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Homestand Wraps Up With Ohio State

March 20, 2007

Briefly... The LMU softball team will look to extend its winning streak against tough competition this week when it hosts Ohio State on Wednesday and heads to UC Santa Barbara on Sunday. Both programs advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2006 and should provide the Lions with a tough test before heading into conference play. The Lions have won 11 straight games heading into this week's contests and are 13-3 at home this season. Margo Pineda leads the team with a .475 batting average.

This Week's Schedule:
Wednesday, March 21 -
LMU vs. Ohio State (DH), Smith Field, 12/2pm
Sunday, March 25 - LMU at UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, 12/2pm

Looking at the Lions... LMU is 24-11 on the season and is riding an 11 game winning streak. The Lions have had strong hitting and pitching during the streak. The team is hitting .342, led by Margo Pineda and Kirsten Slouber who are both hitting .500 during the streak. LMU pitching staff has been outstanding with a team ERA of 1.04 over the last 11 games. Tiffany Pagano has stepped things up with a 0.65 ERA in 32.1 innings, striking out 48. Melissa Dykema continues her strong freshman campaign, winning all six of her starts over the last 11 games with 1.38 ERA.

Playing Like It's 2005... Margo Pineda, the 2005 PCSC Player of the Year, is having an outstanding senior season, leading the team in hitting with a .475 batting average. She has had 16 multiple hit games, including six games with three hits, and seven multi-RBI games. She had a nine game hitting streak earlier in the year, but it was snapped against Hawaii. She is hitting .500 over the last 11 games with a home run and nine RBI. Just as impressive, Pineda has not struck out at all over the last 11 games. The senior moved from second base to the outfield in her final season, and she has not slowed down one bit.

Slouber is Streaking... In addition to the team's 11 game hitting streak, sophomore Kirsten Slouber has an active 17 game hitting streak. She started the season slowly, hitting. 241 in the first 18 games of the season, but she has hit .435 during her hitting streak. Slouber has 10 multi-hit games during the streak, and has scored multiple runs in six of those games. She has been able to raise her average to .342 and leads the team in runs scored.

Awards Recap... After six weeks of softball action, the Lions have accumulated several awards. LMU's pitching staff has dominated the PCSC Pitcher of the Week award, with Tiffany Pagano and Melissa Dykema winning the award twice each. In addition, Margo Pineda and Christine Foley have also earned the PCSC Player of the Week honor. Those two were named to the New Mexico State All-Tournament team as well.

Strikeouts and Shutouts... Pitchers Melissa Dykema and Tiffany Pagano had a pretty good day on Tuesday, March 13th. The two LMU pitchers combined to earn two shutouts over Miami (OH) and strikeout a combined 24 batters over two games. Dykema started the day with her second shutout of the season, recording 10 strikeouts. Things didn't get any easier for the Redhawks when Pagano took over in game two, as the junior pitcher bettered her career-high with 14 strikeouts. The Redhawks finished with six hits for the day.

Strikeouts Part II... Last season Tiffany Pagano set the LMU single season record for strikeouts and moved into second place in the LMU career record book after just two seasons. The junior is getting closer to breaking the record, sitting with 446 strikeouts heading into the games against Ohio State. Jennifer Heliotes owns the record with 519. Pagano's 127 strikeouts in 2007 is already in the LMU single season top 5, and Melissa Dykema's 118 is close behind.

About the Opponents...
Ohio State...
The Buckeyes are 12-10 heading into the week of play in California. OSU will play Long Beach State on Tuesday before playing the Lions on Wednesday. The team will wrap up action with games at Cal State Fullerton on Friday and Saturday. The Buckeyes have had a challenging schedule so far, playing six games against teams ranked in the top 25, earning two wins. Ohio State and LMU both participated in the Palm Springs Classic and faced several of the same opponents. Both teams recorded wins over BYU but fell to Oklahoma. Another common opponent is Long Island, and both teams earned wins over LIU. The Buckeyes are led by freshman Sam Marder who is batting .362 with seven home runs and a team-high 23 RBI. Kim Reeder leads the team in the circle with a 1.96 ERA and a 9-3 record.
UC Santa Barbara... The Gauchos are 18-7 overall and have faced a difficult preseason schedule as well. UCSB is led by Christine Ramos who has a .398 batting average with a team-high 18 runs scored. Tisha Duran and Tiffany Wright lead the team with 15 RBI. Jennifer Davis is the reigning Big West Pitcher of the Week and has a 0.97 ERA. She has a 3-5 record with three shutouts and three saves. She has 67 strikeouts in 64.2 innings. The UCSB pitching staff overall has a 1.52 ERA.

Coming Up... The Lions will play their final non-conference games next Tuesday against Cal State Fullerton. The team opens conference play on March 31st against San Diego at Smith Field.

- GO LIONS! -