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April 11, 2008

Eagles head north for tough four-game stretch,
USI-Lewis square off in battle of GLVC leaders

EVANSVILLE, Ind.When the University of Southern Indiana softball team squares off against No. 15 Lewis University Saturday at noon in Romeoville, Illinois, it will be a battle of first and second-place teams in the GLVC standings.

Lewis (24-10, 9-1 GLVC) is the top team in the GLVC and the number-one ranked team in the latest NCAA II Great Lakes Region rankings. USI (25-15, 10-4 GLVC) is second in the GLVC standings and enters Saturday's match-up with the Flyers as the fourth-ranked team in the Great Lakes Region.

The Screaming Eagles are 21-7 since starting the season with a 4-8 record, while the Flyers are 24-5 since opening the 2008 campaign with five straight losses.

Leading the Eagles, who have the league's best overall team hitting percentage (.313) and third-ranked defense with a .972 fielding percentage, is sophomore designated player Sara Loete (Pekin, Illinois) and senior leftfielder Kathy Wood (Lynnville, Indiana). Loete is hitting .411 with a team-best nine home runs and GLVC-leading 47 RBIs, just three shy of the single-season school record that has stood for 30 years.

Wood has raised her batting average to the .400 mark after hitting a blistering .589 in her last 19 games. She has five doubles and a league-best seven triples, while ranking second in the GLVC with 15 sacrifice bunts.

In the pitching circle, senior Amy Harrison (Graceville, Florida) and junior Stephanie Schneider (Birdseye, Indiana) have been stellar as of late for the Eagles. Harrison (12-8) is 9-1 with a 1.64 ERA in her last 13 appearances, while Schneider is the reigning GLVC Pitcher of the Week after going 3-0 with two shutouts and a 0.67 ERA last week.

The Flyers sport the league's second-ranked defense with an overall team fielding percentage of .974 and have been very effective at the plate and in the pitching circle where they rank sixth in the league in overall hitting percentage (.280) and third in team ERA (2.10).

Junior infielder Kelly Dianis leads the Flyers and the GLVC with a .462 batting average, while junior pitcher Courtney Lyons is second in the GLVC with a 1.07 ERA.

Following their doubleheader with the Lewis, the Eagles travel to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to take on the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Sunday in a GLVC doubleheader starting at noon. The Rangers (18-11, 5-5 GLVC) are tied for sixth in the GLVC standings and are tied for fourth in the GLVC with a .213 team ERA.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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