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Sydney Hames and the Mavs head to Illinois this week for the Fighting Illini Classic.
Courtesy: Omaha Athletics

Mavs Close Tourney Play at Fighting Illini Classic

Courtesy: Omaha Athletics
         
Release: March 12, 2014
The Omaha softball team plays its sixth and final tournament this spring when it heads to the Fighting Illini Classic in Champaign, Ill., this weekend. The Mavs will play Saint Louis on Friday at 1:15 p.m. and Western Michigan at 5:45 p.m. On Saturday, the Mavs will play host Illinois at 12:45 p.m. Live stats will be available for all games at OMavs.com.

The Teams
    Omaha (14-8) is coming off a 2-1 weekend at the weather-shortened Colorado State Classic. Allie Mathewson leads the squad with a .403 batting average. She also has six home runs, 17 RBI and a team-high 21 runs scored. Amber Lutmer hits .375 with a Summit League-leading 10 home runs and 31 RBI. Sydney Hames hits .325, and Campbell Ditto hits .303 with five home runs and 40 RBI. Ace Dana Elsasser is 11-3 with a 1.47 ERA and 77 strikeouts. She has completed all 13 of her starts and has five shutouts this season.
    Saint Louis is 9-7 overall and went 1-4 at the Tennessee State Tournament last weekend. The Billikens are led by Lindsay Friedman’s .383 average with five homers and 16 RBI. Mackenzie Peter also hits .383 with two homers, seven doubles and 13 RBI. Brianna Lore is 6-4 with a 2.73 ERA.|
    Western Michigan is 7-16 and has lost eight in a row. The Broncos went 0-5 at the South Florida Under Armour Showcase last weekend. Melissa Palmer leads the team at .373 with 14 runs and eight RBI. Sarina Gamboa hits .271 with three home runs and 13 RBI. Allyson Kus is 6-9 with a 3.38 ERA.
    Illinois is 12-6 overall and split against No. 14 South Alabama last weekend at the Florida Atlantic Tournament. Alex Booker hits .422 with two home runs, four doubles, three triples and 15 RBI. Ruby Rivera hits .377 with three home runs and nine RBI. Brandi Needham is 7-2 with a 1.29 ERA. Shelese Arnold is 4-4 with a 3.04 ERA.

Series History
    UNO is 1-0 all-time against Saint Louis and 1-0 against Illinois.  The Mavs beat the Billikens last season, 9-0, at the Tennessee State Tournament on March 8. UNO beat Illinois back in 1975, 4-2, although the Mavs did travel out to Champaign to scrimmage the Illini this past fall. The meetings with Western Michigan will be the first.

Last Time Out
    The Mavericks went 2-1 at the weather-shortened Colorado State Classic in Fort Collins, Colo., last weekend. The Mavs opened with an 8-2 loss to Southern Utah, but responded with an 8-0 (6 inn.) win over Dayton and a 4-0 win over host Colorado State to cap the tournament with the best record among the four teams.  

Up Next
    UNO’s home opener is set for Tuesday, March 18 against Wichita State at 5 p.m. at Westside Field at Westbrook. The Mavs are also set to begin Summit League play at home next week on March 21-22 against South Dakota.

Maverick Notes
• Shortstop Tonya Peterson will be out for a few weeks with a fractured bone in her face after a grounder bounced up and struck her near the eye against Colorado State on March 9.
Dana Elsasser picked up her second Summit League Pitcher of the Week honor this season after 13.0 shutout innings last weekend to earn both Maverick wins. Opponents hit just .114 against her. Elsasser pitched a one-hitter in the win over Dayton and allowed just four hits to Colorado State on Sunday. She struck out 11 batters on the weekend and is now 11-3 this season with a 1.47 ERA. Her two shutouts moved her to 30 for her career, tied for fourth in school history.
Amber Lutmer hit .429 with a homer, RBI, four runs scored and five walks last weekend. Her home run against Dayton was the 44th of her career, tying Leslie Svoboda for UNO’s career home runs record. Lutmer is hitting .375 and now has 10 home runs and 31 RBI this season to lead the Summit League.
Allie Mathewson and Sydney Hames each hit .364 over the three games last weekend. Mathewson had a home run, four runs scored and three RBI and continues to lead the team at the plate with a .403 batting average. Hames continued her strong sophomore season and is now hitting .325 to rank third on the team after hitting .256 last year as a freshman.
• Sophomore catcher Campbell Ditto hits .303 with five home runs, five doubles and 15 RBI. She has scored 20 runs this season, second on the team behind only Mathewson’s 21.
• Junior Mara Eeman has four home runs and 11 RBI already this season, surpassing her sophomore totals of one homer and nine RBI.
• The Mavs lead all Summit League teams in numerous categories, including 27 home runs, 122 runs, 83 walks drawn and a .470 slugging percentage. The Mavs’ pitching staff has a 3.03 ERA to rank second in the league.

Elsasser Nabs Second Summit League Pitching Honor
    Senior pitcher Dana Elsasser picked up her second Summit League Pitcher of the Week Award this season, the conference office announced on March 10. Elsasser has now earned 10 career weekly pitching honors and six since joining the Summit League. Elsasser pitched 13.0 shutout innings and picked up two wins to lift the Mavericks to a 2-1 weekend at the weather-shortened Colorado State Classic. Elsasser pitched a one-hitter in an 8-0 (6 inn.) win over Dayton on Saturday. She struck out seven batters. Elsasser pitched 4.1 no-hit innings before Dayton’s first and only hit of the game. On Sunday, Elsasser was dominant against host Colorado State, throwing all 7.0 innings with four hits and four strikeouts to help the Mavs win 4-0 and finish with the best record at the tournament at 2-1. On the weekend, opponents hit just .114 against Elsasser. Her 13 scoreless innings dropped her ERA to 1.47 this season and she is now 11-3 overall, the most wins by a Summit League pitcher. Elsasser also earned Co-Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 24 after a 1.08 ERA in 26.0 innings pitched at the UTSA Mid-Major Classic.

Standout Seniors
    UNO’s senior class is small in numbers, but is critical to the Mavs’ success. Pitcher Dana Elsasser and first baseman Amber Lutmer are both in their final seasons at UNO, and both will wind up among the greatest Mavericks of all-time. Elsasser, the Mavericks’ ace the past two seasons, was arguably the most dominant pitcher in the Summit League as a junior with a league-best 0.62 ERA in conference games. Elsasser’s career 1.23 ERA ranks sixth-best in school history, and her .196 opponent batting average is second-best. Her 55 career wins rank eighth in school history and her 30 shutouts are tied for fourth. Lutmer has proven to be one of the top power hitters in UNO history, and she has numerous career offensive records in her sights. She has 44 career homers and needs one to break Leslie Svoboda’s school record of 44. Lutmer has 163 career RBI to rank second and needs 30 to break Svoboda’s mark of 192. Lutmer holds the school record for walks in a career (95).
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