softball

Linnay Wilson (pictured) pitches in a home matchup. Wilson earned WCC Pitcher of the Week honors earlier this season.

The LMU softball team (33-17 overall, 9-3 WCC) are preparing to finish their regular season this upcoming weekend as they take on Pacific in a three-game series. As their season comes to a close before conference championships, here are the primary takeaways from the softball team’s season this year.

3. The Lions continue to carry strong momentum from last season.

Last season, the LMU softball team finished with an overall record of 34-24 with a conference record of 11-3. The Lions have performed well at home this season, going an impressive 22-8 in home games at Smith Field. They have, however, performed less than stellar on the road, with a 3-6 record away from the Bluff.

With only three games left to go in their season, the Lions have already nearly matched last season’s win total with 33 wins. With their second consecutive winning season, the LMU softball program has had their sixth winning season in the last 10 years. The Lions were led this season by their two seniors, pitcher Hannah Bandimere and catcher Irma Sanchez, with the Lions getting a win on Senior Day, celebrating the careers of their senior softball players and leaders.

2. Pitching was essential for Lions’ success this year.

The Lions’ pitching has been one of their biggest factors in winning games this season. The Lions’ collective pitching staff’s earned run average (ERA) this season was 2.95 runs per game, compared to the 3.77 average runs per game the Lions’ opponents allowed to LMU. The Lions’ pitching was composed of three primary pitchers in Bandimere, junior Samantha Manti and sophomore Linnay Wilson, who all earned WCC pitcher of the week at some point this year. Bandimere led the trio, documenting a 14-10, obtaining the lowest individual ERA with 2.55 and allowing 121 hits facing 470 at bats in 137 innings pitched.

Manti was key for the Lions’ pitching success as well, leading the team in strikeouts with 112 and allowing 98 hits in 125 innings pitched. She also compiled a 2.87 ERA, good for second on the team and allowed her opponents to have a batting average of .209 against her, ranking best on the team in that regard. Wilson, on the other hand, was the team’s top reliever and closer, recording a team-leading three saves and having a 7-1 record, despite only pitching 78 innings.

1. Molly Grumbo becomes Lions’ biggest force at the plate this season.

Sophomore outfielder Molly Grumbo broke out for LMU this season by leading the Lions in nearly every hitting statistic. Grumbo leads the team with 52 hits, 11 doubles, .517 slugging percentage, 16 walks and 29 runs. Grumbo also displayed her eye at the plate, where she only struck out 16 times in 66 plate appearances and was walked 11 times. Grumbo’s four home runs were tied for third most on the team with teammate sophomore infielder Andrea Gonzales. Their four home runs trailed only sophomore infielder Delanie Wisz with five and team leader, freshman Riley Ehlen, with six.

The Lions will take on Pacific in Stockton, California starting on May 4 to finish out their season in a three game series against the Tigers.

This is the opinion of Miles Thomas, a sophomore communications studies major from Hermosa Beach, CA. Tweet comments to @LALoyolan or email comments to mthomas@theloyolan.com.

Sports Editor

Miles Thomas is a sophomore communications major from Hermosa Beach, CA. Miles is a lifelong Lakers, Seahawks and Dodgers fan, and hopes one day the Sonics return to Seattle. Miles enjoys a good hangout and basketball with friends in his spare time.

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