Feb. 24, 2009
Complete Release in PDF Format
Friday-Sunday, February 27-March 1
Eller Media Stadium Classic Las Vegas, NV
Friday, February 27
LMU vs. Wright State (3-5) - 4:00 p.m.
LMU vs. Drake (7-3) - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 28
LMU vs. Florida Atlantic (9-6) - 4:00 p.m.
LMU at UNLV (7-7) - 6:00 p.m.
* Gametracker available for both of Saturday's games. FAU game will be on www.FAUsports.com. UNLV game will be on
Sunday, March 1
LMU vs. Wright State - 10:00 a.m.
Tournament four of six on LMU's 2009 schedule sees the Lions traveling to Las Vegas this weekend for the Eller Media Stadium Tournament, hosted by UNLV. Once again, the Lions will play five games in three days, starting with back-to-back Friday affairs against Wright State and Drake. LMU then plays Saturday evening against Florida Atlantic and UNLV before returning to the field Sunday morning for round two against Wright State.
Follow The Lions Live On The Web!
All LMU home games will be available for fans on Gametracker through the LMU website at www.LMULions.com. Select road contests can also be followed on Gametracker. Notice will be given for these games.
Last Week Recap: Big Conferences Get Better of Lions
Last weekend at the Cathedral City Classic, LMU found itself face-to-face with representatives from the major softball conferences across the country. Of the five games LMU played, two were against the SEC with one each vs. the ACC and Big Ten. LMU opened the tournament by beating Mississippi 8-6 thanks to a six-run fifth inning. After dropping a 5-0 decision to #9 Tennessee, the Lions bounced back Friday morning with a 4-3 win over Tennessee Tech behind a three-run home run from senior Megan Ackerman, 10 strikeouts by freshman Corie Goodman, and junior Darcy Pagnini's walk-off single. That would be the last good news of the weekend, however, as LMU was dealt back-to-back shutouts by Georgia Tech (5-0) and #23 Ohio State (8-0).
Goodman Named PCSC Pitcher of the Week
LMU's 2-3 record at the Cathedral City Classic didn't stop one Lion from standing out among the crowd. Freshman Corie Goodman went 2-1 with a 1.53 ERA in four appearances at the tournament to take home her first career PCSC Pitcher of the Week award. Goodman made two starts and two relief appearances, striking out 19 in 19 innings. She opened the weekend by pitching 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief to earn the decision in the Lions' 8-6 win over Ole Miss. In a start against #9 Tennessee, she more than held her own, allowing two earned runs on six hits and one walk, while striking out four. That set up her phenomenal outing against Tennessee Tech, in which she recorded a PCSC season-high 10 strikeouts in the 4-3 win. She made her final appearance of the weekend in relief against Georgia Tech, fanning five in 2 2/3 innings of relief of two-hit ball. She is the second LMU player to be recognized by the conference this season, joining senior Chelsie Tysdal, who was the co-Player of the Week for February 2-8.
About Wright State (3-5)
In its most recent action, Wright State dropped a Valentine's Day doubleheader to SIU Edwardsville, 5-0 and 9-3. The Raiders have faced one common opponent with LMU this year, beating Tennessee Tech 5-3 on February 13.
Last year, Wright State went 33-26, placing third in the Horizon League with a 13-7 record. The Raiders got hot late, winning their conference tournament, earning a berth in the NCAA Regional in Ann Arbor, MI, where they went 0-2. LMU and Wright State have never faced each other.
About Drake (7-3)
Last weekend at the New Mexico Invitational, Drake went 3-2, starting with a win over Texas Tech and then splitting against the hosts and Wisconsin. The Bulldogs opened the year at the Metrodome Classic in Minnesota, going 4-1 with their only defeat coming to Northern Iowa in extra innings. Drake was 29-26 in 2008 and 13-10 in the Missouri Valley Conference, winning the conference tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament. They went 0-2 at in the Evanston, IL, regional. This will be the first meeting between LMU and Drake.
About Florida Atlantic (9-6)
Florida Atlantic went 3-2 last weekend at their own "Strike Out Cancer" Tournament. The Owls defeated Arkansas (twice) and Providence while losing to Missouri and Fordham. FAU earlier this season lost to Georgia Tech, who LMU played last week, and beat Massachusetts, who LMU will face on March 14.
Florida Atlantic finished second in the Sun Belt Conference last year with a 17-7 conference record, going 35-26 overall. FAU is another team LMU has never faced.
About UNLV (7-7)
UNLV also traveled to the Cathedral City Classic last weekend, going 2-3. The Rebels dropped their opener 9-1 to Nebraska, then beat Georgia Tech 4-3. After losses to Florida (5-1) and Long Island (8-2), UNLV ended the weekend with an 8-5 victory over Cal Poly. Counting Georgia Tech, the Rebels have already faced three common opponents with the Lions, beating UIC 7-5 and losing to UCLA 9-7. This is the final of three preseason tournaments hosted by UNLV.
