THIS WEEK: LMU will return to West Coast Conference play this weekend, traveling to San Diego to open a three-game WCC series with the Toreros on Friday at 6:05 p.m. ... the two teams will then play at 5 p.m. on Saturday before Sunday's 1 p.m. finale ... live links to follow the action can be found at LMULions.com.
GAME NOTES: LMU Baseball Notes
LMU: Carries an RPI of 113 into Thursday of this week ... has lost three straight and four of the last five ... won seven straight games from 3/9 - 3/20 ... seven-game win streak was longest since winning eight straight from 3/24/17 - 4/4/17 ... started the season 3-10 for the first time since 2010 ... 2010 squad then won its next five straight and 10 of next 11 ... LMU went 9-2 over next 11 this year ... is outscoring opponents 27-9 in the first inning this year ... is 29-for-41 in stolen bases, and started the year 11-for-11 ... had a string of eight of nine games decided by two runs or less from 2/18 - 3/3 (2-6 in those eight) ... LMU is 3-5 in one-run games this season and 2-2 in extra-inning affairs ... 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: #20 UCLA scored four times in the first inning to set the tone in a 13-1 Bruin victory over LMU on Tuesday night ... UCLA sent all nine players to the plate in the first inning en route to taking a 4-0 lead ... the Bruins then added two in the fourth, one in the fifth, three in the sixth, two in the seventh, and one more in the eighth to win 13-1 ... the Lions scored one run on four hits, as Niko Pacheco punched an RBI-single through the left side to chase home Trevin Esquerra in the second inning ... both starters factored into the decision, as UCLA’s Kyle Mora earned the victory after tossing 5.2 innings and allowing one run on three hits and a walk with eight strikeouts ... LMU starter CJ Fernandezees took the loss after surrendering four runs on four hits and four walks over 1.1 innings ... five UCLA batters finished with multiple hits, including Daniel Amaral with three hits ... the leadoff man in the order went 3-for-5 with four runs scored, a walk and a double.
-NIKO DECOLATI: as managed seven multi-hit games ... second on the team in runs scored (19), triples (2), homers (2) and stolen bases (6), and is third in doubles (6).
-JAMEY SMART: Named a candidate for Senior CLASS Award ... has hit safely in 22 of 28 games this year with 10 multi-hit games ... had multiple hits in 7 games over 12-game hit streak from 3/9-3/29 ... batted .444 (24x54) with 3 R, 5 2B and 21 RBI over hit streak ... batting .300 (6x20) with three doubles and five RBI over the last five games and .341 (14x41) with five doubles and 12 RBI over the last 10 games ... batted .571 (8x14) with a run scored, a double and five RBI in the sweep over Valpo ... named Rawlings WCC Player of the Week on 3/26 after batting .312 with two doubles and seven crucial RBI in helping LMU to a 3-1 week the previous week ... leads the team in RBI (27), and is second in doubles (7) ... batting .390 with 13 RBI through nine WCC games ... returns after being named first team All-WCC in 2017.
-NICK SOGARD: Has posted multiple hits in 6 of his last 10 games and has collected team-best 11 multi-hit games overall ... has hit safely in 20 of his 26 games played this year ... batted .692 (9x13) with three runs scored, a homer and two RBI while stealing a pair of bases over four games against Long Beach State and Pepperdine from 3/20 - 3/25 ... hit .455 (5x11) with two runs scored, two doubles and four RBI in the sweep of Valpo ... batting .485 (16x33) with seven runs scored, a double, a homer and two RBI over the last 10 ... hit safely in six straight from 3/16-3/25 (.500 (12x24), 6 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) ... batting .394 through nine WCC games.
-BILLY WILSON: Has been hit 12 times this year, and 48 times in his LMU career - one behind record held by Jim McAnany - 49 from 1984-87 ... batted .455 (5x11) with four runs scored, two triples and six RBI in the sweep over Valpo ... posted a pair of triples in the final game against Valpo on 3/11, and currently owns 14 in his career to tie Ikaika Hoopii (1993-96) and Russ Noah (1971-73) for fifth in LMU’s record book ... has hit safely in 19 of 28 games this year, including posting seven multi-hit games ... leads the team in triples (3) and runs scored (20), and is second in RBI (17).
NOT AN AVERAGE YEAR: LMU is hitting just .250 as a team so far this year, and if the season were to end today, that would be the lowest mark since at least 1968 ... LMU hit .261 in 1974, which is the current low over the span ... the lowest average under Jason Gill came in 2012 when the Lions hit .263.
BRUIN BASE ON BALLS: LMU walked a season-high 10 batters and hit two more in the 13-1 loss to UCLA on 4/3 ... the 10 walks are the most allowed since LMU walked 15 vs. UC Santa Barbara on March 30, 2004.
