March 12, 2008
Complete Release in PDF Format
Thursday, March 13 (LMU Tournament)
LMU vs. Bucknell (3-8) 2:00 p.m.
Friday, March 14 (LMU Tournament)
Bucknell vs. Illinois-Chicago (5-14) 10:00 a.m.
Illinois-Chicago vs. UC Santa Barbara (12-11) 1:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. Bucknell 3:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 15 (LMU Tournament)
UC Santa Barbara vs. Illinois-Chicago 9:00 a.m.
Illinois-Chicago vs. Bucknell 11:00 a.m.
LMU vs. UC Santa Barbara 1:30 p.m.
LMU vs. Bucknell 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 16 (LMU Tournament)
LMU vs. Illinois-Chicago 10:00 a.m./12:00 p.m.
* All games can be followed on Gametracker at www.LMULions.com.
The early-season tournament schedule comes to an end this weekend as LMU hosts its second successive tournament and plays in its sixth of the year. This weekend's LMU Tournament brings Bucknell, Illinois-Chicago, and UC Santa Barbara to Smith Field for 10 games in four days. LMU gets things going with a single game against Bucknell on Thursday before sitting out Friday while the other three teams battle in a round-robin format. All four squads will be in action Saturday with four games slated: Illinois-Chicago vs. UC Santa Barbara, UIC vs. Bucknell, LMU vs. UCSB, and LMU vs. Bucknell. UCSB and Bucknell depart on Sunday, leaving the Lions to play a double header against Illinois-Chicago starting at 10 a.m. (moved up from original 11 a.m. start).
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.
The 2008 LMU softball media guide is available for download at www.LMULions.com. This is the only source of copies for the guide.
LMULions.com Gets Facelift
Be sure to visit www.LMULions.com for all the up-to-date information on the Lions. The site recently underwent an overhaul and visual upgrade. Log on for the latest news, stats, scores, photos, and player bios for your Lions.
Last Week Recap: Lions Go 3-1 at Home
Over the weekend, LMU hosted a mini-Round Robin tournament against North Dakota and UC Santa Barbara. The Lions won their first three games against UND by a combined score of 26-2, highlighted by on Saturday's second game by senior Tiffany Pagano's third career no-hitter and junior Megan Ackerman's two home runs and seven RBI. LMU couldn't complete its perfect weekend, however, falling to UC Santa Barbara 4-1 on Sunday in a rematch of last season's NCAA Tournament game.
About Bucknell (3-8)
Bucknell snapped a four-game losing streak on Sunday with a 10-5 victory at George Washington. This will be the third tournament the Bison have played in this season. They went 1-4 to start the season at the Longwood Lancer Leadoff Classic, then were 1-3 at the South Carolina Gamecock Invitational. Last season, the Bison went 15-33-1, 7-12 in the Patriot League to finish fifth. Bucknell and LMU have never played each other.
About Illinois-Chicago (5-14)
Illinois-Chicago is well-traveled already this season, having played tournaments in San Diego, Las Cruces, NM, Tucson, and Clearwater, FL. Last weekend at the USF Under Armour Invitational in Florida, the Flames went 2-3. UIC has faced two of LMU's opponents this season already, beating San Diego twice and losing to Colorado State. In 2007, the Flames were 20-33, 8-7 in the Horizon League, led by league Most Valuable Player Sarah Clynes.
About UC Santa Barbara (12-11)
UC Santa Barbara is making its second trip down to Smith Field in the last week, having played in the Round Robin Tournament last weekend, beating North Dakota 12-4 and LMU 4-1.
Last year, the Gauchos were 30-23, finishing sixth in the Big West at 7-11. UCSB and LMU met three times last season, splitting a doubleheader in Santa Barbara before matching up in the NCAA Regional at UCLA. The Lions won that contest 5-3 to claim their first-ever postseason victory. The Gauchos lead the all-time series 16-11.
