Baseball

First-Place Lions Visit Saint Mary's

Freshman Shon Roe and the first-place Lions will visit Saint Mary's in WCC play this weekend. (Photo by Scott Cunningham)
Freshman Shon Roe and the first-place Lions will visit Saint Mary's in WCC play this weekend. (Photo by Scott Cunningham)

April 23, 2009

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -

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THE SCHEDULE
Games 44-46

LMU Lions (24-19, 8-4) at Saint Mary's Gaels (23-19, 5-7)
Friday, April 24, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. at Saint Mary’s’ Louis Guisto Field
Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. at Saint Mary’s’ Louis Guisto Field
Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. at Saint Mary’s’ Louis Guisto Field

BRIEFLY…
Having dropped three straight games, including a weekend series for the first time in five weeks last weekend, LMU (24-19, 8-4) will visit Saint Mary’s (23-19, 5-7) for a three-game West Coast Conference series over the weekend.   The Lions, who enter the weekend tied for first place in the WCC with San Diego, and Gaels will meet on Friday at 3:00 p.m.  The two teams will then play at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, followed by the series finale at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.

FOLLOWWW THE LIONS...
It’s easy to follow the Lions throughout the 2009 season!  Just log on to LMULions.com for all the latest Lion baseball coverage.  Tyler Geivett and a host of student radio broadcasters will bring fans the play-by-play for all LMU baseball games live online courtesy of the Lions Audio Network.  Fans can also follow the action online via Gametracker.  Just visit the Lion baseball page at www.LMULions.com, click on schedule, and click on the link located on the right side of the schedule for that particular game.

GAMEDAY AT PAGE STADIUM…
Fans, come cheer on the Lions this year at Page Stadium.  When traveling to the venue, please remember that the Loyola Marymount University campus is located in Westchester, Calif. 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.

TEAM LMU THIS WEEK…
Tuesday’s baseball game against USC 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.

REAL BASEBALL INTELLIGENCE…
Junior Angelo Songco is the 132nd-best Major League Baseball draft prospect according to Real Baseball Intelligence and www.withthefirstpick.net.  Songco, who is pictured on the cover of the publication’s 2009 draft guide, is one of two Lions on the 200-player list, as fellow junior Ryan Wheeler also appears.  Wheeler checks-in at number 172.  Songco had been rated the No. 4 prospect in the last poll before the update on April 21.  San Diego State’s Stephen Strasburg is first on the list, followed by Slade Heathcott (Texas HS) and Aaron Crow (Ft. Worth Cats).

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS OUT…
Senior Lee Roberts pitched another gem on Friday, April 17 to start a three-game WCC series against Pepperdine.  The right-hander pitched eight innings, allowing only one run and scattering four hits and one walk while striking out six batters to improve to 5-0 on the season.  He threw 96 pitches, including 68 for strikes.  The native of Hermosa Beach, Calif. put the first six hitters down in order en route to retiring 14 of the first 15 he faced.  He pitched to one batter over the minimum through the first six innings.  Working as LMU’s Friday starter for nearly the whole season, Roberts now owns a 2.81 ERA over eight starts and 64 innings of work this season.  He has allowed just 22 runs (20 earned) and 19 walks while striking out 57 hitters.  He has lasted at least six innings in seven of his eight starts, and has amassed five or more strikeouts in each of his starts this year.  The Lions have now won seven of the 10 games in which Roberts has pitched, including each of his last five starts.  Prior to the game against Pepperdine, Roberts pitched his second career complete game, this one a complete-game shutout, as LMU defeated Santa Clara, 2-0, to open WCC play on March 27 in Santa Clara, Calif.  The complete-game shutout was the first for LMU since Daniel Macias shutout Gonzaga over nine innings on April 30, 2006.  The effort marked the first complete game of the season and the first shutout of the year for LMU.  Roberts’ first career complete game came last year when he beat Cal State Northridge on March 18, 2008.  Roberts scattered six hits and walked none while striking out seven batters.  He faced 33 batters and threw 110 pitches over the nine innings, improving to 2-0 with the victory.  Roberts is second in the WCC in innings pitched, fifth in strikeouts, and third in ERA.  His strikeout total also placed him 75th in the NCAA entering this week.

