THIS WEEK: LMU will finish up the regular season this weekend with a must-sweep series against Saint Mary's ... Sunday's finale will be Senior Day ... live links to follow the action can be found at LMULions.com.
GAME NOTES: LMU Baseball Notes
LMU: Has dropped six of the last seven, 10 of the last 14, and 16 of the last 24 ... 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 ... needs to sweep Saint Mary's to earn a spot in the WCC Championship Tournament ... 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 ... 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 44-for-63 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) ... is 5-7 in one-run games this season and 3-2 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 ... is picked to finish fifth in the WCC Preseason Coaches’ Poll ... is also picked fifth according to D1Baseball.com.
LION TRACKS: Knotted at 3-3 headed to the seventh inning, Grand Canyon broke out with a six-run frame to eventually run away with an 11-5 victory over LMU in the final midweek game of the season on Tuesday night ... Grand Canyon got on the board with two runs in the first inning, and added one in the fourth to open up a 3-0 lead, but junior Niko Decolati got all three back on one swing, lacing a three-run home run out to right-centerfield in the bottom of the fifth ... for Decolati, the home run was his fifth of the year ... the Lions used three pitchers in the seventh inning, beginning with Josh Robins. Robins allowed three straight hits to open the frame, including an RBI-double from Tyler Wyatt, before eventually surrendering a three-run home run to Quin Cotton ... all nine GCU starters finished with at least one hit, while five posted multiple ... Robins was charged with the loss and fell to 2-2, while Nick Hull was credited with the win and moved to 1-1 after tossing a scoreless sixth inning.
-Niko Decolati: Has managed 13 multi-hit games ... batting .316 with six runs scored, a homer and four RBI over the last five games ... leads the team in home runs (5), runs scored (35) and slugging percentage (.440), is second triples (3), and third in doubles (9), hits (50), on-base percentage (.370) and steals (8).
-Nick Frasso: Has not allowed a run at home (2-0, 26.1 IP, 32 K, 11 H) ... has struck out 26 hitters over his last 12.1 innings, and has allowed just one run and 10 hits with 32 strikeouts over 15.2 innings out of the bullpen this year – a span of six appearances.
-Niko Pacheco: Has managed three doubles, two homers and 11 RBI in WCC play ... second on the team in batting average (.283).
-Jamey Smart: Named a candidate for Senior CLASS Award ... has hit safely in 36 of 49 games this year with 12 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 ... 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 (39), is second in hits (54), and third in batting average (.278) and doubles (9) ... batting .309 with six doubles, three homers and 24 RBI in WCC play ... returns after being named first team All-WCC in 2017.
-Nick Sogard: Has collected team-high 16 multi-hit games ... has hit safely in 33 of his 47 games played this year ... is hitting .368 (7x19) with three runs scored and three RBI over the last five games ... has scored six runs and driven in five while hitting .389 over the last 10 games ... 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 ... team leader in average (.337), on-base percentage (.458), hits (55) and walks (29), is second in stolen bases (10), and is third in runs scored (29) and RBI (21) ... hit safely in six straight from 3/16-3/25 (.500 (12x24), 6 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) ... batting .317 with 16 runs scored, three doubles and seven RBI in WCC play.
-Billy Wilson: Has been hit by a pitch 15 times this year, and a record 51 times in his LMU career ... has scored five runs to accompany a double, a homer and five RBI over the last five games ... has also stolen three bases in the last five games ... has launched a pair of homers to help record seven RBI in the last 10 games ... batted .455 (5x11) with four runs scored, two triples and six RBI in the sweep over Valpo ... fell a triple shy of the cycle on 5/8 at CSU Bakersfield (4x5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI) ... posted a pair of triples in the final game against Valpo on 3/11, and currently owns 15 in his career to tie Matt Lowenstein (2010-13) for fourth in LMU’s record book ... has hit safely in 33 of 49 games this year, including posting 13 multi-hit games ... leads the team in triples (4), is second in total bases (79), RBI (28), doubles (10) and runs scored (34), and is third in slugging percentage (.411) and home runs (4).
