THIS WEEK: LMU will host Valpo in a three-game series this weekend from Page Stadium ... the three games will be the first between the teams in program history ... live links to follow the action can be found at LMULions.com.
GAME NOTES: LMU Baseball Notes
LMU: Has started a season 3-10 for the first time since 2010 ... 2010 squad then won its next five straight and 10 of next 11 ... is 20-for-23 in stolen bases, and started the year 11-for-11 ... has had eight of the last 11 games decided by two runs or less (3-8 over the span) ... LMU is also 0-4 in one-run games this season ... played consecutive extra-inning affairs on 2/18 and 2/20 for the first time since playing 10 and 9 (scheduled for 7) at UCSB and at Texas on March 4 and March 11, 2012 ... last played consecutive 10+-inning extra-inning affairs on April 30 and May 1, 2011 at San Francisco ... 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 fifth according to D1Baseball.com.
LION TRACKS: Playing at #11 UCLA on Tuesday night from Jackie Robinson Stadium, LMU suffered a 12-1 setback at the hands of the Bruins ... LMU managed just four hits, with two of the four coming in pinch-hit chances in the ninth ... Ryan Garcia got the start and turned in a great outing for UCLA, tossing 6.0 innings and allowing just one run on two hits and a walk while striking out nine to improve to 2-0 on the season ... freshman Holden Christian started and took the loss for LMU, surrendering five runs (three earned) on four hits over 2.2 innings ... the loss dropped Christian to 0-1 on the year ... freshman Jake Malloy and junior Rob Diaz both made their collegiate debuts on Tuesday, and both recorded a hit in their first career at bats ... Diaz, pinch hitting with two out in the ninth, singled in front of a Malloy double down the right field line.
BORN TO RUN: LMU stole a season-best five bases at USC on 2/27 ... Nick Sogard led the way with three stolen bases, while Billy Wilson and Kenny Oyama both stole one ... the Lions began the year 11-for-11 in stolen bases, and are now 20-for-23.
SOGARD EXTENDS HIT STREAK: Sophomore Nick Sogard was one of two Lions to record a hit off of UCLA's Ryan Garcia on Tuesday, punching an RBI-single into centerfield to chase home Billy Wilson with two out in the third and extend his hit streak to seven games.
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.
AND IT'S A YOUNG STAFF: LMU has used 11 pitchers this year, but only one has been an upperclassman - junior Codie Paiva ... the Lions have used Paiva, seven true freshmen, a redshirt-freshman, one true sophomore, and a redshirt-sophomore ... 69.2 of LMU's 113.1 innings have come from freshmen arms (61%).
IT'S JUST A NUMBER: LMU is 34-45-1 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 is currently 0-1 this year after finishing 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.
PAIVA'S GEM EARNS PITCHER OF THE WEEK: After throwing a complete-game shutout at Hawaii on March 1, junior Codie Paiva was named WCC Rawlings Pitcher of the Week on March 5 ... pitching in Hawaii for the first time since the Hawaii State Tournament as a high school player, the right-hander tossed a complete-game shutout against the Rainbow Warriors as LMU posted a 3-0 victory over Hawaii ... Paiva was efficient in posting the complete-game shutout, throwing just 86 pitches, 64 for strikes, while scattering four hits and a walk with four strikeouts ... the complete-game shutout was the first since Cory Abbott went the distance and blanked Gonzaga on May 13, 2017.
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, which is 1-3 so far this year, went 17-10 last year at home after going 9-12 at home in 2016 ... the Lions, who have posted a 561-423-4 (.570) 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.
STRONG WEEKEND PITCHING: LMU's starting pitchers have been strong over the last two weekend series, combining to go 3-2 with a 2.06 ERA over 43.2 innings of work ... LMU weekend starters have allowed 12 runs (10 earned) while striking out 30 and holding opponents to a .205 average against ... Codie Paiva's lone start over the string was a complete-game shutout over his hometown team, Hawai'i, on March 1 ... Josh Agnew is 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in two starts and 14.1 innings of work ... the right-hander has struck out 10 to no walks.
OFFENSIVE STRUGGLES: While LMU's starting pitchers have been strong in the last two weekend series against Oregon and Hawai'i, LMU's offense has struggled ... LMU is hitting just .195 in those games, and opposing pitchers have posted a 1.77 ERA ... the Lions are 3-4 over the seven games ... in LMU's four losses, LMU hitters are batting .183 while scoring 11 runs with just four extra-base hits ... overall this year, LMU is hitting .205 and is being outscored 70-43 ... opponent starters have been especially tough, as those hurlers have managed a 1.60 ERA against LMU's offense.
SCOUTING THE CRUSADERS: Valpo enters the weekend series with the Lions sporting a 4-8 overall and riding a two-game losing streak after dropping a pair to UC Riverside this week ... the Crusaders have managed a pair of victories over Grand Canyon, and wins over Oklahoma and Holy Cross so far this year ... Blake Billinger paces the offense with a .396 batting average, 10 runs scored, seven doubles, two homers and 13 RBI ... Zack Leone is also hitting near .400, entering the weekend at .390 and carrying 10 runs scored, a double, a homer and seven RBI ... the Crusaders are hitting .322 as a team and have hit 11 homers, led by Sam Shaikin with three ... Valpo's team ERA sits at 7.99 ... RHP Jon Tieman (1-1, 8.59 ERA) is scheduled to get the ball on Friday, followed by right-handers Trey Ferketic (2-0, 4.20 ERA) and Wes Gordon (0-2, 7.32 ERA) ... the Crusaders are led by fifth-year head coach Brian Schmack. P> BULLPEN WOES AGAINST OREGON: While LMU starters combined for a .48 ERA (1 ER in 18.2 IP) with 19 strikeouts in the series against Oregon, the bullpen had consecutive tough outings while trying to hold LMU leads in the final two games of the series ... the Lions led 1-0 headed into the eighth on Saturday vs. Oregon, but the bullpen surrendered a run in the eighth and the go-ahead in the ninth as LMU fell, 2-1 ... LMU then carried a 4-0 advantage into the sixth on Sunday, but Oregon got to the bullpen for four in the sixth, four in the seventh and one in the eighth to capture the series by way of a 9-7 come-from-behind triumph ... LMU's 'pen posted a 19.50 ERA (11 ER in 5 IP) over the those final two games ... six different relievers appeared over the span, as they combined to issue 10 hits, eight walks and two hit batters while allowing a .455 average against ... overall this year, LMU's 'pen has pitched to a 5.16 ERA in 45.1 innings.
COULDN'T BEAT THE BUZZER: In a sport that does not feature a game clock, LMU baseball may have run out of time on 2/25 as they attempted to come from behind to defeat Oregon at LMU's Page Stadium ... the Lions scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth to cut a five-run deficit to 9-7, but the game was called due to curfew after eight innings ... due to a flight schedule for Oregon, the two sides agreed to not start a new inning after 4:45 p.m., and the Lions were busy putting together the rally in the eighth as the clock moved past the deadline ... Ryne Nelson, who took over on the mound and walked in the final Lion run of the game, eventually struck out Jamey Smart and Trevin Esquerra to seal the victory and strand the bases loaded.
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.
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