IT’S JUST A NUMBER…
After a loss to No. 3 UC Irvine on April 13, LMU is now 6-2 against ranked opponents this season.  The only two losses have come at the hands of the Anteaters (March 31 and April 13).  LMU has taken down then-No.5 UC Irvine on March 3, swept then-No. 24 Fresno State in a four-game series from March 20-24, and beat then-No. 6 Cal State Fullerton on April 7.  In games against ranked opponents this season, LMU has batted .344 (98-for-285) with 64 runs scored, 23 doubles, four triples, two home runs and 55 RBI.  The team is slugging .474 and reaching base at a .410 clip.  

A TRIPLE THREAT…
Sophomore Jonathan Johnson has seemingly mastered what many baseball enthusiasts consider one of the toughest things to do in the game...collect a triple.  Johnson has picked-up a conference-best seven three-baggers on the year after failing to record one all of last season.  Johnson is batting .311 with the seven triples, seven doubles, 35 runs scored, 23 walks, five stolen bases and 15 RBI.  The seven triples this season already place him tied for fourth in the Single Season All-Time LMU Record Book.  He needs two more to match Dan Henry’s record of nine in 1975.  If he could reach that plateau, he would also enter the Top-10 in career triples.  So far, Johnson has collected triples against Utah (February 20), Fresno State (March 20), Santa Clara (March 29), Portland (April 3) Cal State Fullerton (April 7), San Francisco (April 9) and UC Irvine (April 13).  Five of his seven triples have come in the last 17 games, including three in the last 10 and four in his last 13 contests.  The Lions are 7-6 over those 13 games played.  Johnson posted his best day on April 9 versus San Francisco, finishing a perfect 5-for-5 before batting 4-for-4 against then-No. 3 UC Irvine on April 13.  He had a stellar stretch of 10 games from April 3 to 17, batting .500 (20-for-40) with 10 runs scored, four doubles, four triples, three walks, a stolen base, 32 total bases and five RBI over the span.  He slugged .800 and reached base at a .556 clip, helping guide LMU to a 7-3 record in those games.

LION TRACKS…
LMU dropped a 13-5 decision to USC on Tuesday at Page Stadium.  The Trojans belted a season-high four home runs, including two from freshman Ricky Oropesa, in the victory.  Juniors Ryan Wheeler and Angelo Songco paced the Lion offense with two hits apiece in the loss.  Songco finished 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, a run scored and three RBI.  Wheeler was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.  Senior Ollie Enos collected the other two Lion RBI.  The double was Songco's 53rd of his career, pushing him just one short of eighth in the All-Time LMU Record Books.  Ramiro Carreon got the start for LMU, lasting six innings and allowing five runs (four earned), on six hits and striking out three batters to take the loss.  LMU used a total of five relievers in the loss.  Jordan McClintick allowed one run in two-thirds of a frame, while John Lally surrendered two in a third of an inning.  Chris Eusebio contributed two-thirds of a frame, allowing four runs before Jeremy Burrell allowed one run and recorded one out.  Junior Xavier Esquivel retired the side in order in the ninth inning to finish the game on the hill for LMU.

Every Lion hitter in the starting lineup collected at least one hit, and senior Lee Roberts tossed another gem, as LMU defeated Pepperdine by a count of 9-1 on Friday in the first game of the three-game West Coast Conference series.  Roberts pitched eight innings, allowing only one run and scattering four hits and one walk while striking out six batters to improve to 5-0 on the season.  He threw 96 pitches, including 68 for strikes.  The native of Hermosa Beach, Calif. put the first six hitters down in order en route to retiring 14 of the first 15 he faced.  He pitched to one batter over the minimum through the first six innings.  Jason Wheeler was the only Lion reliever needed in the win, tossing a scoreless ninth inning to ensure the victory.  Freshmen Ryan Hawthorne and Evan Simonitsch paced the Lion offense with three hits on the day, as Hawthorne went 3-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI.  Simonitsch was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI.  Juniors Ryan Wheeler and Angelo Songco finished with two RBI, joining freshman Shon Roe with two as well.  The Lions, who came into the week ranked ninth in the NCAA in sacrifice bunts with 39, collected four in the victory on Friday.

