Loyola Marymount University is heading to defend its National Invitation Softball Championship round in Fort Collins, Colorado, this weekend, after winning the NISC Regional in Reno May 18.
The Lions (39-19) beat the University of Nevada twice, 4-2 and 11-6, in a must-win doubleheader. Maddison Flores belted a two-run walkoff homerun to win the opener, and in the nightcap Irma Sanchez drove home the go-ahead tally in a three-run fifth, after LMU trailed 6-5. Andrea Gonzalez hit a three-run homerun, Molly Grumbo and Desiree Moreno each clubbed solo shots, and Samantha Manti hurled three shutout relief innings for the victory.
The Lions opened the double-elimination tournament with a 4-3 loss to Nevada, but followed with a 10-0 win over UC Riverside as Gonzalez drove in three and Grumbo, Delanie Wisz (the regional MVP) and Megan Martin all homered. LMU then beat Fresno State 8-5, led by Megan Dedrick’s homerun and three RBIs.
In the four-team NISC FInals (also a double-elimination format), LMU opens against Iowa State (35-23) on May 24, followed by Liberty versus UT Arlington. In 2018, LMU defeated UC Riverside in the NISC final, 5-0.
LMU head coach Sami Strinz-Ward earned her second straight WCC Softball Coach of the Year honor, and her third such award in four years. The LMU alumnus is in her fifth year with the program.
Three Lions were named to the All-WCC First Team: senior pitcher Hannah Bandimere, sophomore third baseman Andrea Gonzalez and sophomore outfielder Molly Grumbo. Three more sophomores — pitcher Linnay Wilson, first baseman Delanie Wisz and shortstop Megan Dedrick — made the second team, along with senior catcher Irma Sanchez.
Mike Nelson is the former editor of The Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News).
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