SAINT LEO, Fla. – Riding high on a five-game winning streak, the Saint Leo softball team looks to continue their hot play as they open Sunshine State Conference action in St. Petersburg, Fla. against Eckerd College. Following their series with the Tritons, the Green & Gold will play host to SSC foe Lynn University on Friday and Saturday.

Offensive Leaders…
Heading into conference play, the Lions are swinging their hottest bats of the year. They have pushed their team batting average to nearly .250 and 37 extra-base hits. The squad has pounded-out 23 doubles and has hit 12 homeruns. Individually, SLU is led by Tiffinee Harvey. She is batting .469 with 13 doubles, two home runs, and a triple. Brittany Yates is second on the team in hitting with a .294 average and is leading the team in RBI with 18. Amber Martyn continues to climb up the batting average ladder and now stands at .271 for the season. Sarah Boyd is third on the team in RBI with 11, while Elysha Agen is tied for second on the team with 11 runs scored. In total, six Lions have 10 or more hits and have stolen 14-of-16 bases.

In the Circle…
Kristen Kelly is starting to throw the ball the way she is capable of, concluding last week with a 1-0 mark and securing her first save as a Lion. Overall, Kelly is 1-4 and owns a 4.38 ERA. Jaime Walker picked up her first win in a Lions’ jersey, helping defeat the Lewis Flyers, 8-5. She has allowed just two walks in nearly 20 innings, while posting a 1-2 overall record and a 5.49 ERA. Ashton Whidden is continuing a steady season for the Lions, leading the team in wins with six. She recorded her sixth victory in a 4-2 win over Dominican last Sunday. In 55.1 innings pitched, Whidden has struck out 27 batters and allowed just 14 earned runs. She also sports the lowest ERA of any staff member at a 2.28.

Yates Named Player of the Week…
Yates earned SSC Offensive Player of the Week honors for the Lions. For the week, Yates batted .500 with six runs and 12 RBI to lead the Lions to a 4-0 weekly mark. Yates, who posted an impressive 1.667 slugging percentage, had each of her six hits go for extra-bases. She tallied at least one hit in every game, drove in multiple runs in all four contests, and scored at least one run in each. She opened the week with a pair of doubles in an 8-5 win over Lewis and then clubbed at least one home run in SLU's next three wins. In a 13-5 win over Dominican, Yates belted two homers. For the week, she recorded a .500 OBP and a 1.000 fielding percentage.

Trends…
Coming off a pair of two-game sweeps of Lewis University and Dominican College, the Lions have now won five-straight games dating back to the Eckerd Invitational. As a team, SLU has collected 50 hits during the streak, nearly equaling their mark of 52 hits in the previous 11 games. Also, the team has struck out just 14 times over the previous four contests. The Lions’ run  total has exploded over their previous five games scoring a total of 35 runs, including a 13-run outburst against Dominican. The Lions have also managed to score in every single ball game this season except for one, and has raised its batting average from .191 to .248. Individually, Harvey has collected a hit in all but one contest this season and is currently riding an eight-game hitting streak . She leads the team with 10 doubles and has collected a team-high 23 hits. Yates has also awakened from a slow start, as she rides her own five-game hitting streak. She has overtaken the team lead in RBI with 18 and in the last three games she has belted four home runs. Her 18 career home runs put her in a tie for 3rd in career long balls. While being outscored 68-65, the Lions have scored 16 first inning runs and have shown the ability to score runs at any moment.

About Eckerd…
Located in St. Petersburg, Fla., the Eckerd College Tritons come into this week with a 5-9-1 overall record and will open SSC action this week against the Lions. The Tritons currently possess a 5-3 record at home, while having dropped each of their six contests at a neutral site venue. The team enters the week with a .264 team batting average, amassing 10 extra-base hits and scoring 50 runs. Amanda Kolonick is leading the team in hitting with a .367 average. She has pounded out 18 hits and is a perfect 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts. Kristen Cox is a .345 hitter and is slugging a team-high .483. Megan Camp is enjoying a solid season through the first 13 games, collecting a batting average of .318 while Kristen Shurr has accumulated a team-high in RBI with 11.

Last Series…
The Lions won the season series from the Tritons taking two of three games to close out the 2009 season. However, the Tritons did post their first victory against the Lions in six years, defeating them 7-6 on the final home date of the regular season. In game one, Yates was a perfect 3-for-3 collecting two RBI en route to a 4-0 win. The onslaught continued in the second game as the Lions tore through Tritons’ pitching for 11 hits and 12 runs. Four players collected two or more hits, including the combo of Tatiana Casis and Ally Maddox who combined for nine RBI. Unfortunately, the Lions dropped the final game of the series. In the conference loss, Harvey, Casis, and Yates combined for seven of the team’s 10 hits. Still, the Green & Gold could not overcome a five spot put up by Eckerd in the second inning.

After posting an 0-6 mark at the Eckerd Invitational, the Tritons swept Ave Maria in two games. In their last game against Northwood, they were the unfortunate victim of weather in a 2-2 ball game. After a lengthy rain delay, the team was forced to take a tie, their first one since the 2004 season.

About Lynn…
Lynn is located in Boca Raton, Fla. and enters the week with a 13-3 mark. Offensively, the team is led by a trio of .300 hitters, including the likes of Brittany Gross who is batting .385 this season. She has collected seven RBI and each of her 20 hits have been singles. Nikki Pallister is their big hitter collecting 11 extra-base hits, including nine doubles and a home run. She has also posted a team-high 14 RBI and has a .674 slugging percentage. In 14 games, Kathleen Smith is hitting at a .341 clip and is 3-for-4 in stolen bases. Kathleen Lavadan has played in 10 games so far for the Fighting Knights and has amassed a .516 average with four RBI. The squad is hitting .301 as a team and fielding a solid .975. Cristie Kaufman is doing the job in the circle for the Fighting Knights, posting a 0.70 ERA and a 7-0 mark in 50.1 innings pitched. 

The Fighting Knights enter the week having won two-straight and 11 of their last 12 games, posting sweeps of both St. Thomas and Mercyhurst.

Last Series…
The Lions took out the Fighting Knights in three-straight game last season, outscoring them 20-7. In game one, the combo of Yates and Tatiana Casis provided SLU with the offensive boost they needed in a 6-3 victory. Game two was that much more impressive on the Lions part, as the Green & Gold pounded-out nine hits and 11 runs in the 11-2 win. The charge was led by a seven-run fifth inning which was highlighted by a Harvey two-run double. Saint Leo completed the sweep with a 5-4, extra-innings victory in game three.