LMU was shutout by Pepperdine on Saturday by a count of 2-0 in game two of the series.  The loss marked the second time this season that LMU had been shutout, with the first coming on March 6 at UC Santa Barbara.  With three hits on Saturday, LMU has now collected four total hits in games in which it has been shutout this year.  Freshman right-hander Cole Cook pitched eight scoreless innings for Pepperdine, keeping the Lion hitters out of sync and allowing just three hits and three walks while striking out seven batters.  He improved to 6-2 with the victory.  Nick Gaudi tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning, striking out two batters, to earn his seventh save of the year.  Junior Angelo Songco collected a double in the loss, while freshman Ryan Hawthorne and senior Kyle Spraker each contributed a single.  Senior Ernie Cho took the tough-luck loss after receiving no run support in the game.  Cho dealt six innings, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out one to fall to 2-4.  Freshman Ramiro Carreon pitched two scoreless frames in relief.

LMU allowed 10 runs in the fourth inning, committing three errors in the frame, en route to dropping an 11-3 decision to Pepperdine in the final game of the series.  With the loss, LMU dropped the weekend series to the Waves, marking the first weekend-series loss for the Lions over the last five weekends.  Despite the series loss, LMU still holds a share of first place in the WCC with San Diego.  LMU failed to score over the first seven innings of the game, running it scoreless streak to 19 consecutive innings against Pepperdine pitching in the loss.  That mark dated back to the seventh inning of the game on Friday.  Kyle Spraker and Ollie Enos collected two hits apiece in the loss, while LMU was held to just one hit over the first five innings.  Matt Bywater, who started for Pepperdine, pitched seven innings, allowing three hits and striking out four batters to earn the victory.  He improved to 4-1, and retired 16 consecutive hitters after allowing a one-out single in the first inning to Spraker.  Spraker finished the game 2-for-4 with a two-RBI single in the eighth.  Nate Simon led the offensive charge for the Waves, batting 3-for-5 with a double, a triple, a home run, two runs scored and five RBI.  He collected all five of his RBI in the 10-run fourth, including belting a grand slam in the frame.  The grand slam was the first allowed by Lion pitching since Jose Valerio homered with the bases full on April 27, 2008 for San Diego.  The five RBI were the most since Stephen Yarrow collected five at Page Stadium on April 11 of this season for San Francisco.  Freshman Alex Gillingham got the start for LMU, lasting three and a third innings and allowing eight runs (three earned) and striking out four batters.  Chris Eusebio was the first of three Lion relievers used on the day, pitching an inning and a third and surrendering two runs on three hits and a pair of walks before giving way to John Lally.  The lefty allowed one run in an inning and a third on the hill, preceding two scoreless frames from junior Jeremy Burrell.  Burrell was impressive as the final pitcher of the day for LMU, striking out three batters over the two innings of work.