The Rebels went 25-40-1 last year, finishing 5-15 in the Mountain West Conference, good enough for sixth place. UNLV leads the all-time series with LMU 4-3, including taking both games in the desert. The Lions swept a doubleheader last year, winning 8-0 and 9-4.
Utah Yards Can't Contain Lions
As a team, LMU has always displayed respectable power numbers, hitting 30 or more home runs in each of the last seven seasons. This year, they got off to a torrid start after the opening weekend in Utah saw them hit 10 round-trippers in five games. Take away the opening game shutout to BYU and all of the Lions' long-balls came in a 26-inning span. Additionally, the 10 home runs came from five different players. Senior Chelsie Tysdal led the way with three, senior MiaSarah Cesena and juniors Darcy Pagnini and Christine Foley each had two, and sophomore Amy Charpentier had one - that being her first career grand slam against Utah.
New Ace in Town
Without a doubt, LMU's success in 2009 will rely on its pitching. Three-time PCSC Pitcher of the Year Tiffany Pagano is gone but the Lions still have a formidable front-line starter in junior Melissa Dykema. She didn't disappoint in the opening weekend, going 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA in two appearances. The 2007 PCSC Co-Freshman of the Year, Dykema was 41-14 over her first two collegiate seasons and continues her climb up several LMU career top-10 lists. She is already among the leaders in strikeouts (third), complete games (fourth), shutouts (fourth), wins (fourth), innings pitched (sixth), appearances (eight), and games started (ninth). So far in 2009, she is 3-3 with a 4.93 ERA and 20 strikeouts.
The most consistent player over her first two seasons (.328 average both years) before breaking out with a .361 average last year, senior Kirsten Slouber is the engine that keeps the Lions going. LMU's leadoff hitter and centerfielder, Slouber has been named First Team All-PCSC each of the last two seasons and led the conference in hits last year with 76. Now a senior, Slouber regained her power stroke at the Red Desert Classic, hitting two homers to move into the LMU career top-10 with 14. She is currently hitting .275 and is tied for second on the squad with 14 hits.
Slouber's name appears on no fewer than eight LMU top-10 lists. Her .334 career batting average ranks fifth while she is second in hits and third in runs scored, both categories in which she could reach the top spot. She is also fourth in doubles, fifth in at bats, sixth in stolen bases, ninth in slugging percentage, and 10th in home runs. Barring anything unforeseen, she will also enter the top-10 in games played and RBI.
After setting a new LMU single-season record with 50 RBI and being named Second Team All-Pacific Region, it would be tough for senior Chelsie Tysdal to produce an encore. Yet, with consistent hitters setting the table in front of her and big boppers behind her, she did just that in Utah, hitting three home runs in the five games. All told, Tysdal went deep in four straight games between the final three in Utah and the home opener to give her team-highs of four round-trippers and 10 RBI this year. She is also second on the team with a .341 average while her 23 career home runs rank third all-time at LMU. Tysdal is also tied for fifth in RBI (98) and could challenge the career mark of 149.
On the heels of her 3-HR, 5-RBI weekend in Utah, Tysdal was named the Pacific Coast Softball Conference co-Player of the Week for the first week of the season. The award is the third of Tysdal's career after she was honored twice last year. Tysdal hit .333 (5-for-15) in LMU's five games over the weekend, hitting safely in the final four contests and homering in each of the last three.
New Position, Same Results?
The breakout player of last year was far and away J.J. Hartung. As a freshman, Hartung hit .200 in just 40 at-bats and was used primarily as a pinch-runner. Last year, she was LMU's starting third baseman and led the PCSC with a .405 average, the third-highest in school history. This year, she is off to another strong start, hitting .455 through the season's first five games and now sits at .324. Hartung also seems to have adjusted to her move to the outfield, successfully fielding all 15 of her chances.
Across the Way
One person who can give pointers to Hartung about making the move from the infield to the outfield is senior MiaSarah Cesena. The Lions' starting leftfielder each of the last two years, Cesena began her career as a shortstop before making the switch. She seems to have adjusted fine to the change, improving her offensive and defensive numbers every year. A career .254 hitter entering last year, Cesena hit a personal-best .301 out of the nine hole while adding a career-high 25 RBI. This year, she showed some unexpected pop in her bat in Utah, recording her first career two-homer game with a pair of solo shots in the win over Utah Valley. That's after hitting just two round-trippers in the last two seasons combined. She hit .400 at the Cathedral City Classic to raise her batting average on the year to .303.
One of the reasons for Tysdal's success has been the presence of senior Megan Ackerman behind her. Ackerman has hit nine home runs in each of the last two seasons and is tied for fifth all-time at LMU with 19. After driving in 39 runs as a sophomore, Ackerman got off to a slow start in 2008 before coming on strong and finishing with 28. She hit her first homer of 2009 vs. Tennessee Tech and is second on the team with eight RBI.
One of LMU's most versatile players, it is hard to predict where junior Darcy Pagnini will start the game but you can be assured that she will be in the lineup. After redshirting the 2006 season due to injury, Pagnini played in 54 games last year at catcher, designated player, third base, and first base. This year, she will continue to split time with Tysdal with one as the designated player while the other catches. Voted a team captain each of the last two years, Pagnini set a new LMU single season record with 18 doubles last year while hitting .296 with six homers and 20 RBI. In the season's first three weeks, she is hitting .289 with four doubles and two home runs. She has also thrown out five of 15 potential base-stealers.
