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Conville comes in clutch

The La Salle softball team ended a five-game losing streak with a dramatic win over Saint Louis on Saturday. With two outs and two runners on base in the seventh inning, sophomore Mary Pat Conville singled to give the Explorers a 3-2 victory over the Billikens. The win improved La Salle’s record to 9-15, with a 3-5 mark in Atlantic 10 games.


Mike Dao - Alicia De La Rosa attempts to tag out a UMass baserunner.

Sophomore Gina Massaro earned her second win of the season in the pitchers’ duel, allowing just four hits while striking out nine batters. The offense could muster only five hits, but got a couple key walks from freshman Ali Shepherd and Massaro to set the table for Conville’s walk-off hit.

La Salle dropped the first game of the weekend series by a score of 5-4 to increase their losing skid to five games. The Explorers had previously lost two games apiece to Massachusetts and Georgetown. The team was outscored 38-14 during the streak, which was the longest of the season.

The results of La Salle’s games often depend on the offensive production. Of the team’s nine wins, they average over eight runs a game. In the losses, they score just over a run and a half. The offense dictates the entire game for the Explorers. In the wins, the team has scored more than five runs all but twice, and in the losses they have scored more than five just once.

Young players have been coming through for La Salle all season. Shepherd was named “A-10 Rookie of the Week” March 17, and the shortstop leads the team in assists on the defensive side. Massaro is joined at the top of the rotation by sophomore Laura Beth McCreesh. Massaro’s 2-7 record is deceiving because her 3.92 ERA would be good enough for a few more wins had she gotten some run support. McCreesh leads the team with five wins and a .227 batting average against.

Conville has been the offense’s greatest weapon this season, leading the team in batting average (.366), at bats (82), hits (30), runs (15), doubles (5), total bases (37), slugging percentage (.451) and on-base percentage (.402). She is coming off a freshman campaign that saw her lead the team in batting average and hits en route to a place on the A-10 All-Rookie Team.

Her leadership at the plate was underlined by her game-winning hit this weekend.

The Explorers have a busy week ahead of them, with 10 games in the next week. The two most important ones will be April 6 in a doubleheader at Dayton. The team will have its hands full with the 15-14 Flyers, who have a high powered offense to match La Salle’s. Two wins can pull the Explorers to .500 in the A-10, a mark they will need to reach if they want to make the A-10 Tournament in May.


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