Lions Open 2018 Season at Marucci Desert Classic

Feb. 14, 2018

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LMU
Has played for the WCC Championship three of the last four years (losses to Pepperdine in 2014 and 2015, loss to BYU in 2017) ... last earned an NCAA berth in 2000 ... is picked to finish fifth in the WCC Preseason Coaches' Poll ... is also picked ffith according to D1Baseball.com ... is 6-3 on Opening Day under head coach Jason Gill (lost to #19 UCSB in 2017) ... also 7-2 in Opening Weekend series under Gill (only losses against then-No. 7 UC Irvine in 2010 and #11 TCU in 2016).

LION TRACKS
LMU earned a share of the 2017 WCC Championship to record the program's seventh WCC title and the first since 2000 ... was picked to finish seventh in the 2017 WCC Preseason Coaches' Poll ... carried a #27 national ranking according to Collegiate Baseball into the WCC Championship ... was ranked as high as #23 in the nation according to D1Baseball on May 8 ... won 10 of last 14, 16 of last 21, 27 of last 35, and 30 of last 40 ... had seven players named to All-WCC teams, headlined by Cory Abbott being named WCC Pitcher of Year ... dropped one weekend series (11-1-1) and lost back-to-back games just three times ... did not lose consecutive road games all season ... 13 of 18 losses were decided by 3 runs or less, but one more loss came on a walk-off grand slam ... went 10-7 in one-run games ... offensively, led the WCC in hit-by-pitches, stolen bases and triples, and was second in batting average and on-base percentage ... on the mound, was first in ERA, shutouts, WHIP and hits allowed per nine, and second in walks per nine and strikeout-to-walk ratio ... recorded its third of six shutouts this year on 3/25 vs. BYU as Cory Abbott tossed first perfect game in LMU and WCC history to beat Cougars, 2-0.

THIS WEEK
LMU will open the 2018 season on the road at the Marucci Desert Classic hosted by UNLV in Las Vegas ... the Lions begin the season against Oregon on Friday before clashing with Indiana State on Saturday ... the opening weekend concludes on Sunday with a game against the host Rebels ... LMU last played in a regular-season tournament in 2013, competing in the UNLV Rebel Classic ... links to live coverage of this weekend's games can be found at LMULions.com.

-NIKO DECOLATI
Has been tabbbed a Perfect Game Preseason All-WCC selection ... ranks #58 on the D1Baseball Top-100 Prospects list.

-CODIE PAIVA
Has been tabbbed a Perfect Game Preseason All-WCC selection.

-JAMEY SMART
Has been tabbbed a Perfect Game Preseason All-WCC selection and was named to WCC's Preseason All-Conference by WCC coaches ... returns after being named first team All-WCC in 2017.

A WHOLE NEW STAFF
LMU returns just 154.2 innings from last year's pitching staff that logged a combined 502.1 (31%) ... in addition, 12 of those returning innings came from players who are not expected to pitch in 2018 (Steven Chavez and Niko Decolati) ... LMU's staff also returns only nine of its 56 starts from a year ago, with all nine coming outside of a traditional three-game weekend series.

TICKET PACKAGES ARE ON SALE
Season ticket packages for the 2018 season are now on sale ... new ticket plans start at $50 for a General Admission season ticket, while Reserved season tickets can be purchased for $99 ... members of LMU's Little Lions Club also get into all LMU home baseball games as part of the membership, while students, faculty and staff with a valid One Card also receive free General Admission access to every home game ... Reserved season tickets behind home plate include a nameplate on your chair identifying your seat(s) ... fans can also package a mini plan to include any five home games this year, with prices starting at $30 ... General Admission mini plans provide access to all General Admission areas of Page Stadium, while a Reserved mini plan secures a seat in the chair-back sections behind home plate ... General Admission mini plans can be purchased for $30, while Reserved mini plans cost $50 ... to purchase season tickets, mini plans or single-game tickets, please contact the LMU Box Office at 310-338-5466 or visit LMULions.com/tickets.

