Baseball

LMU Opens Three-Game Series with Cal State Northridge

Sophomore Martin Viramontes will get the ball on Friday to open a three-game series with Cal State Northridge. (Photo by Scott Cunningham)

Sophomore Martin Viramontes will get the ball on Friday to open a three-game series with Cal State Northridge. (Photo by Scott Cunningham)

March 11, 2010

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -

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BRIEFLY...
Fresh off of winning the 2010 Dairy Queen Classic last weekend, LMU (3-8) will open a three-game series with Cal State Northridge (6-5) this weekend. The series will see the Lions at home on Friday and Saturday before game-three heads to Northridge, Calif. Friday's opener is slated for a 2 p.m. start, while Saturday and Sunday are both scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. With a 2-1 mark last week, LMU has now won three of its last five games.

STAFF STEPS UP...
The Lions have won three of their last five games, and much of the success is due to stellar pitching both from the starters and relievers over the span. Over those five games, LMU pitching sported a 2.60 ERA in 45 innings of work. The starters in those five games amassed a 2.43 ERA over 33.1 innings of work, averaging 6.67 innings per start. Opponents hit just .211 against the starting rotation. As a staff, LMU pitching posted 15 consecutive scoreless innings from inning number two against Minnesota on May 5 through inning eight against Northwestern on May 6 at the 2010 Dairy Queen Classic. After surrendering three runs in the eighth against Northwestern, LMU shut out Oklahoma State on March 7. In all, the Lions have posted 25 scoreless frames over their last 26 innings. In the three games at the Dairy Queen Classic, LMU pitching posted a 2.00 ERA with 24 strikeouts, holding opponents to a .220 batting average. Starting pitchers at the Classic managed a 2.21 ERA with 20 strikeouts, holding opponents to a .203 batting average against in 20.1 innings of work. The innings pitched break down to an average of 6.77 innings per start.

RUNNER!...
The Lions have taken a somewhat different approach to the game this year, swiping 12 bases in 17 attempts through the first 11 games of the season. LMU stole just nine bases on 14 attempts through the first 11 games last year en route to 30 stolen bases on 53 attempts. LMU stole just two bases through the first six games this year, but has turned it on a bit as of late, highlighted by six stolen bases in a game against Oklahoma State on March 7. The six steals were the most by the Lions since swiping seven against San Francisco on May 9, 2003.

KINGS OF THE DAIRY QUEEN...
LMU won the 2010 Dairy Queen Classic from March 5-7 by finishing the three-day tournament with a 2-1 record. The Lions defeated Oklahoma State, which also had a 2-1 record, by a count of 3-0 in what proved to be the Championship Game on March 7 due to tiebreaker rules. Minnesota, which hosted the tournament, and Northwestern both finished with 1-2 record. Sunday's starter John Lally was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament for his seven shutout innings and career-high tying five strikeouts against Oklahoma State to help LMU to the championship. Lally, who combined with Alex Gillingham to throw a two-hit shutout, was also named to the All-Tournament team with Jonathan Johnson and Ryan Hawthorne. To read more about Lally and Johnson's weekends, which earned them WCC Pitcher and Player of the Week accolades, please read the "Lions Sweep Weekly Honors" portion of this release. Hawthorne finished the three-day tournament with a .375 batting average (3-for-8) with a double, a walk, three sacrifice bunts and a RBI. He slugged .500 and reached base at a .444 clip. Hawthorne's best day came on Saturday as he finished 2-for-3 with two of LMU's three hits in a loss to Northwestern.

LIONS SWEEP WEEKLY HONORS...
LMU baseball swept the West Coast Conference Players of the Week awards this week, as sophomore John Lally and junior Jonathan Johnson took home weekly honors. Lally was named WCC Pitcher of the Week, while Johnson took home Player of the Week accolades as the Lions finished 2-2 last week, including winning the 2010 Dairy Queen Classic in Minneapolis, Minn. over the weekend. Lally was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Dairy Queen Classic for his seven shutout innings and career-high tying five strikeouts in a two-hit shutout victory over Oklahoma State to help LMU to the 2010 Dairy Queen Classic Championship on Sunday. He teamed with sophomore Alex Gillingham to record the two-hit shutout as LMU won the game, 3-0. The native of Santa Margarita, Calif. used just 89 pitches over the first seven scoreless innings to improve to 1-0 on the season. The left-hander faced 25 total batters, four over the minimum, allowing just two hits and two walks. The shutout was the first for LMU since shutting out Santa Clara 2-0 on the road on March 27, 2009. The combined two-hitter was the first for LMU since Daniel Macias allowed just two hits in a 5-0 victory over Gonzaga on April 30, 2006. Johnson batted .400 (6-for-15) with two runs scored, a double, three triples, a walk and two stolen bases over the week. He slugged .867 and reached base at a .471 clip. Johnson recorded a triple in three of LMU's four games last week. The native of Lakewood, Calif. was vital in LMU's Championship Game at the 2010 Dairy Queen Classic on Sunday, finishing 3-for-4 with a run scored and a triple, his second of the tournament and third of the season. Over the three-game tournament alone, Johnson batted .417 (5-for-12) with two runs scored, a double, two triples, and a pair of stolen bases en route to being named to the All-Tournament team. He reached base at a 462 clip and slugged .833.

