3 again and score one of the Pioneers two runs in a 2-1 victory to finish the day 4-for-6 with a double, two runs and an RBI.
Sunday saw the Pioneers go yard eight times, with Neumann blasting a pair in the 10-2 run-rule victory in game one. Neumann was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate, scoring twice and driving in three runs. Her two-run homer in the first inning brought in the eventual game-winning run and broke the career record, while her second shot of the game was part of back-to-back-to-back homeruns in a seven-run bottom of the fifth that ended the game in five innings. Neumann finished off the series 1-for-4 with one walk in the finale, helping the Pioneers earn the come-from-behind win and first CCAA sweep since February 2011.
Neumann became the second Pioneer softball player to be recognized with Player of the Week honors this season, joining Sara Holdridge, who was honored on Feb. 13. The award is the second for Neumann, who was previously recognized in March 2011. Neumann is the sixth Cal State East Bay student-athlete to earn conference Player of the Week honors this season, joining Holdridge, men’s basketball players Mark Samuels and Roshun Wynne, water polo player Jayme Pekarske and men’s golfer Chris Herzog.
Cal State East Bay will look to build on last week’s sweep when it returns to action next weekend at No. 21 UC San Diego. The Pioneers and Tritons are set to begin a four-game series with the first of two doubleheaders on Mar. 25 in La Jolla.