Lions Open Season Against Nation's Toughest Teams

Brittany Bassett and the Lions will face the #1 and #3 teams in the nation this weekend.
Brittany Bassett and the Lions will face the #1 and #3 teams in the nation this weekend.

Feb. 24, 2005

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Palm Springs Classic Schedule

Fri., Feb. 25
LMU vs. #16 Texas A&M, 10:30am, Pawtucket Field
LMU vs. Notre Dame, 3:00pm, Yankee Field

Saturday, Feb. 26
LMU vs. Northwestern, 10:30am, Pawtucket Field
LMU vs. #3 Texas, 1:00pm, Finley Field

Sunday, Feb. 27
LMU vs. California, 1:00pm, Finley Field

Just Briefly
The Lions will attempt to play their opening game for the second weekend in a row. This time, they'll be facing five of the nation's top teams at the Palm Springs Classic. The Lions are scheduled to start with #16 Texas A&M on Friday at the Big League Field of Dreams Complex in Cathedral City, Calif.

About LMU
The Lions return 11 starters from last season, losing just two senior starters to graduation. The returners are highlighted by third basemen Danielle Kaminaka. The senior slugger led the nation in slugging percentage last season (.888), and ranked in the top-25 in the nation in seven different offensive categories (batting average, slugging percentage, runs, doubles, home runs, runs batted in and walks). Already the LMU career home run leader with 37 in three years, Kaminaka leads an experienced team into its first tournament of the year. The Lions have nine seniors on the squad, and several have been starters since they were freshman.

Looking Back
The Lions were rained out of their opening weekend of play. LMU was scheduled to play five games at the Commercial Capital Invitational, hosted by UC Santa Barbara, but rain forced the cancellation of all but two of the games in the six-team tournament.

A Look at the Opponents
Texas A&M: The Aggies are ranked #16 in the Softball poll, and #19 in the USA Today/NFCA poll. TAMU is 12-1 on the season, and is coming off of a 4-3 over Sam Houston State. Freshman Megan Gibson has had a strong start for the Aggies with a .472 batting average and seven home runs in the first 13 games. Her slugging percentage is an amazing 1.281. Jana James leads the team with a .476 batting average. Amanda Scarborough has a 0.40 ERA, with three shutouts and 37 strikeouts in 35.0 innings. The Aggies have had 15 NCAA Postseason appearances, and have won three national championships (1 AIAW, 2 NCAA). The Aggies have participated in the NCAA Tournament for the last three years.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish are 4-2 on the season, and are the only team that LMU faces this weekend that is not ranked or receiving votes in either of the polls. UND has also been plagued by the rain, as several scheduled games have been rained out. The Irish were able to play just one game at last weekend's tournament in San Diego, a 3-2 win over Utah. The Irish recorded a 4-2 win over #14 Florida at the Gators' tournament. Notre Dame is led by Megan Ciolli, who has a .400 batting average. Heather Booth has the team's lowest ERA, 0.86, with three complete games and 13 strikeouts in 21.0 innings of work. The Irish and Lions will face off again in a little over a week when LMU hosts Notre Dame in its home opener on March 6th.

Northwestern: The Wildcats are 7-3 and have won three straight games. Northwestern is receiving votes in both polls coming into the weekend. The Wildcats are coming off of their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance, and the seventh in the program's history. NU is led by Garland Cooper, who has a.440 batting average with two home runs and three doubles. Eileen Canney has a 0.99 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 35.1 innings.

Texas: The Longhorns are off to a 7-0 start with strong hitting and phenomenal pitching. They are ranked #3 in the poll, and #9 in the USA Today poll. Texas has allowed just two earned runs all season, and they were both allowed by 2004 Olympian Cat Osterman. The rest of the pitching staff has not allowed an earned run in a combined 25.0 innings of work. In fact, the Longhorns have allowed just 12 hits in their first seven games. Texas' offense is led by a pair of Williams- Desiree and Jacqueline are both hitting .444 on the season. The Longhorns have nine players hitting above .300. The Longhorns have made five NCAA Tournament appearances in their nine year history, and advanced to the Women's College World Series in just their second year. They made it back to Oklahoma City in 2003. This will be the first meeting between the Lions and the Longhorns.

California: The Bears are 7-0 on the season, and ranked #1 in the USA Today poll, and #2 in the poll. Cal is coming off of a pair of 6-0 wins over LMU's PCSC rival Santa Clara. Once again, Cal's pitching staff is off to a great start, as the Bears have allowed just one run in their first seven games for a team 0.20 ERA. The Bears have advanced to the Women's College World Series the last six years, winning the NCAA Championship in 2002. Cal advanced to the championship game last season, falling to UCLA3-1 in the finale. Vicky Galindo is hitting .500 for the Bears, while Haley Woods is batting .381 with two home runs. Kristina Thorson has yet to allow a run, and has allowed just four hits in 13.0 innings pitched.




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