Several newcomers stepped up last year but none more so than Amy Charpentier. The diminutive second baseman made an immediate impact by providing the walk-off hit in the 12th inning of the season opener against Southern Utah and went on to start every game. She led all rookies with a .317 average and was tops on the team with 23 walks and 35 runs scored. This year, she hit .357 in the opening weekend and provided the biggest hit of them all with a second-inning grand slam that gave the Lions the lead against Utah.
Sam of All Trades
Just 15 games into her freshman campaign, Sam Fischer has shown that she can do it all. Fischer leads the Lions in hitting at .347, hits with 17, and runs scored with 11. Fischer is indeed a five-tool player as she has displayed her ability to hit for average and power (three doubles, one home run), steal bases (a team-high two in four attempts), and field (.977 at third). But it wasn't just her bat that was impressive. With Dykema ailing and freshman Corie Goodman slated to start later in the day, Fischer took the mound against Utah Valley and produced a workman-like 2 2/3 innings of relief. Although she gave up two runs, both were unearned as she allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out a pair.
She's Good, Man
Freshman Corie Goodman has been a workhorse so far, appearing in 13 of LMU's 15 games and figuring in 10 decisions with a 5-4 record and one save. Her 3.56 ERA is a little inflated due to her being on the mound against BYU but she has made up for it by leading the PCSC in strikeouts (42), innings pitched (55.0), and complete games (5). She was outstanding at the Cathedral City Classic, going 2-1 with a 1.53 ERA to win her first career PCSC Pitcher of the Week award. In that tournament, she recorded a PCSC season-high 10 strikeouts in the victory over Tennessee Tech.
Kelly Sarginson can't say much for her first six games of collegiate softball, having made just two pinch-hit appearances and going 0-for-2. She made her first career start on February 14 against Seattle and popped up in her first at-bat. Since then, however, she has made sure that people know her name, hitting .348 with seven RBI in the last nine games. Sarginson finished 2-for-4 in that game against Seattle, knocking in the winning run with an eighth-inning single. She followed that with a 2-for-3 game against UIC in which she drove in three and then had another RBI in the second game against Seattle.
Runners Know their Role
And that's to make it home. Together, freshmen Katrina Bodewig and Kylie Ahlo have just two plate appearances between them but they have combined to score seven runs. Primarily used as pinch-runners for Pagnini and Tysdal, the freshmen speedsters give the Lions an added dimension on the basepaths.
Ferrin Reaches 500
Already the most successful coach in LMU softball history, Gary Ferrin notched another personal milestone last season as he recorded his 500th career victory. Now in his 15th season, Ferrin has led the Lions to winning campaigns 12 times, including 40+ wins three times and 30+ victories 11 times. They have won three PCSC titles under Ferrin and made two NCAA postseason appearances. A list of Ferrin's milestone victories:
#1 - February 19, 1994; 2-0 vs. Santa Clara
#100 - April 13, 1997; 1-0 vs. Santa Clara
#200 - April 8, 2000; 3-0 vs. San Diego
#300 - March 26, 2003; 8-2 at UC Riverside
#400 - March 8, 2006; 3-1 vs. Mercer
#500 - May 3, 2008; 5-3 at Saint Mary's
PCSC Coaches Pick LMU Second
The Pacific Coast Softball Conference coaches have tabbed LMU to finish second in 2009, according to the preseason coaches poll. The six PCSC coaches voted defending champions Sacramento State first, edging LMU by two points. Both LMU and Sacramento State received two first-place votes each. Portland State and Santa Clara each received the remaining first-place votes. Sacramento State garnered 31 total points, with LMU right behind on 29. Saint Mary's was picked third with 21 points, with Portland State fourth with 20. San Diego (14 points) and Santa Clara (11) round out the poll.
PCSC to Expand in 2010
A six-team conference since its inception in 2003, the Pacific Coast Softball Conference will double its members starting in the 2010 season as it expands to 12 teams and separates into two divisions. The original membership of LMU, Portland State, Sacramento State, Saint Mary's, San Diego, and Santa Clara will be joined next year by Cal State Bakersfield, Idaho State, Northern Colorado, Seattle, Utah Valley, and Weber State. The conference will be split into two six-team divisions, with the six California-based schools making up the Coastal Division and the remaining six teams comprising the Mountain Division. The expansion will form the largest conference in the nation, equaling the lineups of the Atlantic Sun, Big East, MEAC, and Mid-American Conferences, all of which contain 12 teams.
Odd Year Trend
LMU has won the Pacific Coast Softball Conference title three times since its inception in 2003. Oddly enough, each of those championships has come in an odd-numbered year - 2003, 2005, and 2007. LMU's only two NCAA postseason appearances have also come in the last two odd-numbered years. Now we find ourselves in 2009 and the final year of the PCSC with its current lineup. Will the trend continue? Only time will tell.