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RELIVE THE CUP: Eighth Straight Winning Season For LMU Softball

Aug. 4, 2006

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The LMU softball team wrapped up its eighth straight winning season in 2006, finishing with a record of 29-24. The young Lions had some memorable wins, including a walk-off victory over #25 Fresno State. Five Lions earned All-PCSC honors, including the conference freshman of the year, Hillaree Bennett.

Regional Honors for Bennett
Freshman Hillaree Bennett was named to the Pacific Region Team, earning second team honors as an outfielder. Bennett is the only non-Pac-10 position player on the Pacific Region team, and one of just seven outfielders in the first or second team.

PCSC Postseason Awards Handed Out
LMU was well represented when the PCSC announced its annual awards. Hillaree Bennett was named the Freshman of the Year after her outstanding rookie season. She also earned first team All-PCSC honors. In addition, junior second baseman Margo Pineda earned first team honors for the second straight year. Three Lions earned second team honors- first baseman Tracy Cook, third baseman Megan Ackerman and utility player Brittany Bassett.

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 final national statistics came out, Hillaree Bennett's name was found in several places. Most impressively, she finished ranked 2nd in the nation in walks per game, averaging 0.96 per contest. In addition, she was 19th in the nation with a 0.760 slugging percentage.

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 WayHillaree Bennett broke the LMU single season records for walks against Saint Mary's and finished with 46 for the season. The previous record of 34 was set by former Lion great Danielle Kaminaka just one season ago. Bennett ranked 2nd in the nation in walks per game at 0.96.

Looking Back
LMU earned PCSC Player or Pitcher of the Week honors six times this season. Here's a look back at some of LMU's outstanding individual performances:

  • Tiffany Pagano (2/13) - Opened the season with a 2-1 record in Hawaii, not allowing an earned run in 23.2 innings of work. She allowed just one extra base hit, and opponents hit just .133 against her. Named to the All-Tournament team.

  • Hillaree Bennett (2/27) - Hit .529 with a 1.294 slugging percentage in five games. Hit four home runs and struck out just twice. She scored six runs with 15 RBI. She had a grand slam and a two-run home run for six RBI against Indiana State.

  • Kirsten Slouber (3/13) - Hit .500 over 10 games with four home runs, a double and 12 runs scored. She had 11 RBI despite being the leadoff batter, finishing the week with a .933 slugging percentage and a .545 on-base percentage.

  • Hillaree Bennett (3/20) - Became the first person in 2006 to earn PCSC POW honors for the second time after hitting ..727 over four games with a 1.364 slugging percentage. She hit two home runs, a double, had seven RBI, three walks and five runs scored. Was 5-for-5 with two home runs and six RBI in a doubleheader against Quinnipiac.

  • Tiffany Pagano (4/10) - Earned PCSC POW honors for the second time after pitching two shutouts of Sacramento State to open conference play. She allowed just three hits with no walks in 14.0 innings of work in her starts. She truck out 12 and allowed just one hit in the conference opener.

  • Samantha Lavino (4/24) - Did not allow a hit all weekend, picking up two victories. She tossed a complete game no-hitter against Saint Mary's.