BEER WHILE YOU CHEER: All Sunday West Coast Conference baseball games will feature free beer for all LMU students, faculty, staff and season ticket holders ... an extension of the successful basketball campaign, those 21 and older with a valid one card will be able to enjoy a beer while cheering on the Lions at the remaining Sunday home WCC games ... season ticket holders will have to show a valid ticket for admission into the serving area ... the location of the serving station will be down the right field line in the "picnic area" of the stadium ... beer will be served beginning 30 minutes prior to first pitch, and will be served up until the fifth inning.
A CLASS ACT: Senior Jamey Smart is one of 30 NCAA baseball student-athletes selected as candidates for the 2018 Senior CLASS Award® ... to be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition ... an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities ... the 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot ... ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four C's of community, classroom, character and competition ... the Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2018 College World Series® in June.
BREAKOUT WEEKEND?: LMU entered the three-game series with Valparaiso hitting just .205 as a team ... through those first 13 games, LMU was 3-10 and was being outscored, 70-43, while averaging 3.31 runs per game ... no everyday player was hitting above .300, as Nick Sogard led the way with a .293 average ... LMU exploded against Valpo pitching, hitting .371 over the course of the three games and outscoring the Crusaders, 32-12 ... LMU featured five players who hit above .400 in the series, including Jamey Smart who went 8-for-14 (.571) with five RBI and Billy Wilson who batted .455 (5-for-11) with two triples and six RBI ... LMU averaged 10.67 runs per game in the sweep of Valpo ... the Lions also collected 16 extra-base hits, including 10 doubles, five triples and a homer after posting just 21 extra-base hits in the first 13 contests combined ... thanks to the outpouring of offense, LMU raised it team average more than 30 points (.237) ... LMU went 9-2 over 11 games beginning with the Valpo series.
IT'S JUST A NUMBER: LMU is 34-46-1 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 0-2 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.
PASSED BALLS HELPING LMU: While LMU’s catching corps has allowed just three passed balls on the year, LMU has benefitted from 13 offensively ... no two have been bigger than the pair that have resulted in two of LMU’s three victories in their final at bat this year ... Nick Sogard scampered home in the top of the ninth at Hawai’i on March 1 as LMU broke a scoreless tie and eventually won 3-0 ... Alex Lambeau scored similarly in the top of the 12th at BYU on March 16, scoring the go-ahead run of a 9-8 victory over the Cougars.
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 29-for-41.
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 14 pitchers this year, but only two have been an upperclassman - junior Codie Paiva and redshirt-senior Tyler Cohen ... in addition to Paiva and Cohen, LMU has used seven true freshmen, a redshirt-freshman, three true sophomores, and a redshirt-sophomore ... 144 of LMU’s 249.1 innings have come from freshmen arms (58%).
THE SMART PICK FOR WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior Jamey Smart was named Rawlings WCC Player of the Week on March 26 after batting .312 with two doubles and seven crucial RBI in helping LMU to a 3-1 week the previous week ... the native of San Ramon, Calif. batted .364 with two doubles and six RBI in the series win over Pepperdine, and all six were critical to LMU's series win ... Smart came up with two out, the bases loaded and LMU trailing 3-2 in the seventh inning on Saturday, and delivered a bases-clearing three-RBI double to hand LMU the 5-3 win to even the series ... in the rubber game of the set on Sunday, Smart punched home the first two runs of the game in the first inning, and added an RBI-double in the seventh that proved to be the game-winner as LMU held off Pepperdine, 4-3, to earn the series win ... Smart, who also had the walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th during LMU's 5-4 win over Long Beach State on 3/20, hit safely in all four games that week, posting a .333 on-base percentage and a .438 slugging percentage.
PAIVA'S GEM EARNS PITCHER OF 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 7-5 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 567-425-4 (.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.
SCOUTING THE TOREROS: San Diego enters the weekend series with LMU sporting a 13-16 overall record and a 4-5 mark in the WCC ... USD is coming off a series loss to San Francisco last weekend, and dropped a 2-1 decision in 11 innings to UC Irvine in the midweek this week ... Jay Schuyler leads the offense with a .347 average, 14 runs scored, four doubles, a triple, four homers and 15 RBI ... USD is hitting .281 as a team and has belted 11 home runs ... on the basepaths, the Toreros have stolen 26 bags in 37 attempts ... RHP Paul Richan is scheduled to get the start on Friday carrying a 2-4 record and a 4.40 ERA through seven starts Richan has struck out 59 to just six walks in 47 innings of work ... LHP Chris Murphy (3-2, 4.10 ERA, 57 K) and LHP Nick Sprengel (1-1, 7.78 ERA) will follow to close the series ... the Toreros are led by 20th-year head coach Rich Hill.
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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