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Softball Hosts Saint Mary's Invitational This Weekend

March 6, 2007

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This Week in Softball: Saint Mary's softball begins a 15 game home stand this week after playing the last 11 games on the road. The two first games of this home stretch will be played on Wednesday against the UC Davis Aggies. The doubleheader against the Aggies will makeup the games that were rained out in the first week of the season. This weekend the Gaels will continue tournament season as they host the Saint Mary's Invitational. The Gaels have extended invites to Idaho State, Stony Brook and Utah Valley State for this weekend's competition.

Week in Review: They Gaels flew to Hawaii last weekend to play in the Mahilini Kipa Softball Tournament. The Gaels faced tough competition that included three national ranked teams. The Gaels dropped the first game to the No. 21 Georgia Bulldogs and dropped the second game to Kent State. The Gaels pulled off the upset of the tournament their next game. They defeated No. 17/22 Oregon by the score of 2-1 in extra innings. Saint Mary's nearly pulled off back-to-back upsets but fell in a close game to No. 25 Hawaii. Oregon was too much for the Gaels the second time they played them. Kent State defeated Saint Mary's in their second competition of the tournament. On the weekend the Gaels finished with a 1-5 record. Although 1-5 the Gaels played well against some of the toughest competiton the nation has to offer.

Scouting the Aggies: The Gaels will makeup their doubleheader with UC Davis this week. These games, which were originally scheduled for the opening week of the season, were delayed due to weather. The Aggies will enter this week with an 8-7-1 overall record and a 1-1 record on the road. They are led by senior Niki Sheldon. Sheldon leads the team with her .432 average, 19 hits, four doubles, five homeruns and .909 slugging percentage.

Scouting the Bengals: The Idaho State Bengals will enter the week with a 2-11 overall record and a 0-2 away record. Sophomore Heather Dixon is their best offensive player. She leads the team with 15 hits, 12 RBI, seven runs and six homeruns.

Scouting the Seawolves: The Stony Brook Seawolves will enter the week with a 6-3 overall record and a 2-0 away record. They are led by pitcher Sarah Hoffman. Hoffman is 4-0 and is coming off of a week where she was named the American East Pitcher of the Week. Last week she threw 18.0 innings and only gave up two unearned runs.

Scouting the Wolverines: The Utah Valley State Wolverines are 3-11 on the season and have yet to play a true away game. They have recorded a 3-10 record in neutral sites. Sophomore Heidi Boyer leads their offense with her .487 batting average. She has recorded 19 hits and five RBI on the season.

Gaels Down Ducks: In game three of the Mahilni Kipa Softball Tournament the Gaels had to face off against the Oregon Ducks. The Ducks came into the game with an 18-1 record. Saint Mary's southpaw Lauren Gardner kept the Gaels in the game the whole way. Garnder pitched nine innings of the extra inning game. Oregon took a 1-0 lead in the top of the ninth. Lauren Mello and Sadie Dolcini reached base in the bottom of the ninth. Molly Bergeson came in to pinch run for Dolcni. Freshman Jenna Smith hit the walk off double scoring both Mello and Bergeson togive the Gaels the upset. This marked the first Gael victory over a ranked opponent since Saint Mary's defeated No. 9 Stanford on April 20, 2004. The Gaels ended Oregon's school record 18 game winning streak.

PCSC Player of the Week: Senior Lauren Mello was named the Pacific Coast Softball Conference Player of the Week last week. This marks the first time in her career that she has been named PCSC Player of the Week. Mello was named PCSC Player of the Week after an impressive week that saw her bat .471. On Tuesday, Mello scored a run against No. 10 Cal. She then led the Gaels to a 3-1 record over the weekend at the UC Davis Invitational. At the invitational, Mello hit .500, recording seven hits while scoring six runs with six runs batted in and two home runs. She had a 1.000 slugging percentage while tallying 15 total bases over the weekend. For the week, Mello recorded eight hits, seven runs, two doubles, three stolen bases with a .971 slugging percentage. Mello becomes the first Gael to earn Player of the Week honors since Claudia Williams in 2003 and just the third Gael to be named PCSC Player of the Week.

All-Tournament Team: Sadie Dolcini was named to the All-Mahilini Kipa Softball Tournament team. Dolcini was a part of the Gaels big ninth inning against the No.17 Oregon Ducks. Although she was taken out for a pinch runner, it was her spot in the lineup that scored the games winning run. She recorded a team leading four hits, three walks, .286 batting average and .444 on-base percentage.

Gaels Host Tournament: This weekend the Gaels will host the Saint Mary's Invitational. Idaho State, Stony Brook and Utah Valley State will all compete in this weekends events. On Friday and Saturday each team will play each other to determine rankings for Sunday's play. On Sunday the teams will be ranked No.1 through No. 4 and will play in tournament style. The winner of the No. 1 vs. No. 4 game will go on to play the winner of the No. 2 vs. No. 3 game in a championship match.

Home Cookin': The Gaels will embark on a 15 game home stand starting this week with their doubleheader against UC Davis. This will be the longest home stretch for the Gaels this season.

Third Year Head Coach Jessica Hanaseth: Jessica Hanaseth enters her third season as the head coach for the Saint Mary's softball team. Hanaseth took over the position two years ago after being a part of the program as a coach and player for eight seasons. As head coach of the Gaels she will work with all aspects of the game. Hanaseth works with infielders, outfielders and hitters as well as recruiting and community service. Hanaseth, a 2001 graduate of SMC with a degree in Health Physical Education and Recreation with a teaching emphasis, finished her playing career second in RBI (84), third in doubles (19), and eighth with a .284 career batting average.

Up Next for the Gaels: Saint Mary's will extend its home stand with games Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. The Gaels will host Eastern Illinois, Georgia Southern, Purdue and Northern Colorado in their busy week of action.