April 24, 2006
Santa Clara, Calif. - Santa Clara has established a healthy 24-6 lead over San Jose State in the Rivalry Series this season and the softball team can cap off the year-long athletic competition between the two South Bay universities' 13-intercollegiate sports in grand fashion with two victories this Wednesday at San Jose State Softball Complex. Game time for the first game of the doubleheader is set for 2 p.m. Following the mid-week contest with San Jose State, Santa Clara will travel down to Los Angeles for a weekend series against Pacific Coast Softball Conference rival Loyola Marymount. After dropping three of four games to first-place Portland State Vikings, the Broncos (16-30, 5-7 PCSC) are in fifth place in the league and trail the third-place Lions by three games.
San Jose State (22-20, 10-4) is currently on an eight-game winning streak, after coming out of Utah last weekend with a 4-0 mark. The last time the two teams met, Santa Clara came away with a 7-0 victory at the Stacey Winsburg Tournament down in Los Angeles. Courtney Lewis is the Spartans top offensive threat, batting .338 after banging out 44 hits on the season, 10 of them doubles. Sarah Taylor and Brittany McConnell are second on the team in hits with 31 and McConnell and Sarah Smith have both hit a team-leading five homeruns this season. In addition to her offensive talents, Lewis is also the Spartan's top hurler, sporting a record of 10-5 in 19 appearances and has fanned 80 batters in 2006. Dee Dee Enabenter-Omidiji is in her sixth season as the head coach of the softball program and has tallied a career mark of 151-200 while with the Spartans.
"The mid-week game against San Jose State will give us an opportunity to get back on the positive side of things," stated head coach Steve Rianda. "Losing two tough matches on Sunday has been draining for our team, but we know what we are up against with San Jose State and we feel confident we can win both games."
Hillaree Bennett is hitting a team-leading .410 this season to go along with her 43 hits and 37 RBIs. She has also tallied 11 homeruns this year. Kirsten Slouber has put 47 balls into play in 2006, while Margo Pinada, the 2005 PCSC Player of the Year, has tallied 42 hits, with seven doubles, three triples, and two homeruns. Tiffany Pagano is the reigning PCSC Pitcher of the Year and she has posted big numbers in her sophomore campaign. Currently with a record of 11-9, Pagano has a 1.82 ERA and has struck out 171 batters. Samantha Levino has provided depth in the circle for the Lions, as she has accumulated an ERA of 2.76 on her way to an 11-6 mark. Garry Ferrin is in his 11th season at the helm of the Loyola Marymount softball program and has compiled an overall record of 291-241-1 during his tenure.
"Loyola Marymount is going to be another tough weekend. They are a good hitting team and our defense needs to stay solid to keep us in the game," noted Rianda. "We had a lot of hits this weekend but couldn't string them together. Liz Courter has been a work-horse out in the circle and we will rely on her experience again."