SWEET-SWINGING SONGCO…
Junior Angelo Songco is off to another outstanding year in 2009.  The native of Granada Hills, Calif. is the team-leader in 11 offensive categories.  His .373 batting average, .715 slugging percentage, .500 on base percentage, 52 RBI, 59 hits, 53 runs scored, 12 home runs, nine hit-by-pitches, 32 walks, 113 total bases and five stolen bases all place him tops on the team, while his 14 doubles rank second overall.  His runs and walks totals, along with his on-base percentage, place him first in the West Coast Conference, while his batting average is fourth. For the rest of Songco’s and LMU’s rankings in the WCC and NCAA, please see the chart on page six of this weekly release.  Songco hit home runs in three consecutive games from April 4-7, marking the first time he had accomplished the feat in his career.  He became the first Lion to homer in three consecutive games since Ryan Wheeler hit a home run in each of the three games against Holy Cross this year.  The left-handed hitter homered twice in the loss to UC Riverside on March 10, including a solo-shot to left centerfield to knot the game at eight in the bottom of the ninth.  With the two home runs, Songco became the first player to hit two in a game since he himself hit two against Gonzaga in the final game of the 2008 campaign.  He is also the only Lion player this year to hit a grand slam, doing so twice (April 4 versus Portland and April 14 at UC Riverside).  Songco began the season with a 16-game hitting streak, which started on May 2, 2008 and continued into the beginning of the 2009 campaign.  Over the 16 games, he batted 28-for-62 (.452) with 21 runs scored, 27 RBI, eight doubles and nine home runs.  He then hit in 15 straight from March 17 to April 7, batting .370 (20-for-54) with 19 runs scored, four doubles, five home runs, 14 walks, two stolen bases and 18 RBI.  Songco has now hit safely in 23 of his last 24 games, and 29 of his last 31.  He has only been held hitless in back-to-back games once this season (March 6 and March 7 at UC Santa Barbara).  Tied for first on the team in multiple-hit games with 17, he has amassed four hits on two occasions (March 3 at UC Irvine and April 14 at UC Riverside).  With 12 home runs this season, he has now collected 31 in his career, claiming sole possession of seventh in the All-Time LMU Record Books.  He is also ninth on the All-Time doubles list with 53.

HOT-HITTING HAWTHORNE…
Freshman Ryan Hawthorne has emerged as one of the leaders of a very talented freshman class for first-year Head Coach Jason Gill this season.  The native of Granada Hills, Calif. is batting .337 (56-for-166) with 10 doubles, 15 walks, 32 runs scored and 24 RBI.  Earning starts nearly all year in left field, and now serving as the Lion leadoff hitter virtually every game, Hawthorne is reaching base at a .391 clip.  Hawthorne had the best game of his young career on April 4 versus Portland, finishing the game 5-for-6 out of the leadoff spot, picking-up a double, three runs scored and a RBI.  The season-best five hits were the most for a Lion since A.J. LaMonda collected five on March 9, 2008 versus San Diego.  Teammate Jonathan Johnson has since collected five hits in a game this season (April 9 versus San Francisco).  Including the five-hit performance, Hawthorne has collected 15 multiple-hit games, placing third on the team in that category, just two behind the leaders in Angelo Songco and Ryan Wheeler.  He had a 16-game hitting streak from March 27 to April 19, batting .366 (26-for-71) with 12 runs scored, four doubles, six walks, a stolen base and seven RBI over the span.  He collected multiple hits on five occasions over the span.

THE ‘WHEELS’ CONTINUE TO TURN…
Junior Ryan Wheeler, a 2009 Wallace Watch List player, is proving himself worthy of the preseason accolades in 2009.  The native of Torrance, Calif. is the team and conference-leader in doubles with 18, runs scored with 53, and stolen bases with five.  His .561 slugging percentage, .437 on-base percentage, 37 RBI, 57 hits, three triples, five home runs, 25 walks and 96 total bases all rank second on the team.  Wheeler had a career-best 16-game hitting streak snapped when he finished 0-for-5 against UCLA on April 1.  He batted .412 (28-for-68) with 17 runs scored, nine doubles, a home run, four walks, four stolen bases and 12 RBI over the span.  In addition, he collected multiple hits in nine of the 16 games.  Wheeler batted safely in 22 of 23 games from March 8 to April 11, hitting .420 (42-for-100) with 27 runs scored, 15 doubles, two triples, two home runs and 23 RBI over the span.  In addition to posting a perfect 5-for-5 mark in stolen bases, he slugged .670 and reached base at a .477 rate.  He has been held hitless just nine times this year, and has failed to collect a hit in back-to-back games only three times, going hitless in the first three games against UC Santa Barbara from March 6-7, and hitless on April 18 and 19 at Pepperdine.  In all, he has totaled a team-best tying 17 multiple-hit games, including 11 two-hit games and six three-hit performances.  Wheeler had an outstanding stretch of play in three games against Holy Cross, homering in all three games against the Crusaders from February 28-March 1.  Wheeler had an outstanding day on February 21 against Utah when he batted 3-for-3 with three runs scored, two RBI, a double and a triple to fall a home run shy of the cycle.  After batting 3-for-5 with three doubles and two RBI against Hawai’i on March 12 for his second three-hit game, he finished 3-for-4 with two doubles, three runs scored and two RBI against then-No. 24 Fresno State on March 22.