KOCH IN THE LINEUP...ON THE BENCH...
Sophomore Matt Koch was named to the 2010 Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award Watch List, it was announced by The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission on March 2. Fifty-three catchers were nominated for the award by their coaches, but because the award is given annually to the top division one collegiate catcher, the list will be updated to include other candidates until May 5, 2010. Koch is the only catcher from the West Coast Conference currently on the list. The annual award serves to honor those athletes that serve as a team's starting catcher in at least 75% of the games. Nominees that end up playing primarily another position, such as designated hitter, or those that split their time with another catcher in a 50/50 situation will be disqualified from semifinalist selection. Koch has started all 11 games for the Lions this year, including nine behind the plate. He is batting .326 (14-for-43) with eight runs scored, a team-best eight doubles, a home run, a stolen base and eight RBI. He is slugging .581 and reaching base at a .367 clip. The watch list will be narrowed down to ten semifinalists, whom will be announced May 19, 2010. Ballots will be sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced June 2, 2010 prior to the NCAA Regionals and Major League Baseball Draft. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 13th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on July 1, 2010.

DOUBLE THE FUN...
The Lions have been on a doubles tear to start the 2010 season. LMU entered the weekend ranked fifth in the WCC in doubles with 22 through 11 games played, an average of 2.00 doubles per game. Sophomore Matt Koch leads the way with a conference-best eight two-baggers entering the weekend, followed by teammates Jason Barmasse and Jonathan Johnson with four doubles, good for sixth in the WCC entering the weekend. As Barmasse and Johnson are just one double away from a tie for second place, LMU has a chance to claim each of the top three spots in the conference. The Lions collected a season-high five doubles in a loss to UC Riverside on February 26, and have posted three or more doubles in five of the first 11 games.

YOU CAN'T RAIN ON MY PARADE...
The doubleheader between LMU and UC Riverside, originally scheduled for February 27 in Riverside, Calif., was rained out as Southern California took a powerful hit from Mother Nature. The two teams had decided prior to the series, that if games happened to get rained out, the two teams would not attempt to play a doubleheader if better weather followed the next day. Instead, the two teams will play single games in Riverside on April 21 and May 12 at 6 p.m.

FOLLOW THE LIONS ONLINE...
Log on to www.LMULions.com for all the latest info on the Lions, including updated schedules, rosters, player bios, and more. Don't forget to also sign up to follow the Lions on Facebook (Facebook.com/LMULions) and Twitter (Twitter.com/LMULions). All LMU baseball games, including those games on the road, will be broadcast live via Gametracker. In addition, in conjunction with Stretch Internet, all LMU baseball games will be broadcast via live audio online at www.LMULions.com. Just visit the Lion baseball page, click on schedule, and click on the links located on the right side of the schedule for that particular game. All broadcasts will be archived within 72 hours of their original airing and will include both the pre-game and post-game shows.

LMU SPORTS WEEKLY...
LMU is also proud to introduce a new weekly podcast show, LMU Sports Weekly, hosted by Jesse Kass. The show will feature radio highlights and recaps from recent games, interviews with student-athletes and coaches, and previews of upcoming events. All shows can be heard online at LMULions.com. Fans can also subscribe to the free podcast via iTunes. Just search "LMU" in the iTunes Store.

INSIDE THE LIONS...
"Inside the Lions" is a special look into LMU Athletics and its student-athletes in a 10 to 15 minute show hosted by a student-athlete, sophomore men's basketball guard Jarred DuBois. Airing roughly twice a month, the show will highlight a student-athlete and give an inside look to why LMU is such a special place. In addition, highlights from top games and other game day features will be within the show. Take a look at the newest show or past shows. It's all here thanks to Lions' All-Access.

