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Monday, May 9, 2011 - 8:52pm
For a program-record sixth time this season a New Mexico State softball player earned a weekly honor from the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) when freshman Valerie Swedberg was named the Hitter of the Week for her performance against Boise State, the league office announced Monday.
The honor is the first career accolade for Swedberg from the WAC. It also marks the sixth conference recognition of the season for the Aggies, following Tiare Jennings back-to-back honors last month; a pair of Hitter of the Week awards given to senior Hoku Nohara in March as well as sophomore Alex Newman's Pitcher of the Week honor in late February. The half dozen Aggie conference awards in 2011 tops the previous high of five set in 2007.
A freshman from Albuquerque, N.M. Swedberg went 7-for-10 at the plate last week. Swedberg posted three extra-base hits including a home run and a pair of doubles. She also batted in six runs to lead the Aggies to their first WAC title.
Swedberg hit .700 on the weekend, with a .700 on-base percentage and a 1.200 slugging percentage. She notched at least two hits in each game of the series versus the Broncos; on the season she is hitting .353. Swedberg is now third on the team in home runs with nine in her freshman campaign.
"Val came up big for us last weekend," said associate head coach Cat Heifner. "Hitter of the Week awards are not easy to come by especially after facing a good Boise State pitching staff."
Swedberg has swatted three of her nine home runs in the past two weeks. Her 43 RBI rank fourth in the WAC this season. She is also tied for second in the league with 11 doubles. Swedberg's slugging percentage of .684 ranks fifth while her .353 average ranks seventh in the WAC.
The New Mexico native helped the Aggies clinch the top seed in this week's WAC Tournament to be played in Fresno, Calif., after a sweep of Boise State last weekend leading to the 2011 WAC regular season championship.
As the top seed NM State will face the winner of fourth-seeded Hawai'i and fifth-seeded Utah State on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. MT on Fresno State's Bulldog Diamond. The game will be broadcast live by Kyle Doperalski via the Aggie Sports Radio Network on KSNM 570 AM. Each subsequent Aggie contest of the double-elimination tournament will also be carried live on KSNM 570 AM thru the end of the tourney on Saturday.