In senior Tiffany Pagano and sophomore Melissa Dykema, the Lions have arguably the best pitching combination in all of Division I. Last season, the pair combined for all 47 LMU victories and were one of five sets of teammates nationwide to win 21-or-more games. This year, only two teams return a pair of 20-game winners.
Neither disappointed coming out of the gates in 2008. Dykema went 3-1 over the season's first weekend and Pagano was 1-0 with a 0.94 ERA. Both were virtually un-hittable as Dykema set a new single-game record with 16 strikeouts against Rhode Island and Pagano twice had a dozen strikeouts in the season's opening weekend.
In Riverside, Pagano tossed three complete games and twice struck out nine without issuing any walks (Northern Colorado and UC Riverside).
Together, the duo are 1-2 in the PCSC in wins, ERA, and opponent batting average. Both have also racked up the awards in the first month, with Dykema earning PCSC Pitcher of the Week honors for February 5-11 and Pagano following suit the next two weeks.
No-No for Pagano
With two career no-hitters under her belt, senior Tiffany Pagano recorded the hat trick by holding North Dakota hitless on March 8. Despite some first inning wildness that saw her walk two batters and hit two more, resulting in a 2-0 deficit, Pagano settled down to retire 14 of the last batters she faced. It was her first no-no since February 12, 2007 (Northern Colorado) and she also had one on March 23, 2005 against UC Santa Barbara.
Pagano's no-hitter helped earn her PCSC co-Pitcher of the Week honors for March 11 as she also tossed a two-hitter against Loyola-Chicago. It was Pagano's third PCSC Pitcher of the Week award this season and 13th of her career, extending her conference record. She also won back-to-back awards for February 18 and 25.
The PCSC Pitcher of the Year in two of her three seasons at LMU, Pagano has been making her case for a third honor this season. The senior is 8-4 with a 1.62 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 95.1 innings, all of which lead the conference. She is also the PCSC leader in opponent batting average, stifling foes at a .169 clip. She has four double-digit strikeout games on the season and 16 for her career.
Already LMU's career leader in shutouts (27) and strikeouts (664), Pagano is ascending the charts for saves (six, tied for second), wins (56), complete games (68), and innings pitched (632.0), in which she is third in all three categories.
Don't You Forget About Me
Not to be overlooked by the performances of Pagano has been the play of her running mate, sophomore Melissa Dykema. Dykema is 7-5 with a 2.22 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 66.1 innings.
During the season's opening weekend, she was 3-1 to earn PCSC Pitcher of the Week honors. Against Rhode Island, she set a new LMU single-game record with 16 strikeouts, one of two outings this year that she has had double-digit strikeouts.
In less than two seasons, Dykema is already in the LMU top-five in strikeouts (268, fourth) while she is one complete game and four wins away from those lists.
Slouber Sets the Table
You would want your leadoff hitter to get on base and, so far, junior Kirsten Slouber has obliged. The 2007 All-PCSC First Teamer hit safely in each of the season's first 12 games (the longest streak in the PCSC) and is leading the conference with 35 hits while tying for the league lead with six stolen bases (in seven attempts). She is second on the team with a .393 average and has delivered multiple hits in a game 13 times, tops on the team. She is also tied for the team lead with 14 runs scored.
Slouber picked up her second PCSC Player of the Week award in her career when she got the season off to a blazing start, batting .455 (10-22) and hitting safely in all five games, including four multiple-hit outings, at the Red Desert Classic.
Tysdal Tees Off
Junior Chelsie Tysdal has provided much of the fireworks this season, leading the Lions with five home runs and 22 RBI, both of which also lead the PCSC. Tysdal is also among the league leaders in batting average (.385 - sixth), hits (30 - second), slugging percentage (.667 - tied for third), and runs scored (14 - tied for eighth). Defensively, she has picked off four runners and thrown out four trying to steal.