COMING TO A GAME?
Fans, come cheer on the Lions this year at Page Stadium. LMU will host 29 home games this season. To reserve your tickets today, please contact the LMU Ticket Office at (310) 338-LION. Tickets are also available at the Ticket Office prior to the start of the game. When traveling to the venue, please remember that the Loyola Marymount University campus is located in Westchester at One LMU Drive, approximately four miles north of the Los Angeles International Airport. Fans traveling to LMU must use the main entrance off of Lincoln Blvd. on LMU Drive. Those seeking handicap parking must also use the main entrance, where they can get directions from the guard at the front gate. Gates to Page Stadium open roughly two hours before the start of a game.


Saturday's men's tennis match against Gonzaga is this week's "Team LMU" event. "Team LMU" was created to generate awareness and excitement for LMU sporting events on game days. Staff and students are encouraged to wear LMU gear on designated "Team LMU" days and to attend the games. To view more information about the current and future "Team LMU" events, please visit www.LMULions.com/teamlmu.

LION TRACKS...
Sophomore Alex Guthrie broke a 3-3 tie with a solo home run in the top of the ninth inning as LMU defeated Minnesota 4-3 to open the 2010 Dairy Queen Classic on March 5. Guthrie, who finished 2-for-4, hit his team-leading third home run of the season with two out in the top of the ninth. Matt Koch, Matt Lowenstein and Ryan Hawthorne each collected doubles in LMU's two-run seventh inning, while Koch drove in the Lions' first run of the game with a groundout in the fourth. Martin Viramontes surrendered three runs in the bottom of the first inning, all coming on one swing of the bat from Michael Kvasnicka. Kvasnicka, who finished 2-for-2 with a three-run homer, a double, a run scored, three RBI and two walks, provided all of Minnesota's offense, as LMU's pitching shutout the Golden Gophers over the final eight frames. Viramontes finished the game with six innings pitched, allowing three runs on three hits, four walks and a hit-by-pitch, while striking out eight.

LMU managed just three hits en route to being shut out, 3-0, by Northwestern on March 6 at the 2010 Dairy Queen Classic. Northwestern scored three times in the eighth inning to record the win. The Lions, who were shut out for the first time this season and for the first time since April 18, 2009 at Pepperdine, received a strong pitching performance from sophomore Ramiro Carreon. Carreon tossed seven and a third innings, allowing two runs on nine hits while striking out seven before being tagged with his first loss of the season. Senior Xavier Esquivel pitched an inning and two-thirds, allowing three hits and a walk. Hawthorne collected two of LMU's three hits on the day. Right-hander Francis Brooke was outstanding as the Northwestern starter, tossing eight scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out six. He faced just three batters over the minimum over his eight frames, dealing 107 pitches, en route to improving to 2-0 on the year.

A day after suffering its first shutout of the season, LMU shut out Oklahoma State on two hits by a count of 3-0 to earn the 2010 Dairy Queen Classic Championship. Left-hander John Lally pitched the first seven innings to earn the victory, while sophomore Alex Gillingham tossed the final two frames to secure the shutout. Lally used just 89 pitches over the first seven scoreless innings to improve to 1-0 on the season. He faced 25 total batters, four over the minimum, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out a career-high tying five batters. Gillingham tossed the final two scoreless frames, allowing two walks and striking out one hitter. Johnson led the offense with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, posting a run scored and a triple, his second of the tournament and third of the season. LMU benefited from a pair of two-out RBI singles in the victory, including one apiece from freshmen Joel Licon and Lowenstein. Fellow freshman Colton Plaia hit his first career home run in the sixth inning, belting a solo-shot into the stands in left centerfield.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS...
Redshirt-sophomore Martin Viramontes is slated to make his fourth start of the season on Friday. After a fairly rough start to the season, Viramontes settled down nicely in his last start. The right-hander surrendered a three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning in his last start, but finished the game with six innings pitched, allowing only the three runs on three hits, four walks and a hit-by-pitch, while striking out eight. Over his first two starts, Viramontes amassed a 0-2 record and an 8.71 ERA. In all this year, he has pitched 16.1 innings, allowing 16 runs (13 earned) on 19 hits and seven walks. He has struck out 18 batters, while opponents have batted .302 against him. In his second start of the season against UC Riverside on February 26, Viramontes pitched five innings, allowing eight runs (five earned) on nine hits en route to taking the loss. In his first start of the season on opening day, Viramontes was outstanding through the first five innings, allowing four hits and striking out six against then-No. 7 UC Irvine. The right-hander from Fresno, Calif. tossed five and a third innings total, allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out six. He ran into trouble in the sixth inning before surrendering all five of the runs in that frame. Overall, this will be Viramontes' 17th career start, accumulating a 3-8 record and a 6.52 ERA over the first 16. Viramontes suffered a season-ending injury early last year, resulting in a medical redshirt. Prior to the injury, he appeared in and started three games for the Lions. He posted a 7.11 ERA and did not factor in a decision, pitching only 6.1 innings and striking out four.