ON A ‘ROE’LL…
Freshman shortstop Shon Roe had six of the best games of his young career from March 28 to April 4.  The native of Palmdale, Calif. hit safely in five of the six contests, batting .423 (11-for-26) with three doubles, two home runs, four runs scored, 20 total bases and 16 RBI.  He slugged .769 and reached base at a .429 clip.  In addition, Roe collected multiple-RBI in five of the six games, including recording four RBI in back-to-back games against Santa Clara on March 29 and then-No. 8 UC Irvine on March 31.  He followed that mark with back-to-back three-RBI games against Portland to end the six-game run.  He hit his first career home run on March 29 against Santa Clara, helping LMU to a nine-run ninth inning to take the series sweep of the Broncos.  Roe is currently batting .256 (42-for-164) with 21 runs scored, nine doubles, three home runs and 31 RBI.  He has amassed 13 multiple-hit games, placing fourth on the team, while posting eight multiple-RBI games.  In WCC games alone, he is second in the WCC in RBI (18) and doubles (6).

MORE POWER TO BAUER…
Junior Brad Bauer has cemented his name near the top of the statistics in terms of batting average after earning starts at the designated hitter position.  Bauer, who has started 23 games now and appeared in 31, is batting .322 (29-for-90) with seven doubles, 17 runs scored, a triple, a home run, 15 walks and 19 RBI.  A transfer from Cuesta College, Bauer has hit safely in 20 of his 31 games played, including 17 of his 23 starts.  Bauer had his best week of the season against UC Irvine, UCLA and Portland from March 31 to April 4, earning West Coast Conference Player of the Week.  To read about his week, read the “BAUER NAMED WCC PLAYER OF WEEK” portion of this release.  When he is not starting, Bauer is 3-for-6 (.500) as a pinch-hitter, collecting three singles and a RBI to lead the team.

STELLAR SITUATIONAL STATISTICS…
LMU is batting .329 (247-for-751) with runners on base this season.  With runners on and two out, LMU is equally as impressive, batting .309 (106-for-343) with 17 doubles, eight triples, 10 home runs and 110 RBI.  Juniors Brad Bauer and Angelo Songco pace the team in that situation, with Bauer batting .421 (8-for-19), while Songco bats .413 (19-for-46) with a team-best 19 RBI.  Songco gets better with runners in scoring position and two out, increasing his totals to .433 (13-for-30) with 17 RBI, two doubles, a triple and four home runs.  LMU as a team is also reaching base at a .367 clip (140-for-381) to lead off innings this year.

HOMETOWN BOYS…
LMU is 15-7 in the friendly confines of Page Stadium this year.  In contrast, the Lions tote a 9-12 record in games played away from home.  Over the 22 games at home, LMU is batting .316 (248-for-785) with 56 doubles, 14 triples, 21 home runs, 196 runs scored and 172 RBI.  The Lions have reached base at a .411 clip in home games and are slugging .503.

LIONS ACCORDING TO BOYD’S WORLD...
According to Boyd’s World, the Lions currently rank 31st in Strength of Schedule (SOS), which takes into account the results and success of LMU’s opponents this season, 56th 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 81st in Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), the official measure of team quality used by the tournament selection committee.

THE RELIEF CORPS…
LMU relievers have now tossed 153.1 innings, allowing 98 runs (85 earned) and striking out 146 batters to the tune of a 4.99 ERA.  In addition, 12 of the Lions’ 24 wins belong to relief pitchers this season.  Chris Eusebio has been the most called-upon, and one of the most effective, options out of the bullpen so far this year, tossing 33.1 innings over 20 appearances and striking out 32 batters.  Opponents are hitting .262 against the right-hander, while he has accumulated a 4.32 ERA.

