May 9, 2006
The LMU softball team will wrap up the season by returning to Portland State to play three makeup games that were rained out in April. LMU can play the role of spoiler this weekend, as the Lions are out of title contention. Portland State must win all three games this weekend to win the PCSC. If LMU wins at least one game, Sacramento State will win the conference title.
Strike Three... You're Out
Tiffany Pagano broke the LMU single season record for strikeouts last weekend, recording 14 for the weekend. She now has 202 Ks in 2006, passing the previous record of 195 set by Jennifer Heliotes in 1999. In two seasons, Pagano is already second on the LMU career list for strikeouts with 316, passing Jenny Chambers this weekend. She is 203 strikeouts behind Heliotes, the career leader with 309. More impressive about Pagano's single season record is that she has pitched 178.2 innings this season, while Heliotes pitched 269.0 innings in the year that she broke the record.
Bennett Among Nation's Leaders
When the national statistics came out this week, Hillaree Bennett's name was found in several places. Most impressively, she is ranked 2nd in the nation in walks per game, averaging 0.96 per contest. In addition, she is 24th in the nation with a 0.760 slugging percentage.
LMU's veteran leaders have been stepping it up over the last two weekends. Senior Brittany Bassett (.421) and junior Margo Pineda (.414) have been on fire in the last two series. In addition, freshman Megan Ackerman hit .381 with three doubles, a home run and eight RBI over the last eight games.
Bennett Earns Monthly Honor
Hillaree Bennett earned the LMU March Student-Athlete of the Month award. Bennett was spectacular in March, hitting .385 to lead the team to a 13-8 record in March. She had six home runs and two doubles with 15 RBI. She hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to lead LMU to a 2-1 victory over #25 Fresno State.
Walk this Way
Hillaree Bennett broke the LMU single season records for walks against Saint Mary's and now has 46 for the season. The previous record of 34 was set by former Lion great Danielle Kaminaka just one season ago. Bennett is currently ranked 2nd in the nation in walks per game at 0.96.
This Week's Opponent
Portland State is 34-18 on the season, and 12-5 in PCSC play. The Vikings need to win all three games to capture their first PCSC title. If they lose at least one game, Sacramento State will win the conference and earn the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Portland State lost all four games to Sac State last weekend, scoring just four runs in four games. The sweep was on the heels of PSU's doubleheader sweep of Oregon last Wednesday. Mandy Hill leads the team in batting, hitting .316 with nine home runs. Kimi Daniel is close behind with a .315 average with nine home runs. Jackie Heide leads the team with 10 home runs on the season. Hill and Michelle Hext lead the team in the circle with almost identical 1.95 and 1.90 ERAs, respectively. Hill is 21-7 on the season, while Hext is 13-10.
For the sixth and seventh time this season, LMU split a PCSC doubleheader. Last weekend, San Diego split the series with the Lions. LMU won game one on both days, with one run victories both times. Late inning heroics led the Lions to both victories. Tiffany Pagano pitched 20.2 of LMU's 28.2 innings this weekend. She pitched two complete games on Saturday due to the LMU graduation ceremony.
Around the PCSC
There were four game sweeps in the other PCSC series last weekend. Sacramento State took a huge leap in the conference standings with a four game sweep of Portland State. The Hornets shutout the Vikings in both games on Saturday. Sac State finishes conference play with a 14-6 record, while PSU is 12-5 with three games to play.
In the other series, Santa Clara completed a four game sweep of Saint Mary's. SCU finishes PCSC play with an 11-9 record, while SMC falls to 1-19 against PCSC opponents.