`CARREON' THE SUCCESS...
Sophomore Ramiro Carreon will take the ball on Saturday against Cal State Northridge, the fourth start of this season and the 14th start of his career. The native of Pasadena, Calif. carries a 1-1 record and a 2.84 ERA into the weekend. Over his three starts this year, he has pitched 19.0 innings, allowing eight runs (six earned), on 19 hits and four walks while striking out 12. Opponents are hitting .284 against him. Carreon has been outstanding in each of his last two starts, most recently against Northwestern on March 6, a game that the Lions were shut out and fell 3-0, leaving Carreon as the tough-luck loser. Carreon tossed a career-high tying seven and a third innings, allowing two runs on nine hits while striking out a career-best seven batters. In his second start of the year on February 28, Carreon pitched six innings, allowing one run on three hits and two walks while striking out two en route to his first victory of the season over UC Riverside. He tossed only 28 pitches through the first three innings, facing the minimum through those frames. Carreon tossed 5.2 innings in his first start this year on February 20 vs. then-No. 7 UC Irvine, allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits and two walks while striking out three batters before not factoring in the decision. Carreon made starts against a handful of ranked opponents last year, appearing in 17 games for the Lions as a freshman, starting 10. He finished the year with a 3-1 record and a 5.05 ERA in 76.2 innings on the hill, walking 18 and striking out 48. His innings mark ranked second on the team in that category. His best and longest outing of the season came on April 6 versus then-No. 6 Cal State Fullerton. He pitched seven and a third innings in that start against the Titans en route to a victory. He also recorded wins over then-No. 30 Fresno State and Santa Clara. Carreon lasted at least six innings in each of his final three starts of the season in 2009.

LUCK BE A LALLY TONIGHT...
Sophomore John Lally is slated to get the ball on Sunday in the final game of a three-game set against Cal State Northridge. For Lally, the start will be his third of the season and seventh of his career. The left-hander is coming off his best start of his career as he combined with Alex Gillingham to toss a two-hit shutout over Oklahoma State in the championship game of the 2010 Dairy Queen Classic on March 7. The Lions eventually won the game, 3-0. Lally used just 89 pitches over the first seven scoreless innings to improve to 1-0 on the season. He faced 25 total batters, four over the minimum, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out a career-high tying five batters. For his efforts, he was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament and WCC Pitcher of the Week. So far this year, Lally has appeared in three games, starting two, and has collected a 1-0 record and a 2.40 ERA. Lally has pitched 15.0 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 14 hits and two walks while striking out 11 batters. Prior to the stellar start against Oklahoma State, Lally last appeared on February 28 versus UC Riverside, tossing two innings, and allowing two runs on five hits. The native of Santa Margarita, Calif. was strong as LMU's starter on February 23 against USC in his first start of the season, lasting six innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits while striking out four before not factoring in the decision. Lally appeared in 17 games for the Lions, starting four, as a freshman in 2009. He posted a 1-3 record and a 7.03 ERA over 32 innings, walking 24 and striking out 29. He finished the season well, appearing in five WCC games, all in relief, posting a 1.50 ERA, placing tops on the team in WCC ERA. Lally pitched a season-best five innings against Fresno State on March 22 and punched-out a season-high five batters against Holy Cross on February 28. His lone victory last year came at UC Riverside on April 14. As a reliever, he posted a 3.12 ERA over the course of the season, tops on the team amongst players with at least four relief appearances.

ALEX THE GREAT...
Sophomore Alex Gillingham is expected to take the ball on Tuesday against Long Beach State, the third start of this season and the 16th start of his young career. He enters the start with a 0-1 record and a 3.00 ERA over 15 innings of work. Gillingham last started when he took the mound against UC Santa Barbara on March 2 and pitched well, but the LMU offense faltered as the Lions fell 4-1, leaving the right-hander with the loss. Gillingham tossed seven innings and allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out two in that game. The native of Thousand Oaks, Calif. last appeared on March 7, combining with John Lally to record a two-hit shutout over Oklahoma State. Gillingham pitched the final two innings of that game, allowing two walks and striking out one batter. After surrendering two runs in the second inning in his first start of the year against Oregon on February 22, Gillingham settled-in nicely to toss six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks while striking out five. After delivering 96 pitches to get through six innings, Gillingham gave way to freshman Matt Florer on the hill. Showing stellar control, Gillingham has walked only 13 while striking out 59 in his career to this point. The right-hander from Thousand Oaks, Calif., who was asked to make an immediate impact as a starter at the Division I level last year, turned in a solid freshman campaign in 2009. Gillingham recorded a 4-4 record and a 5.74 ERA over 14 appearances and 13 starts as a freshman. He tossed 73.2 innings, ranking third on the squad in that category. Showing extreme control of his pitches, he struck out 51 batters and walked only nine for an impressive 5.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His 51 strikeouts placed second on the team, while his 1.10 walks per nine innings placed ninth in the nation. Gillingham lasted at least five innings in 10 of his 13 starts, and at least six innings in seven. He also walked one batter or fewer in all but two of his appearances, including none on seven occasions.

