Greely, Colo. – The Loyola Marymount softball team (30-23-1, 2-0 NISC) picked up its second win of the National Invitational Softball Championships on Thursday afternoon, defeating South Dakota State (36-17, 2-1 NISC) 8-0 in five innings.
Junior pitcher Hannah Bandimere picked up her 21st win of the season with a dominating performance, allowing just four hits in the shutout victory. Bandimere was announced as a member of the NFCA Division I All-Region Third Team for the West Region this morning.
LMU had an explosive second inning, scoring five runs to take a commanding 5-0 lead early on. The run began with a solo shot to left field by freshman Delanie Wisz, who led the Lion batters in the second. Senior Alicia Brown kept it rolling with a perfectly placed double down the left field line to put herself in scoring position, and then both senior Brooke Christensen and freshman Megan Martin were walked to load the bases.
Freshman Maddison Flores defined the word clutch with LMU’s next at-bat, launching a homer to left field to secure her first career grand slam as Brown, Christensen and Martin all scored and the Lions went up 5-0.
The Jackrabbits made a pitching change after LMU’s successful second inning, but it didn’t slow the Lions down. Christensen nailed Loyola Marymount’s third home run of the day in the fourth, increasing the Lions’ lead to 6-0. Senior Sabrina Tebou brought home the next LMU run as she doubled to left field, scoring Flores who previously reached on a fielder’s choice, and the Lions finished the fourth on top 7-0.
One home run on the day wasn’t enough for Wisz, as she nailed another solo shot to center field in the fifth to give LMU an 8-0 advantage. Bandimere finished the game with a swinging strike out after two quick ground outs by the Jackrabbits.
This marked the Lions’ 30th win of the season, as they now hold a record of 30-23-1 including a 2-0 start to the NISC. LMU remains in the winner’s bracket and will play for the regional championship tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. PT (10 a.m. local, MT).
The Lions will once again face the Jackrabbits, who earned a spot in the final regional game after defeating Colorado State 7-3 in tonight’s elimination game. Colorado State started off with a 3-0 lead in the second inning, but the Jackrabbits chipped away and tied it up 3-3 in the fourth before scoring five runs in the fifth to seal the victory.
This is a double-elimination tournament, so if the Lions take tomorrow’s first game of the day, they become the NISC regional champions. If South Dakota State wins the first game, LMU will get another shot at 12 p.m. PT (1 p.m. MT).
The winner of the NISC regional continues on to the national championship round, which will be played at one host school to be determined following conclusion of regionals.
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