GET OFF ON THE RIGHT PAW
Despite a loss to #19 UCSB last year, the Lions have had a knack for coming out of the gates strong under head coach Jason Gill, going 6-3 on Opening Day during his tenure ... the Lions are 7-2 in Opening Weekend series over that span, with the only losses against then-No. 7 UC Irvine in 2010, and #11 TCU last year ... since 2000, LMU is 11-7 on Opening Day.

PICK UP WHERE I LEFT OFF
Five Lion baseball players carry a hitting streak of at least one game from 2017 into the 2018 campaign, while six carry over reached-base streaks ... Niko Decolati, Ryan Kawano, Brandon Shearer, Jamey Smart and Nick Sogard each got a hit in their final game of 2017, with Shearer carrying over a five-game streak.

ALL-CONFERENCE RETURNERS
LMU returns two players who received All-WCC recognition at the end of the 2017 season, including senior Jamey Smart (first team) and sophomore Cooper Uhl (All-Freshman) ... Smart led the way offensively for LMU during WCC play, hitting .394 with 24 runs scored, six doubles, four homers and 24 RBI ... the native of San Ramon, Calif. hit .326 overall, appearing in all 56 games and starting 55... over the course of the year, he scored 35 runs and collected team-high 41 RBI while notching 11 doubles and six homers ... Uhl appeared in 44 games and started 36 in his freshman season, hitting .210 with 17 runs scored, three doubles and 12 RBI.

SURVEY SAYS
LMU was picked to finish fifth in the competitive WCC after a polling all 10 of the head coaches during the preseason ... 2017 West Coast Conference Tournament champion and regular season co-champion BYU was picked to win the 2018 WCC Championship ... the Cougars earned five first place votes and 74 points overall ... San Diego was a close second with 71 points overall and four first place votes followed by Saint Mary's who grabbed the last first place vote while earning 66 points for a preseason third-place finish.

IT'S JUST A NUMBER
LMU is 34-44-1 against ranked-opponents under head coach Jason Gill over his 10 years as head coach ... the Lions are also 8-10 in weekend series against ranked teams over that span ... LMU finished 2-2 last year ... LMU went 2-7 against ranked-foes in 2016 ... LMU's best record under Gill against ranked-teams came in his first year (2009) when the Lions went 9-2.

THROW STRIKES AND PLAY CATCH
LMU has played well on the defensive side of the ball throughout Jason Gill's tenure, with last year serving as no exception ... LMU's pitching staff walked just 150 batters last year - second best in LMU history ... three of the top-five single-season walks-per-game marks have also came in the last two years, as Blake Redman set a new LMU record (.98) in 2016, followed by J.D. Busfield at #2 (1.02 in 2016) and Redman at #5 (1.51) in 2017 ... behind the pitchers in 2016, LMU's defenders recorded the second-fewest errors in LMU history (55) and second-best fielding percentage (.973) ... overall, Gill has seen his pitchers record the four lowest team walks marks in LMU history, claim all but one of the individual top-10 single-season walks-per-game marks, earn the top-two, and three of the top-four, best ERA marks, and has seen his defense register the top-three, and five of the top-six, fielding percentages.

@LMLIONSBASEBALL ON SOCIAL MEDIA
For fans, scouts, parents and players who are interested in following LMU baseball even closer this year, LMU baseball is posting under the handle @LMLionsBaseball on Twitter and Instagram ... to get the inside look at LMU baseball from the coaching perspective, make sure to follow @LMLionsBaseball on Twitter and Instagram.

FOLLOW IT LIVE ONLINE
LMU Athletics will once again video stream every home baseball games this year through the LMU Sports Network and theW.tv ... the video stream is free of charge, and will be accompanied by an audio play-by-play broadcast ... all road games will once again feature an audio play-by-play broadcast ... to watch any and all home games this year, and to listen to the audio on the road, please check the LMU baseball schedule.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
In its 36th season as the home of Lion baseball in 2018, George C. Page Stadium is also in its fifth year under the lights ... the 2018 LMU baseball schedule features 24 home games ... LMU went 17-10 last year at home after going 9-12 at home in 2016 ... the Lions, who have posted a 560-420-4 (.571) overall record in the park's 35 seasons, have claimed six conference titles while calling Page Stadium home ... the first Page Stadium conference title came in 1986, when the Lions posted a 24-8 record at home ... the best record came in 1988, when LMU was 30-5 at home (.857) ... LMU's historic first game in Page Stadium was played on March 19, 1983, with a 5-1 loss to Cal State Fullerton ... one of the staples of the venue, the Mikos Blue Monster in left field stands 130-feet wide and 37-feet tall.

