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Near Perfection for Pagano

March 31, 2007

Box Score

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Tiffany Pagano pitched 6.1 perfect innings to lead the LMU softball team to a 4-0 win over San Diego in the opening day of Pacific Coast Softball Conference action at Smith Field. Chelsie Tysdal hit a three-run home run, her second of the week, to give the Lions the lead in game two. In game one, San Diego scored four runs in the first inning and held off LMU for a 4-2 win.

The Lions improve to 28-15 on the season, while San Diego is now 17-14. Both teams start PCSC play with a 1-1 record.

San Diego scored all of its runs of the day in the first inning. Nichole Valenzuela led off the game with a single up the middle and moved to second on a sacrifice by Carey Casciola. She advanced to third on a fly ball, and scored on a single by Virginia Fritsch. Danielle Treiber's infield single put runners at first and second for USD, and Jennifer Ellenbeck gave the Toreros a 4-0 lead on a home run to left field.

Following that home run, Lion starter Melissa Dykema was outstanding and did not allow another hit until the sixth inning.

LMU's offense struggled against USD starter Christina Haake. The Lions scored an unearned run in the second on a sacrifice fly by Tysdal to make it a 4-1 game.

The Lions stranded runners in scoring position in the third and fourth innings. Margo Pineda hit a solo home run to right field in the fifth to cut the lead to 4-2, but the Lions would not get any closer. LMU stranded a runner at third in the sixth and went down in order in the seventh.

Haake (7-4) earned the win, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Dykema (17-6) took the loss, allowing four runs on five this with three walks and five strikeouts.

Kirsten Whitt led the Lions at the plate, going 2-for-3, while Pineda was 1-for-2 with her fifth home run of the season. Ellenbeck had the big hit for USD, going 1-for-2 with a three-run home run. Fritsch was 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI.

Pagano (10-8) dominated game two from the start. She struck out the first two batters looking, and earned strikeouts to four of the first batters she faced. She struck out another pair of batters in the fifth and was perfect heading into the seventh inning.

The Lion offense got things going in the third inning, but still struggled to bring runners home. LMU loaded the bases with one out in the third, but consecutive swinging strikeouts by MiaSarah Cesena and Pineda left the game scoreless.

LMU finally scored some runs in the fourth. Kylie Conroy led off the inning with a double off the wall in right center. A walk to Christine Foley gave the Lions runners at first and second. With two outs, Tysdal hit a home run to left center to break the scoreless tie and put the Lions up 3-0.

Whitt followed with a walk and a stolen base. Kirsten Slouber hit a ground ball to USD second baseman Treiber, but she threw the ball away which allowed Whitt to score from second to give the Lions a 4-0 lead.

Those are all the runs that Pagano would need. She rolled through the Toreros until the seventh, and led off the final inning with an out. The perfect game was broken up when she hit Casciola with a 3-2 pitch. Kathleen Bonja got the first USD hit of the game on the next at-bat and a single to right field by Fritsch loaded the bases with one out.

Pagano forced Treiber to hit a ground ball to LMU first baseman Foley who threw home for the force out. With two outs and the bases still loaded, Ellenbeck worked the count to 3-2. However, Pagano saved her best strikeout for last, getting Ellenbeck to look at strike three to end the game.

The shutout was Pagano's second straight after shutting out Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday. Over the last two outings, Pagano has allowed just three hits with no runs. She did not walk a batter in today's game and struck out eight.

Katie Jo Nelson (3-7) took the loss for USD, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

The Lions and Toreros wrap up the first weekend of PCSC play on Sunday with a doubleheader at Smith Field beginning at noon.