THE HITTING `KOCH'...
After missing all of last year due to injury, sophomore Matt Koch is off to an impressive start in 2010. Koch is currently batting .326 (14-for-43) with eight runs scored, eight doubles, a home run, four walks, a stolen base and eight RBI. He has slugged .581 and reached base at a .367 clip. Over the three-game series against then No. 7 UC Irvine to start the year, Koch batted .667 (8-for-12) with three runs scored, five doubles, one walk, a home run and four RBI. He slugged 1.333 and reached base at a .643 clip. Koch was 2-for-4 with two doubles on Friday, 4-for-5 with his first career home run, a double, two runs scored and a RBI on Saturday, and finished 2-for-3 with a run scored, a sacrifice fly, three RBI, a walk and two doubles on Sunday against Irvine. He turned in another solid day at the plate on February 26 versus UC Riverside, batting 3-for-5 with two runs scored, two RBI and a double. Koch entered the week ranked first in the conference in doubles (8), tied for ninth in total bases (25), and tied for 10th in RBI (8). Koch currently leads the team in RBI (8), doubles (8), walks (4), and sacrifice flies (2). He finds himself in the top-three of 10 major offensive categories. Koch has posted four multiple-hit games and a team-high tying two multiple-RBI games.

SETTING THE TABLE...
Junior Jonathan Johnson has emerged as the team-leader offensively as a junior this year. The native of Lakewood, Calif. has hit .404 (19-for-47) with 10 runs scored, four doubles, three triples, a home run, two walks, two hit-by-pitches, and five RBI serving as LMU's leadoff hitter in each of the first 11 games of the season. He has slugged .681 and reached base at a .451 clip. After finishing 0-for-5 in the season opener on February 19, Johnson went 4-for-4 with a hit-by-pitch on February 20 and 3-for-3 over his first three at bats on February 21. His fourth at bat that day resulted in a strikeout, but Johnson reached first base on a missed third strike that got away from UC Irvine backstop Francis Larson. In all, Johnson recorded a hit in seven consecutive at bats, and reached base safely in nine straight plate appearances. He had another stellar day at the plate on February 26 versus UC Riverside, finishing 3-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored. Continuing his hot streak, Johnson batted 3-for-4 with a triple, two stolen bases and a run scored to help LMU to a victory in the championship game of the 2010 Dairy Queen Classic on March 7. Johnson entered the week ranked first in the conference in triples (3), second in hits (19), fourth in total bases (32), fifth in slugging percentage (.681), eighth in batting average (.404), tied for eighth in stolen bases (3), and tied for 10th in runs (10). He currently leads the team in batting average (.404), slugging percentage (.681), on-base percentage (.451), runs scored (10), hits (19), triples (3), total bases (32), and stolen bases (3). He is listed in the top-three of 12 major offensive categories. Johnson has posted four multiple-hit games and a team-high tying two multiple-RBI games.

LUCKY NUMBER 7...
Junior Jason Barmasse has been very impressive in his inaugural campaign in a Lion jersey after transferring into the program from Pierce College. Barmasse, who has started nine of the first 11 games of the season in right field, has found time in 10 so far this year. The native of Westlake, Calif. is batting .333 (12-for-36) with eight runs scored, four doubles, three walks, a hit-by-pitch, and two RBI. He has reached base at a .400 clip and slugged .444. Serving as a pinch-hitter and then taking over in right field against USC on February 23, Barmasse finished 2-for-2 with a run scored. Barmasse amassed two hits in five consecutive games from February 21-28, including a 2-for-4 day with a pair of doubles, two runs scored and a RBI against UC Riverside on February 26. He entered the week ranked tied for sixth in the WCC in doubles with four. He currently sits in the top-three of eight major offensive categories, including second in batting average (.333), runs scored (8), doubles (4), and walks (3). He has posted a team-high five multiple-hit games. He hit safely in each of the first seven games of the season, going 12-for-27 (.444) with eight runs scored, four doubles, two walks, a hit-by-pitch, and two RBI over the span.