JOURNEY TO THE TOURNEY
For the sixth consecutive year, the West Coast Conference will hold a WCC Championship Tournament at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, Calif. from May 24-26 to decide who will claim the WCC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament ... the top-four teams will compete in the tournament, with the #1 seed facing #4 and #2 facing #3 in first-round play ... the tournament is double elimination throughout, with the winner of the tournament earning the WCC's automatic bid ... LMU has played for the WCC Championship in three of the last four years (losses to Pepperdine in 2014 and 2015; loss to BYU in 2017).

SIMPLY…PERFECT
Cory Abbott dealt the first perfect game in LMU and West Coast Conference history on Saturday, March 25, 2017 in a 2-0 victory over BYU ... the right-hander struck out a career-high 13 hitters and used 106 pitches to dispatch of the Cougars ... the perfect game was the first at the Division I level in 2017, and was the 26th since 1957 (last: Jesse Scholtens, Wright State, 3/11/16 ... Abbott sealed the perfect game with a strikeout of pinch hitter Tanner Chauncey, striking Chauncey out on a 3-2 pitch ... LMU had thrown two previous no-hitters, including current volunteer assistant Matt Florer's no-hitter against Cal State Northridge on April 23, 2013 ... Bob Seus had LMU's first-ever no-hitter, limiting Long Beach State to just two walks and a hit batter on March 14, 1980 ... Abbott found himself in only four three-ball counts all day, and had only one real scare on a hard hit ball, with Niko Decolati diving forward to steal a potential hit from shortstop Daniel Schneemann with one out in the seventh ... for his efforts, Abbott was named WCC Pitcher of the Week and a National Pitcher of the Week according to Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game.

LIONS IN THE DRAFT
LMU had three players drafted in the 2017 MLB Draft ... Cory Abbott was selected in the second round by the Chicago Cubs with the 67th overall pick ... the second-round selection is the highest for LMU since 2000, when Billy Traber was taken in the first round by the New York Mets, followed by Michael Schultz in the second round by the Arizona Diamondbacks ... after Abbott was selected, Harrison Simon became the second Lion off the board this year when the Padres took him with the 708th overall pick in the 24th round ... Phil Caulfield earned his selection when the Nationals made the Burlingame, Calif. native their 32nd-round pick ... Caulfield was the 973rd overall pick in the draft.

PCH CUP
Separated by 19.1 miles of scenic coastline, longtime cross-town adversaries Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine came together in an effort to boost their decades-long rivalry with the creation of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) Cup ... the series, which is in its ninth year, serves as an annual scorecard for the NCAA-sponsored athletic contests between the Lions and Waves, and challenges each institution to rise above the other within the West Coast Conference ... any head-to-head competition, including matches in the post-season and tournaments throughout the year, will be counted toward the scoring and added to the scorecard as they occur ... for the sports in which the two teams do not meet head-to-head, the teams will battle for points that will be awarded on the basis of overall finish at their respective post-season championships ... LMU currently leads in the 2017-18 PCH Cup standings, 6.5-6 ... LMU won the 2016-17 PCH Cup, 12-9.5 ... to learn more about the PCH Cup and view the current scorecard, please visit: lmulions.com/pchcup

LIONS IN PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL
LMU has had more than 125 players drafted by Major League Baseball teams in program history, including 28 players in the last 10 years ... Billy Traber and Chris Donnels are the lone Lions to be selected in the first round, both selected by the Mets ... Traber went 16th overall in 2000, while Donnels was taken with the 24th pick in 1987 ... including Traber and Donnels, LMU has had 23 players selected in the first five rounds of a MLB draft ... LMU's best draft came in 2000, as a Lion was taken in each of the first three rounds - Traber went in the first, followed by Michael Schultz in the second, and Scott Walter in the third ... for a list of current Lions playing in professional baseball, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/7taglqf

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