May 4, 2008
Game One Box Score
Game Two Box Score
Moraga, CA - LMU finished the season on a winning note but it was Saint Mary's come-from-behind 8-7 victory in game one Sunday that decided the Pacific Coast Softball Conference title as the Lions were knocked from the top spot and were denied their second consecutive conference crown. The Lions (38-18, 13-7 PCSC) recovered to win game two, 8-6, but Sacramento State's sweep of San Diego meant the Hornets clinched their first-ever PCSC championship.
The Lions entered the day needing a sweep to be assured of their fourth PCSC title in six seasons but they could still claim the title with a split, so long as Sacramento State also split. Things were looking up for the Lions in the first game until one swing of the bat, Sadie Dolcini's three-run home run in the seventh inning, turned a 7-5 lead into an 8-7 loss.
Saint Mary's (27-26, 12-8), playing as the visiting team, scoring the game's first four runs and last four as they blew a 4-0 lead but overcame a 7-4 deficit late. The Gaels jumped on top with four runs in the top of the first, as Bronwyn Russell walked and Jenna Smith doubled two batters later. After a walk to Megan Galloway loaded the bases, Sandra Ruezga singled up the middle to bring home the day's first two runs. Kat Delpit followed with a two-run double.
LMU struck right back in the bottom of the inning as junior Kirsten Slouber's single and freshman Amy Charpentier's double put the first two runners in scoring position. Two batters later, junior Chelsie Tysdal brought them home with a double that cut the Gael lead in half. Tysdal would double again two innings later to make it 4-3 and then scored the tying run on an infield error.
The Lions kept the double parade alive in the fourth as junior MiaSarah Cesena and sophomore Darcy Pagnini each had two-baggers to give the Lions the lead. They added two more runs in the fifth thanks to freshman Jennifer Nayudu's double that put runners on second and third. Another SMC error and Slouber's single accounted for the Lion runs.
Despite the 7-4 lead, LMU could not hold its advantage as senior Tiffany Pagano
got wild. She walked Russell with one out in the sixth and the runner moved to third on an error, coming home on Smith's groundout. The real damage would take place in the seventh, however, as Pagano walked the first two batters, bringing up Dolcini. Pagano's first pitch was one Dolcini liked and she sent it over the left-center field fence to give the Gaels the lead. LMU got the tying run to second in the seventh but Pagnini flew out to left to end the game.
The Lions more than doubled up the Gaels on hits, 13-6, and committed just one error to SMC's four but it was not enough. Tysdal was 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI, giving her an LMU single-season record 50 runs batted in this season. Pagnini also had two doubles and an RBI while Slouber went 2-for-4 with one RBI.
Pagano (23-11) only allowed six hits but was undone by eight walks as she was tagged for eight runs (seven earned). Galloway (13-14) picked up the win with three innings of relief of starter Maryanne Cronin.
Despite the loss, LMU still had a shot at the conference championship should it win and Sacramento State lose. Saint Mary's grabbed the early 1-0 lead with a run in the second, only for the Lions to answer with a pair in the bottom of the frame on Cesena's two-run double. They would make it 3-1 in the third on sophomore Christine Foley's sacrifice fly before breaking the game open with three runs in the fourth. After Cesena reached on an infield single, Slouber tripled to right center, scoring on Pagnini's single. Junior Megan Ackerman increased the lead to 6-1 with an RBI single.
Saint Mary's was not done, coming back with three runs of its own in the fifth but again LMU surged ahead with two runs in the bottom half of the inning on Slouber's single. It would stay that way until the seventh when things got interesting. Trailing 8-4, the first two Gaels were retired quickly but four singles and a walk would result in two runs and bring up Dolcini with the bases loaded. She would be unable to victimize the Lions twice, as her deep fly ball to left was reeled in by Cesena, just shy of her second dramatic home run of the day.
Having taken care of their end of the deal, the Lions turned to scoreboard-watching, only to see that the Hornets had beaten the Toreros 9-1 in game two, denying LMU of its fourth title.
Sophomore Melissa Dykema (15-7) picked up the win despite allowing six runs (five earned) on 13 hits and four walks in 6 2/3 innings. Pagano had gotten the start but was pulled after recording just one out while loading the bases in the first inning.
Slouber fittingly capped her fine offensive season with another multi-hit game, going 3-for-4 with three RBI for her 28th multi-hit outing of the season and her fourth three-hit game. Ackerman turned in her team-high fifth three-hit game, going a perfect 3-for-3 with an RBI while Tysdal was 2-for-4. Sophomore J.J. Hartung and Cesena also had two hits for the Lions.