Tysdal was on fire to gain her first Player of the Week recognition on February 26. The catcher batted .615 (8-for-13) and hit safely in all four of LMU's games to extend her hitting streak to a season-high eight games. She started with an explosive 5-for-7 outing that featured six RBI and three home runs in the Lions' double-header sweep of Northern Colorado. On the weekend, she went 1-for-3 against Colorado State and 2-for-3 with a double vs. Nevada. For the week, she hit .615 with three home runs, six RBI, and three runs scored. She slugged 1.385 and had an on-base percentage of .643.
The breakout player of the year so far for the Lions has to be sophomore J.J. Hartung. As a freshman, Hartung hit .200 in just 40 at-bats and was used primarily as a pinch-runner. This season, she is LMU's starting third baseman and is leading the team with a .406 average. She is tied for the team and conference lead with six stolen bases (in eight attempts) and is among the league leaders in batting average, hits (28), and on-base percentage (.431). She has eight multi-hit performances, tied for second on the squad.
Mia not M.I.A.
Junior MiaSarah Cesena has taken on a definite leadership role with the Lions, both vocally and with her play. A career .254 hitter, on the field she is off to a hot start, batting .383 with 14 RBI, both of which are among the PCSC leaders. She has shown her willingness to do whatever the team needs by laying down a team-high six sacrifice bunts. Her versatility shines through when you see her name among the PCSC leaders in batting average, hits, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, doubles, RBI, and stolen bases.
She had a big weekend at UTEP, driving in three of LMU's four runs against UC Riverside and two more against Binghamton.
A for Ackerman
Junior Megan Ackerman broke out of her early-season slump with career-highs of two home runs and seven RBI against North Dakota on March 8. After leading the team with nine homers in 2007, Ackerman was slowed in the first month by injury but is starting to show a return to form.
Foley, Foley, Foley, Foley!
Also beginning to come around at the plate is sophomore Christine Foley. The 2007 PCSC Player of the Year has the longest active hit streak on the team at 10 games, which has helped raise her average to .320. She has also driven in 12 runs, fourth on the squad.
Freshmen Come Through
Head Coach Gary Ferrin started three freshmen in the season opener and they responded with Priscilla Satete driving in the year's first run and Amy Charpentier providing the walk-off hit against Southern Utah.
Through the season's first 24 games, Charpentier leads the rookies with a .301 average and has drawn a team-high 10 walks while tying for the lead with 14 runs scored. Her gritty play was personified against Loyola of Chicago when the 5-1 Charpentier ran over the much bigger catcher to score the second of LMU's runs and start the rout.
Two other freshmen have seen considerable playing time. Brittany Mayers has started 12 games while Satete, who is riding a five-game hitting streak, has 17 starts and six RBI.
Added into the mix is classmate Alex Mead, who came off the bench against Northern Colorado to go 2-for-2 with a double and two RBI.
LMU Receives Votes in Preseason Poll
For the first time in program history, LMU opened its season receiving votes in the national poll. LMU received eight votes to finish 13th among "Others Receiving Votes", translating to a ranking of 38th in the preseason NFCA Top 25 poll, released January 24. The Lions claimed their third PCSC tile in five seasons in 2007 and advanced to the championship game of the NCAA Los Angeles Regional, hosted by UCLA.
ESPN.com Shows Some Lion Love
In his season preview on ESPN.com, columnist Graham Hays listed LMU as one of the top mid-major programs to keep an eye on in 2008. Hays wrote, "Coach Gary Ferrin's team lost a lot of offense with the graduations of Margo Pineda and Kylie Conroy, but Christine Foley (.416, 37 RBI) returns to anchor the batting order and Tiffany Pagano and Melissa Dykema return to the circle after 200-strikeout seasons. Pagano, in particular, has the potential to shine on the national stage as a senior if she cuts her walk rate. In the elimination game against the Bruins last season, Pagano showed what she can do when she's in control, striking out six and allowing just four hits and two walks in a complete-game win."