SAN DIEGO - The Torero softball team (20-21, 6-6 WCC) close out their regular-season schedule this coming Friday and Saturday with three games at Loyola Marymount (19-29, 5-7 WCC). San Diego, currently in third place in the WCC standings, will play a 2:00 p.m. game at Smith Field on Friday, May 12th, followed by a doubleheader on Saturday (12:00 p.m. & 2:00 p.m.).
SABBATINI HONORED BY SAN DIEGO HALL OF CHAMPIONS: Megan Sabbatini was named an Amateur Star of the Month for April by the San Diego Hall of Champions. During April, the senior right-handed pitcher from Hollister, California, twice was named the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week. She earned her first league honor after picking up both wins against Pacific (4-3, 8-3) as she totaled 18 innings of work while striking out 17. She earned her second WCC honor after pitching back-to-back complete game 1-run contests against Santa Clara on April 22nd. For the month she appeared in 11 games with 10 starts and had a 5-4 record and 4.20 ERA. She totaled 44 strikeouts in 51.2 innings of work.
SENIOR DUO IN NUMEROUS TOP-10 CAREER CATEGORIES: Senior Olivia Sandusky heads into her final regular-season series ranked in seven top-10 Torero career marks – 5th in hits (182), HR (15), RBI (102) and doubles (tied with 30), 6th in total bases (265), 7th in runs (104) and stolen base attempts (tied with 41) and 9th in stolen bases (tied with 29). Currently with 187 career games played, she will move into a tie for 9th all-time should she play in all three games at LMU. Senior Megan Sabbatini ranks in three top-10 pitching categories – 5th in strikeouts (301), 9th in shutouts (tied with 6) and 10th in appearances (tied with 89).
SPENCE CONTINUES TO HIT ABOVE .400: Sophomore Taylor Spence heads into the LMU series with a WCC-best .409 batting average (54-132). After batting .391 her rookie season, Spence is trying to become just the fourth Torero to bat .400 or above for a season (minimum 100 at-bats). The last Torero to bat .400 or above was Jennifer Milo (.402) in 1997. Milo is currently the Athletic Director at nearby Cal State University San Marcos.
A GLANCE AT TORERO LEADERS: The Toreros enter their final week of the regular-season with an overall record of 20-21. This marks the ninth straight year USD has won 20 or more games. The Toreros are currently in third place in the WCC standings with their 6-6 record, trailing BYU (12-0) and Pacific (10-5). Sophomore Taylor Spence (.409 B.A.) continues to lead all WCC players in batting average, and ranks second in hits with 54. Freshman Sara Silveyra ranks 9th in the WCC in batting average (.333). Senior Olivia Sandusky (.294 B.A.) leads the Toreros with 6 HR and 31 RBIs. Kailey Hill owns a team-best 9 doubles, and is second behind Sandusky with 25 RBIs and 4 homers. Lauren Kane ranks fourth in batting average (.285) and has contributed 8 doubles, 3 HR and 21 RBIs. Taylor Spence leads the team with 16 multi-hit games, and Olivia Sandusky leads with 8 multi- RBI games. In the pitching department, Megan Sabbatini leads the team in innings pitched (129.0), strikeouts (99), wins (10) and complete games (8). USD’s .282 overall team batting average ranks second in the WCC behind BYU (.323).
WCC STANDINGS (thru May 7): BYU (12-0 WCC, 40-10), Pacific (10-5, 27-24), San Diego (6-6, 20-21), Loyola Marymount (5-7, 19-29), Santa Clara (4-11, 12-35) and Saint Mary’s (2-10, 15-29).
WCC PRESEASON POLL: The USD softball team was picked to finish third in the WCC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Last year's WCC champion, BYU (25 points), was chosen to finish first. LMU (21) was picked second, followed by San Diego (17), Saint Mary's (14), Pacific (10) and Santa Clara (5).
POSTSEASON UPDATE: A postseason berth is still a possibility for the Toreros. In addition to the NCAA Tournament (64 teams), for the first time, Triple Crown Sports (TCS) and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) have partnered this year to introduce the National Invitational Softball Championships, which is a 48-team postseason event played this month. Selection Day is set for May 14th, with 32 teams receiving automatic berths, one from each of the nation's 32 conferences, and 16 at-large teams.
MAC ATTACK: Head Coach Melissa McElvain (16th season), the 2016 WCC Co-Coach of the Year, enters the week with 334 career wins, the most in program history. In 2016, the Toreros hit .300 for the first time in her tenure and had two players named to the NFCA All-Region team (Mary Grabowski and Taylor Spence), a program first. This season marks the 9th season under her watch that the Toreros have won 20 or more games.
SCOUTING THE LMU LIONS: The Loyola Marymount Lions (19-29 / 5-7 WCC) last played over April 29-30 when they swept Saint Mary’s College by scores of 2-0, 5-4 and 3-1. Senior OF Amanda Dirks leads the team in batting average (.326), runs (27), hits (47), homers (7) and total bases (73). Junior 1B Aria Pogni ranks second in batting at .301 to go with 5 doubles and 4 homers. Sophomore RHP Hannah Bandimere owns a 6-3 record with team-best 2.21 ERA. She has totaled 44 strikeouts in 66.2 innings of work. Head Coach Sami Strinz-Ward is in his 2nd season as head coach and third overall.
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