GO GO, LOW LOW...
Freshman Matt Lowenstein has emerged as a strong player for the Lions in his first season in crimson and navy. The native of Chino Hills, Calif. is currently batting .269 (7-for-26) with four runs scored, two doubles, three walks, three hit-by-pitches and six RBI out of the middle of the Lion order. He is slugging .346 and reaching base at a .406 clip. His six RBI place second on the team headed into the weekend series with Cal State Northridge. Lowenstein's best game so far came on February 28 versus UC Riverside as he finished 2-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and a RBI.

SOPHOMORE SLUGGER...
Sophomore Alex Guthrie has emerged as a powerful option in the LMU lineup so far this year. The native of Sunnyvale, Calif. is batting .189 (7-for-37) with five runs scored, a team-high three home runs and three hit-by-pitches, and five RBI. He is slugging .432. Guthrie's three home runs entering this week ranked tied for fifth in the conference in that category. He has also posted a team-high tying two multiple-RBI games this season. His biggest home run this season came on March 5 at Minnesota in the first game of the 2010 Dairy Queen Classic when he broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the ninth with a solo-shot, his third homer of the year, to left centerfield.

I'M GOING STREAKING...
Junior Jonathan Johnson is the lone Lion hitter currently carrying a hitting streak of three games or better. Johnson is currently riding a 10-game hitting streak, and is now 19-for-42 (.452) with 10 runs scored, four doubles, three triples, a home run, two walks, three stolen bases and five RBI over the span, which includes every game except for the first of the season. He has also tripled in back-to-back games, and collected an extra-base hit in four straight, headed into the series against Cal State Northridge.

HIT THE GROUND RUNNING...
Including three games against UCI from February 19-21, and midweek contests against Oregon (February 22) and USC (February 23), LMU played five games in the first five days of the season. The schedule didn't seem to slow down at all from there, as LMU was scheduled to host UC Riverside on February 26, play a doubleheader at UCR on the 27th, and return home to conclude the four-game series against the Highlanders on February 28. That would have equated to nine games in the first 10 days of the season. Instead, LMU's doubleheader against UCR was rained out, handing LMU a much-needed break to start the year. Even with the rain-outs, toss in a game at home against UC Santa Barbara on March 2, and the Lions took the field eight times over the course of the first 12 days of the season.

AND THE SURVEY SAYS...
The LMU baseball team was picked to finish fifth overall in the West Coast Conference in 2010 according to the annual preseason coaches poll conducted by the league's eight head coaches. LMU earned 28 total points in the poll, just finishing below Gonzaga, the WCC's 2009 champion, with 29 points and one first-place vote. San Diego garnered six first-place votes and amassed 48 overall points. Pepperdine did not receive a first-place nod, but did claim 38 total points to finish second in the poll. San Francisco claimed third with 33 points, followed by Gonzaga, LMU and Santa Clara in sixth. The Broncos earned the final first-place vote, helping them to 20 total points. Saint Mary's was picked to finish seventh with 17 points, followed by Portland in eighth at 11 points.

IT'S JUST A NUMBER...
LMU perennially squares-off against quality teams not only on the weekends, but also in midweek contests, competing in the baseball-rich landscape of Southern California. 2009 was no different...and it proved to be a major contributor to LMU's success last season. Unfortunately for the Lions, 2010 has not started with the same success. This season, LMU is 0-3 against ranked opponents, dropping each of the first three games of the season to then-No. 7 UC Irvine. Last year, LMU finished 9-2 against ranked opponents. The only two losses came at the hands of UC Irvine (March 31 and April 13). LMU took down then-No. 5 UC Irvine on March 3, swept then-No. 24 Fresno State in a four-game series from March 20-24, beat then-No. 6 Cal State Fullerton on April 7, and finally swept USD in conference play from May 1-3. In games against ranked opponents last season, LMU batted .332 (126-for-379) with 82 runs scored, 28 doubles, five triples, five home runs and 72 RBI. The team slugged .474 and reached base at a .407 clip. This year the Lions have once again been pretty impressive at the plate against ranked opponents, batting .319 (36-for-113) with seven doubles, four home runs and 13 RBI. The Lions have slugged .487 and reached base at a .366 clip. The pitching staff has accumulated a 10.80 ERA (30 er/25.0 ip), walked 10 batters and hit four more over those three games against ranked foes. Opposing hitters have batted .351 and reached base at a .424 clip.