GAEL GOSSIP…
Saint Mary’s enters the weekend series with the Lions toting a 23-19 overall record and a 5-7 mark in the WCC, having won four of its last six games, but falling in its last two straight.  The Gaels took two-of-three from then-No. 24 San Diego in WCC play last weekend.  Prior to the weekend victory, Saint Mary’s had notched midweek victories over UC Davis and San Jose State.  Troy Channing leads the Saint Mary’s offense with a .396 batting average, 35 runs scored, 11 doubles and 15 home runs.  He is slugging .748 and reaching base at a .476 clip.  Kyle Jensen also provides pop in the order, belting 13 home runs, 11 doubles and three triples while collecting 35 RBI.  He is the team-leader in runs scored with 39.  Cory Miller leads the team in stolen bases, successful in 11 of 14 attempts this season.  Nathan Gonzales is the leader on the pitching staff, collecting a 3-1 record and a 3.38 ERA in eight appearances and seven starts.  He has tossed 45.1 innings and struck out 22 batters.  Scott Schneider has pitched the most innings for the Gaels, tossing 58 frames and striking out a team-high 54 batters.  Brandon Berl gets the bulk of the save opportunities, amassing six saves so far in 2009.  Saint Mary’s is coached by Jedd Soto, who is in his sixth year at the helm of the program.

GET HIT AND GET ‘EM OVER…OR DOUBLE OR TRIPLE…
LMU entered the week ranked 20th in the nation in hit-by-pitches with 61 (1.45/game) and fifth in the NCAA in sacrifice bunts with 44.  The hit-by-pitch numbers include six times in game two of a doubleheader against Holy Cross on February 28.  The Lions were hit a total of 11 times in the series against the Crusaders.  The six hit batsmen marked the second time this season that LMU had been hit six times (2/21 vs. Utah).  The overall mark also includes the opening series against the Utes in which LMU was hit by 12 pitches.  LMU was hit just six times over the course of the four-game series against UC Santa Barbara, but that number includes five hit batsmen in game three of the series alone (3/7).  With those five included, the Lions have been hit five or more times in a game on four occasions this year.  Before this season, LMU was last hit six times in a game versus New Mexico State on February 21, 2004.  Still at 61 hit-by-pitches, junior Angelo Songco leads all players in the category, being hit by a pitch on nine occasions.  Ryan Wheeler and Jonathan Johnson have been hit eight times, while Trevor Gee, Evan Simonitsch and Kyle Spraker have reached with a hit-by-pitch seven times.  Still toting 44 sacrifice bunts as a team, Simonitsch paces the way with nine, good for 16th in the nation.  Spraker has sacrificed himself seven times, placing 59th in the NCAA this week.  LMU also ranks 11th in the nation in doubles (95), led by Ryan Wheeler, who entered the week with 18, good for eighth in the NCAA.  Jonathan Johnson, who enters the week ranked third in the nation in triples with seven, had guided LMU to 16 as a team coming into the week, placing them 12th in the NCAA.  LMU has now collected 17 triples as a whole, and needs just three more to enter the Top-Five in the LMU All-Time Single Season Record Books.

WE’RE GOING STREAKING…
Junior Angelo Songco carries an eight-game hitting streak into the weekend series with Saint Mary’s, having hit safely in 23 of his last 24.  Stretching even further, Songco has hit in 29 of his last 31 contests.  He has only been hitless in back-to-back games once this season (March 6 and March 7 at UC Santa Barbara).  Over the eight-game streak, he is 14-for-32 (.438) with five doubles, two home runs, a triple, four walks, eight runs scored and 13 RBI.  Freshman Ryan Hawthorne had a 16-game hitting streak snapped against USC on Tuesday.  Hawthorne batted .366 (26-for-71) with 12 runs scored, four doubles, six walks, a stolen base and seven RBI over the span.  He collected multiple hits on five occasions over the span, including a team-best tying five against Portland on April 4.

