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Softball to Play Final Home Games of the Season this Weekend

April 9, 2007

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This Week in Softball: The Saint Mary's softball team will compete in a week similar to their last one. The Gaels will face a local powerhouse during the week before hosting conference action on the weekend. This Wednesday, the Gaels will travel to Stanford, CA to play a night game against the Stanford Cardinal. The Cardinal enter the week with a national ranking of No. 10. The Gaels will then host Portland State for their final home series of the 2007 season. The Gaels will honor four seniors on Sunday. Both Saturday's and Sunday's doubleheaders will begin at Noon from Cottrell Field.

Last Time Out: The Gaels opened conference season by splitting a weekend series with the Santa Clara Broncos. The Gaels dropped the first game before winning game two in thrilling fashion. Saint Mary's was down by two in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Gaels scored their first run of the inning when Molly Bergeson doubled in Sandra Ruezga to put the Gaels within one. With Bergeson on second base and Michelle Mathis on third base the pitcher threw a wild pitch. The catcher tried to throw the ball to the pitcher covering home but threw the ball in the dirt. Before the dust had settled Mathis and Bergeson had both crossed the plate to give the Gaels the one run lead. Kate Albaugh closed the door the next inning and gave the Gaels their first win of the conference season. Saint Mary's was aided by the long ball in the first game of day two. Ruezga, Lauren Mello and Megan Galloway all hit homeruns as the Gaels defeated the Broncos 10-1. Saint Mary's dropped a heartbreaker in game four as the Broncos hit a walk off grand slam. The Gaels finished the weekend with a 2-2 conference record. This is the best conference opening weekend Saint Mary's has had as a member of the Pacific Coast Softball Conference.

Who's Hot: Junior Sandra Ruezga played a big role this weekend. In the Gaels first conference games, she led the team with a .667 batting average and a .692 on-base percentage. She belted two homeruns. The first basemen finished second on the weekend in several offensive categories, including hits (8), runs (5), RBI (5), slugging percentage (1.167) and total bases (18). Ruezga improved her average to .327 on the season. She added 46 points to her average this weekend.

Scouting the Cardinal: The Stanford Cardinal will enter the week with a national ranking of No. 10. The Cardinal boast a 27-9 overall record and a 14-2 mark while a home. Their two home losses came this weekend when they went 1-2 in a series against the California Bears. The top five hitters for Stanford all have +.300 batting averages. In the circle they are led by Missy Penna. Penna has a 1.63 ERA and is 19-3 on the season. She has recorded 20 complete games with eight shutouts. Penna is one strikeout away from hitting the 200 mark on the season.

The Gaels historically play Stanford very tough. Last year the Gaels took Stanford into nine innings before the Cardinal finally won the game by a score of 1-0. In 2004 the Gaels defeated Stanford 2-1 in the first game of a doubleheader. Stanford was ranked No. 9 at the time, the highest ranked opponent Saint Mary's has ever defeated.

Scouting the Vikings: The Portland State Vikings enter the week with a 17-20 overall record and a 2-1 conference mark. The Vikings played an abbreviated three game series against Sacramento State. In all three conference games PSU has scored three runs. Mandy Hill does most of the pitching for the Vikings. She has a 2.18 ERA and a 15-13 record. She has struck out 145 on the season.

In 2006, Portland State swept the season series against Saint Mary's en route to winning the PCSC title. In the NCAA Regionals last season PSU went 1-2 with a win against Nevada. The Gaels defeated PSU in their final game of the 2005 season. The resurgent Gael squad will look to take the 2007 series as they make an effort toward to take the PCSC title away from the Vikings.

Taking Two: The Saint Mary's softball team leads the conference in doubles with 66. Helping this number is senior Lauren Mello who has 12 doubles. Molly Bergeson and Sandra Ruezga each have eight two baggers. Megan Galloway and Chelsea Loftis each have seven. Five other Gaels have recorded multiple doubles on the season. The Gaels lead the conference by nine doubles. LMU is second in the conference with 57.

Shot to Go: The Gaels brought their big bats this weekend to open conference play. Sandra Ruezga and Lauren Mello each hit two homeruns. Megan Galloway hit the furthest one of the weekend. She belted a near 250 foot blast over the centerfield fence. Galloway and Mello are currently tied with the team lead for homeruns with six.

Seniors Set to Play Final Home Game: Sunday will mark the final home game for four seniors. Kate Albaugh, Lauren Gardner, Michelle Mathis and Lauren Mello will all play in their final home game in a Gael uniform. The four have truly left their mark in their final year as they lead the Gaels to their best season since 2003. All four have had a big part in this season. Albaugh leads the team with 50 strikeouts. Albaugh and Gardner are both tied for the team lead with five wins. Mathis has scored 12 runs this season. Mello leads the team with 26 runs, 12 doubles, 24 RBI and six homeruns.

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 hit the road for the final three weeks of the season. The Gaels will hit the road for a 12 game road trip as the close the conference season. In their first road match, Saint Mary's travels to San Diego, CA to play the San Diego Toreros.