ALL-CONFERENCE RETURNERS...
Junior Jonathan Johnson highlights a trio of returners who garnered All-Conference recognition last year. A native of Lakewood, Calif., Johnson is slated to be the Lion leadoff hitter after hitting at the top of the lineup last year. The second baseman garnered All-West Coast Conference first team honors after a stellar sophomore campaign in which he started all 59 games for the Lions. The left-handed hitter batted .305 with seven triples, 10 doubles, a home run, 41 runs scored, 25 walks, a team-best six stolen bases, 11 hit-by-pitches and 24 RBI. His seven triples ranked second in the WCC and 10th in the nation last year. Johnson posted 17 multiple-hit games and six-multiple-RBI games over the course of the season. In conference games alone, he batted .375 with 16 runs scored, five doubles, three triples, a home run and 12 RBI. Shortstop Shon Roe was named honorable mention All-West Coast Conference as a freshman, and garnered a spot on the WCC All-Freshman team after a breakout first season. He started 57 of LMU's 59 games at shortstop, playing in 58 total contests. The native of Palmdale, Calif. amassed 17 multiple-hit games, placing fourth on the team in that category. Roe batted .259 with 28 runs scored, 10 doubles, five home runs and 41 RBI. The 6'2 infielder really hit his stride in conference play, batting .308 with 14 runs scored, seven doubles, four home runs and 23 RBI in WCC games alone. Rounding out the trio, Ryan Hawthorne was named honorable mention All-West Coast Conference as a freshman last year, also garnering a spot on the WCC All-Freshman team after a breakout first season. He started 57 of LMU's 59 games in left field, playing in 58 total contests. Over the course of the season, he batted .307 with 39 runs scored, 12 doubles, a home run and 29 RBI. His 70 hits placed third on the team last year, and first amongst players returning for the 2010 season. Increasing his productivity during WCC play, he hit .348 with 13 runs scored, four doubles and nine RBI in conference games alone.

GET OFF ON THE RIGHT `PAW'...
Since 2001, LMU has been victorious in six of its 10 games on Opening Day, falling to No. 7 UC Irvine on the road this season by a count of 5-1. LMU earned an 8-7 "walk-off" victory in 11 innings over Utah last season. The Lions defeated Cal State Northridge, 7-3, in 2001's opener at Page Stadium before defeating UC Santa Barbara on the road to start the 2002 campaign. LMU failed to make it three-straight in 2003, dropping a one-run decision to Cal to open the year. LMU was back to its winning ways in 2004, knocking-off UC Riverside, 5-4, and getting revenge against Cal with a one-run victory in 2005. Starting the 2006 season on the road in Arizona, LMU dropped the first game of the year, 10-5, before rebounding in 2007 with a 9-5 victory over Sac State. Sac State got the best of the Lions in 2008, defeating LMU by a count of 11-7 to open that season in Sacramento.

PCH CHALLENGE...
Separated by 19.1 miles of scenic coastline, longtime cross-town adversaries Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine have come together in an effort to boost their decades-long rivalry with the creation of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) Challenge. The series will serve 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. LMU and Pepperdine will be represented by over 12 of their intercollegiate athletic teams through both regular and post-season competitions over the course of the academic calendar. Teams scheduled to compete head-to-head during the regular season include baseball, men's and women's basketball, women's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis (if scheduled), women's volleyball, and men's and women's track. 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. The remaining programs (men's and women's cross country, women's swimming and diving, men's golf) - in addition to women's tennis (if the teams do not meet head-to-head at any point) will battle for points that will be awarded on the basis of overall finish at their respective post-season championships. The next scheduled meeting between the two schools is slated for April 1 when the men's tennis teams meet in Malibu, Calif. The Waves currently lead the Lions in the standings, 8.5-7.5. To learn more about the PCH Challenge and view the current scorecard, please visit http://www.lmulions.com/trads/PCH-Cup.html.