BETTER WITH TIME…
Entering the weekend series at Saint Mary’s, LMU has outscored its opponents 43-30 in seventh innings this year.  In all, LMU has outscored opponents 113-88 in seventh innings or later this season, including a 25-13 mark in the ninth.  The Lions also hold the lead in the first (54-31), fourth (40-26), sixth (52-27) and eighth (42-37).  The second (27-19), third (35-25) and fifth (37-13) show a favor toward the opponents.  Extra-innings also favor opponents at 8-3.

HIGHS AND LOWS...
The Lions’ 8-2 start in 2009 was the best since LMU began the 1988 season with a 15-2 record.  That team, led by Head Coach Dave Snow, went on to start the year 17-3, before finishing the season at 48-18.  The 8-2 mark through the first 10 games was also the best start for a first-year Head Coach at LMU, as Jason Gill is in his first season at the helm of the program in 2009.  After that mark, LMU dropped each of its next 10 games.  Prior to the losing streak, LMU had won four straight, capped by a victory over then-No. 5 UC Irvine on March 3.  Over the 10-game losing streak, LMU dropped five games by one run.  The losing streak was the longest since LMU lost 10 straight from April 19 to May 4, 2003.  After losing the 10 games, LMU went on to win eight straight before falling to No. 8 UC Irvine on March 31.  The eight-game winning streak was the longest for the Lions since LMU won 10 straight from April 22 to May 12, 2000.  LMU then started the year 20-14, the fastest route to 20 wins since LMU started the 2003 season at 20-12.

LIONS RECEIVING VOTES …
For the first time this season, LMU received votes in a National Poll.  The National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s Association poll had the Lions in the “receiving votes” section of its April 13 poll.  The last time the Lions received votes was in Collegiate Baseball’s 2007 Preseason Poll.

LIONS NAMED TEAM OF THE WEEK…
LMU was named one of Eric Sorenson’s Teams of the Week for the week beginning on April 13.   Sorenson, who manages Collegebaseballtoday.com, selected LMU as the Team of the West, handing Honorable Mention accolades to New Mexico.

BAUER NAMED WCC PLAYER OF WEEK…
Junior Brad Bauer was named WCC Player of the Week, it was announced by the conference office on April 6.  Bauer batted .600 (9-for-15) with four runs scored, four doubles, a triple, five RBI, four walks and 15 total bases to lead LMU to a 3-2 week, including a series victory over Portland in WCC play over the weekend.  The Player of the Week selection was the first of his career for Bauer, and the second of the year for the Lions, as Angelo Songco was lauded on March 23.  Over the five games, Bauer slugged 1.000 and reached base at a .684 clip, recording multiple hits in three of his five games played, including three of his four starts.  He also collected at least one extra-base hit in three of his four starts.  Bauer started the week with a 3-for-4 day against then-No. 8 UC Irvine, collecting two runs scored, two doubles, a triple and two RBI.  He then batted 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI against UCLA.  Bauer collected three more hits to open the series against Portland, finishing 3-for-4 with a run scored, a RBI and a walk.  In Bauer’s last start, as the designated hitter on April 4, he went 1-for-2 with a double, two walks, a run scored and a RBI.

SONGCO NAMED CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK…
Junior Angelo Songco was named Co-WCC Player of the Week, it was announced by the conference office on March 23.  Songco batted .467 (7-for-15) with seven runs scored, a double, two home runs and seven RBI to lead LMU to a 4-1 record, including a series sweep of then-No. 24 Fresno State.  The Player of the Week selection was the first of his career for Songco, and the first of the year for the Lions.  He shared the accolade with Gonzaga’s Mark Castellitto.  Over the five games, Songco slugged .933 and reached base at a .667 clip, collecting 14 total bases and recording at least one hit in every game along the way.  In addition, the native of Granada Hills, Calif. walked seven times, stole one base, and hit home runs in consecutive games against Long Beach State and Fresno State to start the week.  In the series against Fresno State alone, he batted .500 (6-for-12) with five runs scored, five walks, a double, a home run and five RBI, slugging .833 and reaching base at a .684 clip.  The highlight of his series came on Saturday in game two of a doubleheader when he finished 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored and three RBI.

