LOS ANGELES -- Junior pitcher Hannah Bandimere went the distance throwing a one-hit shutout and senior Alicia Brown powered her second grand slam of the tournament as the Loyola Marymount softball team (34-24-1) captured the 2018 Postseason NISC championship with a 5-0 win over UC Riverside (38-24) on Friday at their very own Smith Field.
A solo home run in the second inning by freshman Delanie Wisz got things rolling for the Lions, putting them on the board with a 1-0 lead. The next three innings were scoreless as both defenses continued to shine.
LMU struck again for a final time in the bottom of the sixth when Brown crushed one over the left-field fence to secure the grand slam, her second of the tournament, increasing LMU's lead to 5-0 as she rounded home with teammates Andrea Gonzalez, Molly Grumbo and Lindsey Matoi.
The Lions held the Highlanders once again in the seventh to end the game, running away with the 5-0 national championship victory.
After throwing seven shutout innings and not allowing a hit after the first, Bandimere was named the NISC Tournament MVP. In the final two games (both complete-game shutout wins) of her junior year, she allowed just three hits with zero runs in 14 innings pitched. Bandimere finished 2018 with a record of 24-12 in 220.2 innings pitched. She was named the West Coast Conference's Co-Pitcher of the Year for 2018 while also being selected to the All-WCC First Team.
"Hannah was dominant in the circle," Lions head coach and 2018 WCC Coach of the Year Sami Strinz-Ward said. "To be able to throw a two-hitter against a team and then come back the next day and throw a one-hitter is phenomenal. What a gutsy couple of games for her!"
Brown, Maddison Flores, Grumbo and Wisz were named to the All-Tournament team for LMU. Brown posted the highest batting average on the team (.571) in the tournament while tallying four hits with three home runs, nine RBI and three runs scored. She also racked up a slugging percentage of 2.000. Brown finishes her career ranked fourth all-time in LMU softball history for RBI with 126 and is tied for sixth in home runs with 30.
"I'm so proud of how Alicia finished her career," Strinz-Ward said. "Not only was her last swing a grand slam, but these last two weeks were an amazing way to put her stamp on this program."
Flores had three hits on the week while batting .375 and locking down the defense at second base with nine assists and five putouts with a perfect fielding percentage.
Grumbo finished the championship round with five hits including one double, a batting average of .556 and slugging percentage of .667 with two runs scored.
Wisz hit .375 over the three-game stretch with a slugging percentage of 1.125. Two of her three hits were home runs, and she also tallied three RBI and four runs scored. The freshman also had 34 putouts with two assists and a perfect fielding percentage at first base.
Wisz led the Lions in home runs on the season with 13, while Brown was right behind her with 12 in 2018.
LMU's journey to the NISC championship started in the Northern Colorado regional round where the Lions went 3-1, defeating Northern Colorado once and South Dakota State twice while losing once to SDSU. They did not lose a game in the championship round with wins over UT Arlington (10-5), UC Riverside in the semifinals (2-0) and UC Riverside in the championship (5-0).
The 2018 NISC is LMU softball's first postseason action since 2007 when the program won the PCSC Championship and earned the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. The Lions won their first game in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, gaining their first postseason victory as they eliminated the 11-time national champions, UCLA.
"I'm so pleased for this team to finish the season with a national championship," Strinz-Ward expressed. "Only two teams in the country will finish this year on a championship. This was a great postseason experience for our team."
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