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Lions Host Tournament This Weekend

March 8, 2007

Briefly...The LMU softball team returns to Smith Field for this weekend's LMU Tournament. The action begins on Friday at 8:00am, and the Lions take the field at noon. LMU will face Beloit and Dakota Wesleyan on Friday, and play two against Tennessee-Martin on Saturday.

Tournament Schedule:
Friday, March 9
8:00am - Dakota Wesleyan vs. Beloit
10:00am - Dakota Wesleyan vs. Tennessee-Martin
12:00pm - LMU vs. Beloit
2:00pm - LMU vs. Dakota Wesleyan

Saturday, March 10
12:00pm - LMU vs. Tennessee-Martin
2:00pm - LMU vs. Tennessee-Martin

About the Lions... LMU is 14-11 on the season and went 2-4 last week. The Lions were rewarded with a sweep of the weekly PCSC Awards, as Margo Pineda and Melissa Dykema earned the weekly honor. It was the second time in three weeks that LMU has swept the PCSC awards.

Pineda was named the Pacific Coast Softball Conference Player of the Week for the first time this season after hitting .474 last week. In addition to her stellar batting average, she also had three doubles and two runs scored with three walks and just one strikeout.

Over the week, Pineda had four multi-hit games, including going 2-for-3 against UCLA. Pineda drove in the game-winning run in the eighth inning in the win over UC Riverside on Wednesday, and also scored the first run of that 3-2 win. She also scored the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh against UCR on Sunday.

Freshman pitcher Dykema earned her second PCSC Pitcher of the Week honor in four weeks after another solid week of performances last week. Dykema finished the week with a 1.59 earned run average and appeared in every game the Lions played. She recorded both of LMU's wins -- both coming in 3-2, eight-inning victories over UC Riverside.

Dykema had a career-high 12 strikeouts in 8.0 innings pitched in the Wednesday win over UCR. She also pitched three complete games for the week and allowed just one hit in 1.1 innings of relief against UCLA. Against UCR on Sunday, she allowed just one earned run on eight hits with seven strikeouts. For the week, Dykema pitched 26.1 innings and had 26 strikeouts and just six walks while allowing six earned runs, 20 hits, and allowed batters to hit just .200 off of her.

Sometimes Seven Innings Isn't Enough... Four times in the last seven games, LMU has needed extra innings to determine a winner. The Lions are 3-1 in these games, recording a 9-6 win over Maryland and a pair of identical 3-2 wins over UC Riverside. In fact, three of the four extra inning games were against the Highlanders last week. The Lions have only played one other extra inning game this season, an 8-1, 8 inning win over Southern Utah.

The opponents...
Dakota Wesleyan... Dakota Wesleyan is coached by Lion legend Sami Strinz. Strinz was the 2003 PCSC Player of the Year, and helped the Lions win the first ever PCSC Championship. She is in her second year coaching at Dakota Wesleyan. The Tigers are a NAIA school from Mitchell, South Dakota and are playing their first games this week. They are 0-6 after the first three days of competition.

Beloit... Beloit is a Division III school in Beloit, WI. The Buccaneers are also playing their first games this week and are 1-3 so far. Beloit is coached by Jami Strinz, the sister of Lion legend Sami.

Tennessee-Martin... The Skyhawks are 10-8 this season. They are led by Savannah Roberts who is hitting .385 with three home runs. Laura Roberts is close behind with a .373 batting average and three home runs. Kara Harper and Ashley Myatt lead the way in the circle. Harper has a 3.31 ERA, and Myatt leads the team in strikeouts with 48.

Family Reunion at Smith Field... The first game of the tournament will be a family reunion as the Strinz sisters will be coaching against each other for the first time. Also on the Dakota Wesleyan bench is brother Tim, who serves as a student assistant coach.

LMU reunion... When LMU faces Dakota Wesleyan on Friday, it will be a different sort of reunion, as several LMU players will see former teammates across the field. In addition to Sami Strinz, Lisa Abbott serves as an assistant coach for the Tigers. Abbott graduated from LMU in 2005 and helped lead LMU to the 2005 PCSC Championship and the program's first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Seniors Margo Pineda and Kirsten Whitt were on the 2004 Lion squad with Strinz and Abbott. Pineda and Whitt, in addition to Tiffany Pagano and Tracy Cook, played with Abbott in 2005.