JOHNSON WALKS INTO RECORD BOOKS…
Sophomore Jonathan Johnson walked a total of four times in game two of a doubleheader against Holy Cross on February 28.  The four walks matched the LMU individual game record for that category, marking the seventh time a Lion has reached the plateau.  Johnson joins DeAndre Miller (2/2/07), Sean Smith (3/15/03), Josh Whitesell (3/24/02, 3/15/02), Robert Hirsh (3/10/01) and Greg Bergeron (5/7/94) on the list.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES…
Freshman Shon Roe began the year 0-for-18 before recording his first hit against Long Beach State on February 25.  The Lions returned to action on February 28 against Holy Cross, where things changed drastically for Roe.  The freshman led all players with three hits in game two, batting 3-for-5 with a double, a run scored and five RBI.  The five RBI were the most since Andy Preston collected six versus San Diego on March 9, 2008.  Roe batted 2-for-4 with a RBI and a double in the first game of the double-dip, finishing a combined 5-for-9 with two doubles, a run scored and six RBI on the day.  In addition, he also collected the game-winning hit in the Lions’ “walk-off” victory in game one against Holy Cross.  Roe entered the Saturday doubleheader batting .053 (1-for-19) and left batting .214 (6-for-28).

GET OFF ON THE RIGHT ‘PAW’…
Since 2001, LMU has been victorious in six of its nine games on Opening Day, earning an 8-7 “walk-off” victory in 11 innings over Utah this season, and falling last season to Sac State, 11-7, on February 22.  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.

A DYNAMIC DUO…
Juniors Angelo Songco and Ryan Wheeler were named to the Rivals.com Preseason All-Conference team, it was announced on February 13.  Rivals.com named one player from each infield position, three outfielders, a designated hitter, three starting pitchers and one reliever to the team.  Wheeler was selected at first base, while Songco earned one of the three outfield spots.  Last year, Songco garnered All-WCC First Team honors after starting 51 of LMU’s 55 games.  The native of Granada Hills, Calif. finished the season batting .356 with 36 runs scored, 17 doubles, 15 home runs, 48 RBI, 130 total bases and a .681 slugging percentage.  Wheeler garnered All-WCC First Team honors last year after batting .345 and starting every game for the Lions as a sophomore.  The native of Torrance, Calif. finished the season with 36 runs scored, a conference-best 20 doubles, one triple, six home runs, 45 RBI and 110 total bases.  In addition, he slugged .542 and reached base at a .405 pace.

AND THE SURVEY SAYS…
Loyola Marymount was picked to finish sixth in the West Coast Conference in 2009 according to the preseason coaches poll.  University of San Diego and Pepperdine were picked as favorites to win this year’s WCC regular season title, while Gonzaga received the last remaining first place vote.  The Toreros and Waves both received 45 points, with the Toreros receiving four first place votes to three for the Waves. Santa Clara was picked to finish third with 35 points.  Gonzaga received 30 points to come in at fourth place, edging out San Francisco, which received 26 points, for fifth place.  Rounding out this year’s poll are LMU, with 20 points, Saint Mary’s, with 14 points, and Portland, with nine points.

WALLACE WATCHES WHEELER…
Junior Ryan Wheeler was named to the 2009 Brooks Wallace Award Preseason Watch List, it was announced on December 5.  Wheeler, a 2008 First Team All-West Coast Conference selection, earned a spot the prestigious list that will eventually determine the Player of the Year.  Joining Wheeler from the WCC are USD’s AJ Griffin, Kyle Blair and Sammy Solis, while Santa Clara’s Thain Simon was also placed among those on the watch list.  Saint Mary’s junior Kyle Jensen was also named, while Portland’s Riley Henricks and San Francisco’s Matt Lujan round out the players tabbed from the WCC.  The Wallace Award is presented to the nation’s top collegiate baseball player in conjunction with the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s annual induction festivities.  The 2009 award banquet will be held Thursday, July 2, in the United Spirit Arena on the campus of Texas Tech University.


 

 

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