NOT AN AVERAGE YEAR: LMU is hitting just .248 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.
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.
MIDWEEK FREE PASSES: LMU has played 12 midweek games this year (3-9) and has walked 71 hitters in those contests (6.03 BB/9 IP) while also hitting 20 - helping to lead to a 6.88 ERA ... in the other 37 games played this year, LMU is 18-19 overall and has walked 125 (3.46 BB/9 IP) and hit 39 - helping to keep the ERA at 4.59 ... the Lions have walked a season-high 10 batters twice this year, issuing 10 and hitting two more in the 13-1 loss to UCLA on 4/3 before walking 10 and hitting three at Long Beach State on 4/17 ... the 10 walks are the most allowed since LMU walked 15 vs. UC Santa Barbara on March 30, 2004.
IT HURTS SO GOOD: Senior Billy Wilson drew his 14th hit by pitch of the year on May 11 at Santa Clara ... that was a meaningful bruise, as it was also his 50th career hit-by-pitch – breaking the LMU record set by Jim McAnany from 1984-87 ... Wilson has since added one more, running his total to 51.
SCOUTING THE GAELS: Saint Mary's enters the weekend series with LMU sporting a 31-20 overall record and a 14-10 mark in the WCC ... the Gaels most recenty defeated San Jose State in a midweek game after dropping two-of-three to Pepperdine last weekend ... Kevin Milam leads the team offensively, hitting .303 with 31 runs scored, 12 doubles, a triple, five homers and 28 RBI ... Milam is also the Friday starter, boasting a 6-3 record with a 3.15 ERA through 13 appearances and 12 starts ... Jackson Thoreson has belted eight homers to the tune of 38 RBI, guiding the squad to 26 round-trippers this year ... SMC as a team is hitting .274 ... after Milam, LHP Ken Waldichuk (8-3, 1.53 ERA) is scheduled to get the start on Saturday, followed by RHP Nick Frank (5-4, 3.83 ERA) in the finale ... the Gaels are led by fifth-year head coach Eric Valenzuela.
PASSED BALLS HELPING LMU: While LMU’s catching corps has allowed just six passed balls on the year, LMU has benefitted from 16 offensively ... no two have been bigger than the pair that have resulted in two of LMU’s five 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 ... the Lions have also walked-off on a wild pitch, doing so in the bottom of the 11th against USF on 4/15
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 ... removing position players who have pitched (5.0 total innings), 243 of LMU’s 426.1 innings have come from freshmen arms (57%). * - see "POSITION PLAYERS PITCH WELL" note that follows.
POSITION PLAYERS PITCH WELL: All four of LMU’s pitchers used on 4/18 vs. USC had seen time as offensive players this year, with Ryan Ruley, Rob Diaz and Harry Hibberd all making their first collegiate pitching appearance ... freshman Austin Carder, who is a legitimate two-way player with innigs of work prior to the game, got the start and took the loss after allowing five runs on six hits and a walk over 4.0 innings ... Ruley tossed 2.0 innings and gave up only a solo homer ... Diaz walked just one batter over 2.0 scoreless innings before Hibberd tossed a perfect ninth.
JOURNEY TO THE TOURNEY: For the sixth consecutive year, the West Coast Conference will hold a WCC Championship Tournament at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, Calif. from May 24-26 to decide who will claim the WCC’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament ... the top-four teams will compete in the tournament, with the #1 seed facing #4 and #2 facing #3 in first-round play ... the tournament is double elimination throughout, with the winner of the tournament earning the WCC’s automatic bid ... LMU has played for the WCC Championship in three of the last four years (losses to Pepperdine in 2014 and 2015; loss to BYU in 2017).
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.
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 12-9 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 572-429-4 (.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 ... the Mikos Blue Monster in left field stands 130-feet wide and 37-feet tall.
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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