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         MacDonald, Rathbun, Church and Thomson receive weekly kudos


NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Four Eastern Connecticut State University athletes in three LEClogo-1WEB.jpgsports have been recognized by the Little East Conference in its weekly awards program for their play during the week ending April 11.

Veteran LEC weekly honoree Taylor MacDonald (at right)

In women's lacrosse, senior midfielder Taylor MacDonald (Oak Bluffs, MA) was named Defensive Player-of-the-Week; in softball, sophomore All-America pitcher Molly Rathbun (Hebron)  Pitcher-of-the-Week; and in baseball, senior outfielder Chris Thomson (Montville) and freshman pitcher Benjamin Church (Rochester, MA)  the Player-of-the-Week and Rookie-of-the-Week, respectively.

MacDonald was selected for a weekly honor by the conference for the third time in five weeks this year and for the ninth time in her four-year career while Rathbun received her fourth honor in four weeks this year and for the eighth time in her two-year career. Thomson and Church were honored for the first time in their careers. Thomson is in his second season at Eastern.

A two-time conference Defensive Player-of-the-Year, MacDonald had eight ground balls , won ten draws and caused two turnovers for the Warriors during a 1-1 week. In Saturday's 17-10 conference win over visiting Plymouth State University, MacDonald had four ground balls, three draw controls and caused two turnovers and won ten of 21 faceoffs.

 In a 4-2 week, Thomson batted .650  (13-for-20) with 12 RBI and eight runs scored. He had four home runs - three coming in three straight games -- and two doubles for a 1.350 slugging percentage and .696 on-base percentage  and struck out only once. He hit home runs in the first three games of the week and had at least two hits in five of the week's six games. In three LEC games, Thomson was 7-for-11  with five RBI and four runs scored.

In his third career start, Church pitched a career-high seven innings  and fanned a career-high nine in a 6-2 win over Montclair State University. The 6-foot-2 inch righty allowed only two hits while walking three and was charged with only one (earned run).

Last year's conference Rookie-of-the-Year, Rathbun won three starts and had a save in four appearances in a 5-1 week. The righty completed all of her starts with a shutout and allowed only two (earned) runs in 24 2/3 innings for a 0.57 ERA. She fanned 41 and walked five and opponents batted .115 against her.

During the week, Rathbun broke her own program record by pitching 40.0 consecutive innings without an earned run over parts of seven games.  She pitched a complete-game one-hitter with 14 strikeouts and three walks in an eight-inning, 3-2 win over host Coast Guard, ranked third in New England and a 2009 NCAA tournament qualifiers. Rathbun has not allowed a triple or home run in 68 1/3 innings this year.

Offensively, Rathbun it safely in all six games to extend her hitting streak to 14 - four shy of the program record. She batted .611 (11-for-18)  with three doubles and a home run, seven RBI and three runs scored and had a .944 slugging percentage and .650 on-base percentage and handled 15 chances in the field without an error.

This week's four weekly selections give the Warriors 21 such honorees in this year's LEC weekly spring awards program: five in the sports of men's and women's lacrosse, four in softball and baseball, two in men's outdoor track and field and one in women's track and field.