ANOTHER TOUGH SCHEDULE...
According to boydsworld.com, the Lions currently rank 74th in Strength of Schedule (SOS), which takes into account the results and success of LMU's opponents this season, 153rd in Iterative Strength Rating (ISR), which is essentially a measure of the quality of a team's season by combining its winning percentage with the difficulty of its schedule, and 219th in Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), the official measure of team quality used by the tournament selection committee. LMU, which perennially has one of the toughest schedules in the nation, opened the 2010 season with the 49th toughest according to Boyd's World. The Lions' non-conference schedule earned a ranking of 23rd overall. The schedule features 16 games against 2009 NCAA Regional teams, including a home-and-home two-game series against 2009 College World Series qualifier Cal State Fullerton. In addition, six of LMU's opponents this year were ranked in one of the major collegiate baseball preseason polls. Cal State Fullerton was ranked as high as No. 3 (USA Today/ESPN), while UC Irvine topped-out at No. 5 in the Rivals.com poll. WCC-foe San Diego also appeared in every major preseason poll, receiving a ranking of 19th according to Baseball America. Minnesota, Fresno State and Pepperdine were all listed in at least one of the polls. The 56-game slate will see 29 of the contests played within the walls of Page Stadium, and the other 27 on the road, including three games at the Metrodome from March 5 to 7 as part of the 2010 Dairy Queen Classic hosted by Minnesota. Last season, the Lions finished the year 36th in terms of strength of schedule according to Boydsworld.com.

LOCALLY GROWN...
Thirty-two of LMU's 35 baseball players on the 2010 roster hail from California. Of those 32 players from California, 23 are from cities within 100 miles of the LMU campus. The three out-of-state players are sophomore infielder Case Miyahira from Honolulu, Hawai'i; senior right-hander Jordan McClintick from Ardmore, Okla.; and freshman catcher Steve Dueñas from Kirkland, Wash.

NORTHRIDGE NOTES...
Cal State Northridge enters the weekend toting a 6-5 overall record having won two straight after dropping three in a row. Most recently, the Matadors defeated No. 11 East Carolina at home on Wednesday by a count of 5-3. Prior to the victory, CSUN won the final game of a four-game series against Connecticut. C.J. Belanger leads the offense with a .395 batting average, seven runs scored, a pair of doubles and six RBI. Ryan Pineda has also been stellar for the Matadors, batting .370 with a team-high 15 runs scored, three doubles, a triple and a team-best three home runs and 13 RBI. Pineda is tied for the team lead in stolen bases with a perfect 7-for-7 mark, while Ridge Carpenter is 7-for-9. Justen Gorski totes a 2-0 record and a 2.13 ERA in four relief appearances for the Matadors. Ryan Juarez has made a team-best three starts, earning a 0-1 record and a 4.35 ERA over 20.2 innings with a team-high 15 strikeouts. Jimmy Jolicoeur is the CSUN closer, posting a 1-0 record with a 0.00 ERA in 7.2 innings. He has amassed two saves in six appearances. Paul Tremlin owns a pair of victories at 2-1, having made one start and appeared in six games. Cal State Northridge leads the all-time series between the two teams, 34-33. The Lions and Matadors, led by head coach Steve Rousey in his eighth season, last met on March 24, 2009 at LMU as the Lions earned a 12-9 victory. The Lions are 4-1 over the last five meetings and 6-4 over the last 10 overall. CSUN's last victory came on March 22, 2008 at home as it defeated the Lions by a count of 10-3.

LONG BEACH SHORT HOPS...
Long Beach State enters a weekend series with Wichita Sate toting a 5-6 overall record. The Dirtbags have won two of their last three games, but have dropped four of their last six. Long Beach State most recently defeated San Diego State in a midweek contest on Tuesday of this week by a count of 4-3. Prior to the victory, LBSU dropped two of three games to Washington at home last weekend. Steve Tinoco is the leader offensively for Long Beach State, batting .400 with seven runs scored, a double, a triple and seven RBI. After going 0-for-4 in each of the first two games of the season, Tinoco has since gone 16-for-28, hitting .571 over that period, starting a team-best eight-game hitting streak and leading the team in hits and RBI. He remains the only player on the team to have multiple RBI in more than one game, and leads the squad with five multi-hit games, including a trio of games where the senior had three hits. Jonathan Jones has emerged as a speedy option for Long Beach State, stealing a team-best four bases in as many attempts and scoring a team-high eight runs. Andrew Gagnon has been outstanding on the hill for Long Beach State, posting a 2-1 mark in three starts with a 1.31 ERA. David Brown and Cris Trout are the top relievers for Long Beach State, appearing in seven and six games, respectively. Brown totes a 1-0 record and a 1.12 ERA with a save, while Trout owns a 0.00 ERA in four innings of work. Long Beach State leads the all-time series between the two teams, 56-35. The Lions are 1-4 over the last five games and 3-7 over the last 10 against the Dirtbags. The Lions and Long Beach State, led by head coach Mike Weathers in his ninth season, last met on March 17, 2009 as Long Beach State earned 12-6 victory at home. LMU's last win came on April 8, 2008 at home by a count of 7-3.

 

 

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