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PCSC Play Continues in Portland

April 12, 2006

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The hunt for the PCSC title continues this weekend as the Lions head north to face Portland State. The Vikings sit in first place in the conference with a 4-0 record, while the Lions sit at 2-2 after the opening weekend of play. LMU comes into the series with a conference low 2.12 ERA, while PSU enters the weekend with the best batting average in the conference.

Pagano Dominates
Tiffany Pagano was named the PCSC Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season for her impressive performance in the opening weekend of conference play. In her two starts, she pitched two complete game shutouts, allowing just three hits and no walks with 21 strikeouts in 21.0 innings of work. It is the fifth time in her career that Pagano has earned the weekly pitching honor.

Walk this Way
For the weekend, freshman outfielder Hillaree Bennett was officially 1-for-3 at the plate. However, she was walked 12 times over four games to bring her walk total to 33 for the season. Bennett walked in every single at-bat against Sac State pitcher Cassie Cervantes for the weekend- eight times. She needs just one more walk to tie the LMU single season record for walks of 34 set last year by Danielle Kaminaka.

Saturday Celebration
Last Saturday, LMU welcomed over 25 alumnae to Smith Field to celebrate the new home of LMU softball. In addition, the 2005 PCSC Championship team was honored in between games with a ceremony to hand out championship rings. In addition, Head Coach Gary Ferrin was honored for winning his 400th career game earlier this season.

This Week's Opponent
Portland State started the conference schedule off with a bang, recording a four game sweep of Saint Mary's to sit at 4-0 after the first weekend of conference play. The Vikings are 23-11 on the season and have won 12 of their last 14 games. Laura Segall leads the team in hitting with a .346 batting average, and Jackie Heide has a .340 batting average with nine home runs. PSU has hit 35 home runs as a team this season, with Mandy Hill adding eight. In the circle, Hill has a team-low 1.96 ERA with a 14-4 record. Michelle Hext has a 2.46 ERA with a 9-6 record.

Lions in the National Rankings
When the first NCAA statistics were released on Wednesday, it was no surprise to see Lions among the top in the country. Freshman Hillaree Bennett is ranked 4th in the country in walks per game, averaging 0.89 per contest. She is also 30th in slugging percentage at .769. Sophomore pitcher Tiffany Pagano was ranked 47th in the country with a 1.42 ERA.

Looking Ahead
LMU continues PCSC action next week, staying on the road and heading to Saint Mary's for a four game series with the Gaels. LMU wraps up home PCSC play against Santa Clara on April 29th and 30th.

Looking Back
Tiffany Pagano pitched a one-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts to lead LMU to a split with Sacramento State in the first doubleheader of conference action on Saturday at Smith Field. The Lions blanked the Hornets 3-0 in game one, but fell 6-0 in game two.

LMU and Sacramento State split a pair of games for the second day in a row in Pacific Coast Softball Conference action Sunday afternoon at Smith Field. Pagano pitched another gem, a two-hit shutout, with nine strikeouts to pick up the win in game one, 4-0. Nikki Cinque hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead the Hornets to the 6-5 game two victory. LMU freshman outfielder Hillaree Bennett finished the day with seven walks, and drew 12 for the four game series.

Around the PCSC
Portland State took the early lead in the conference title race as they swept Saint Mary's in a four game sweep. Michelle Hext tossed two shutouts to help the Vikings to the sweep.

In the third PCSC series of the weekend, San Diego and Santa Clara split on both days. The Broncos picked up a game one win on Saturday, and an extra inning game two victory on Sunday.