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April 23, 2008

Eagles fall to eighth in latest regional rankings,
Host Kentucky Wesleyan Saturday

EVANSVILLE, Ind.—The University of Southern Indiana softball team slipped to eighth in the latest NCAA II Great Lakes Region Rankings. USI was ranked fourth in the poll a week ago but lost four of its next six games.

The top three teams in the regional poll remained unchanged, with Lewis University and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville holding down the top two spots and Saginaw Valley State University maintaining its hold on third place.

The University of Indianapolis and Wayne State University moved up to fourth and fifth, respectively, while Ferris State University moved to sixth in the rankings. Grand Valley State University also dropped a couple spots to seventh in the rankings, while West Virginia Wesleyan College and Missouri University of Science and Technology rounded out the poll.

USI (29-21, 12-10 GLVC), which is fifth in the GLVC standings, hosts Kentucky Wesleyan College Saturday for Senior Day to wrap up its regular season slate. The Screaming Eagles will honor their five seniors—third baseman/pitcher Kristin Eickholt (Van Wert, Ohio), pitcher Amy Harrison (Graceville, Florida), centerfielder Kirsten Morgan (Oakland City, Indiana), second baseman Niki Stewart (Evansville, Indiana), and leftfielder Kathy Wood (Lynnville, Indiana)—following the conclusion of the noon doubleheader.

The Eagles are coming off a 5-4 victory over Missouri S&T that snapped a five-game losing streak in conference games. Freshman outfielder Heather Swarts (Gas City, Indiana) had the game-winning double in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Eagles the victory.

For the season, sophomore designated player Sara Loete (Pekin, Illinois) leads the GLVC with a single-season school-record 51 RBIs. She also is fourth in the league in batting average (.408) and is tied with Wood for the league lead in hits (60).

Wood, who has a career-high six doubles and seven triples this season, raised her batting average to .397 with Monday's doubleheader split with Missouri S&T after going a combined 5-for-8 in the two games. She is third in the GLVC in conference only games with a team-best .463 batting average.

Eickholt is third on the team with a .338 batting average and 25 RBIs. She will finish her career at USI as the school's all-time leader in doubles and second-most productive RBI and home run producer.

Kentucky Wesleyan (12-28, 6-16 GLVC) also closes out the regular season with Saturday's doubleheader. The Panthers were 1-0-1 against the Eagles a year ago and enter Saturday's contests having won two of their last four contests.

The GLVC Tournament, which consists of eight teams, is May 1-3 at the EastSide Centre in East Peoria, Illinois.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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