March 3, 2006
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Freshman Hillaree Bennett hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh to lead the LMU softball team to a 2-1 victory over #25 Fresno State at the Aztec Classic today. Samantha Lavino pitched a gem, allowing just one run and striking out seven for the victory. In the first game of the tournament, LMU dropped a 3-2 game to #23 Oregon.
The Lions faced the ace of both staffs today, and did not get their first hit against Fresno State until the game-winner. The Bulldogs opened the game with a run in the top of the first to take a quick 1-0 lead. Two singles and a stolen base put the Bulldogs ahead, but it would end up being the only run that they would score.
LMU manufactured a run in the bottom of the first. Kirsten Slouber led off the bottom of the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice fly by Margo Pineda. Bennett walked, putting runners at first and second. A wild pitch advanced Slouber to third, and she came home on a deep sacrifice fly by Tracy Cook to tie the game, 1-1.
After that it became a pitcher's battle. LMU managed just one baserunner, Pineda, who was hit by a pitch to start the fourth inning. Bulldog starter Robin Mackin struck out 10 batters, and had a no-hitter until the bottom of the seventh.
Fresno State had runners at third base in the second and third innings, but LMU third baseman Megan Ackerman threw the runners out at home both times to keep it a tied game. LMU starting pitcher Lavino seemed to improve as the game went along, and allowed just one hit in the final four innings of the game to set the stage for Bennett's heroics.
After fouling off the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh inning, Bennett blasted the game-winner to left field to lead the Lions to the victory.
Lavino earned the win to improve to 4-3 on the season. She allowed six hits and four walks, striking out seven with one earned run. Mackin struck out 10, walked two and allowed just one hit and two earned runs to fall to 8-5 on the season.
The opening game of the Aztec Classic saw the Lions drop a disappointing 3-2 decision to #23 Oregon. Tiffany Pagano pitched another strong game, but errors led to two unearned runs for the Ducks.
The Lions took a 1-0 lead in the first inning after a leadoff single by Slouber, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Pineda that advanced Slouber to second. Cook hit a two-out RBI single through the left side to score Slouber and give Loyola Marymount the first lead of the game.
Oregon took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second on a two-RBI triple by freshman Sari-Jane Jenkins that scored sophomore Kristi Jorgensen, who had reached on an error, and junior Suzie Barnes, who reached on a fielders choice.
Pineda got the run back in the top of the third with a one-out, solo home run to right field that tied the game 2-2, but the Ducks regained the lead in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Kayleen Hudson that scored senior Beth Boskovich to put Oregon ahead 3-2.
Megan Ackerman led off the seventh with a double and Harris hit Kirsten Whitt to put runners at first and second with no outs. Slouber then popped out in a bunt attempt for the first out, but Pineda reached on an Oregon error to load the bases. Harris got Bennett to strike out looking for the second out and Cook flied out to end LMU's threat.
Pagano took the loss for the Lions, allowing one earned run on seven hits. She struck out five and walked three to fall to 3-3 on the year with her fifth complete game of the season. Amy Harris improved to 7-4 this season, striking out eight, walking two and allowing two earned runs on five hits.
LMU is now 8-6 on the season, and will play another two games on Saturday. The Lions will face the Cal State Northridge on Saturday morning at 9:00am, and the host Aztecs at 2:00pm. LMU wraps up the tournament with a rematch against Fresno State on Sunday at 9:00am.
- GO LIONS! -