April 8, 2008
Complete Release in PDF Format
Wednesday, April 9
LMU at Cal State Fullerton (18-19-1) 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 12
LMU at San Diego (13-26, 0-4 PCSC) 12:00 p.m./2:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 13
LMU at San Diego (13-26, 0-4 PCSC) 12:00 p.m./2:00 p.m.
* All games can be followed on Gametracker at www.fullertontitans.com and www.usdtorerors.com.
It's 21-game home stand complete, LMU hits the road for the first time in over a month looking to right its ship. The Lions have lost six of their last ten after a season-high seven-game winning streak. This week, the Lions travel to Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday for the final non-conference game of the season. Then it's back to Pacific Coast Softball Conference action on the weekend with a visit to San Diego on Saturday and Sunday.
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: Broncos Stun Lions
The opening weekend of PCSC action was supposed to be one of celebration as the Lions received their 2007 conference championship rings and closed out a 21-game home stand. Nobody sent the memo to Santa Clara as the Broncos came in to Smith Field and took three of four from the Lions. Santa Clara won game one 5-3 but LMU bounced back with a 9-0 run-rule win in game two behind junior Megan Ackerman's 3-for-3 with three RBI performance and senior Tiffany Pagano's 11th consecutive PCSC victory and seventh straight home conference shutout. Both of those streaks would come to an end Sunday as the Broncos dealt the Lions losses of 6-3 and 6-2 to clinch the series.
About Cal State Fullerton (18-19-1)
Ranked 21st in the preseason national poll, Cal State Fullerton has lost five of its last seven and nine of its last 14. Last weekend, the Titans took two of three from UC Riverside to snap a four-game losing streak. CSUF has played 14 games this year against ranked opponents, going 3-10-1, including a 1-0 win at then-#1 UCLA.
LMU and Cal State Fullerton split their two games last year, with the Lions winning 2-0 and the Titans taking a 10-3 decision. CSUF leads the all-time series 11-2 and is 7-1 when playing at home.
About San Diego (13-26, 0-4 PCSC)
San Diego has lost four in a row and seven of its last eight after getting swept over the weekend at Portland State. LMU's history with the Toreros is the longest of any school as the teams have met 119 times since 1983. LMU took three of four at home last season to improve to 68-51 vs. USD.
The longest home stand in LMU softball history came to an end last weekend and was a successful one. The Lions went 14-7, including winning streaks of seven and four games despite losing four of their last five.
Pagano's Streaks Snapped
Entering this season, senior Tiffany Pagano had two conference streaks going: she had won 10 straight PCSC decisions and tossed six consecutive home shutouts, totalling 38 scoreless innings. Those streaks were extended with Saturday's 9-0 win over Santa Clara but were snapped on Sunday as the Broncos finally pushed across a run and handed Pagano her first PCSC loss since May 13, 2006.
First RPI Rankings Released
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association, in conjunction with mathematician Warren Nolan, released the 2008 season's first RPI rankings on Friday, March 28. LMU was ranked 138th in that initial poll, with a strength of schedule of 238 despite the country's 52nd best record.
LMU in the National Stats
Lions pepper the national statistical leaders with seven individuals ranking among the top-100. Senior Tiffany Pagano is featured in four categories: 22nd in victories, 27th in hits allowed per 7 innings (4.03), 29th in strikeouts per 7 innings (9.2), and 58th in ERA. Junior Chelsie Tysdal appears on three lists: 33rd in RBI per game (0.97), 50th in home runs per game (0.26), and 55th in slugging percentage. Additionally, sophomore J.J. Hartung is 21st in batting average, sophomore Darcy Pagnini is 55th in doubles per game (0.31), sophomore Melissa Dykema is 92nd in victories, and junior MiaSarah Cesena and freshman Amy Charpentier are tied for 99th in sacrifice hits per game (0.2).
As a team, the Lions are ninth in batting average (.321), 16th in doubles per game (1.63), 20th in fielding percentage (.974), 26th in slugging percentage (.469), 30th in both ERA (1.80) and winning percentage (.686), 63rd in home runs per game (0.69), and 91st in scoring (4.37)
First to 25
LMU's victory over Santa Clara gave the Lions 25 wins for the 14th consecutive season, all under Head Coach Gary Ferrin. This year's squad notched its 25th win in game number 37, one game behind last year's pace, when the Lions started 25-11.
Sunday's double header sweep was LMU's first at the hands of Santa Clara since 2004... LMU is 1-3 to open PCSC play for the first time in history... Senior Tiffany Pagano's 15 strikeouts on the weekend pushed her above 200 for the season for the third straight year... She is 23 K's away from tying her single-season record of 227, set last year...
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.
Pagano Making Her Pitch
The PCSC Pitcher of the Year in two of her three seasons at LMU, senior Tiffany Pagano has been making her case for a third honor this season. The senior is 15-7 with a 1.50 ERA and 204 strikeouts in 158.1 innings, all of which lead the conference. She is also the PCSC leader in opponent batting average, stifling foes at a .168 clip. She has nine double-digit strikeout games on the year and 21 for her career, including a career-best 14 against UNLV. She is 23 strikeouts shy of tying her school single-season record of 227 set last season.
Already LMU's career leader in shutouts (32) and strikeouts (750), Pagano became the school's leader in complete games (77) vs. Cal State Bakersfield, is second in games started (108), saves (six) and wins (64), and is third in appearances (126) and innings pitched (695.0).
With two career no-hitters under her belt, 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 15 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. She also won back-to-back awards for February 18 and 25 and was lauded again on March 18 after picking up four of LMU's five wins on the week. She has four Pitcher of the Week honors this season and 14 for her career, extending her PCSC record.
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 10-7 with a 2.39 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 102.1 innings, ranking second in the PCSC in ERA and third in wins, strikeouts, and opposing batting average.
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 (294, fourth) while she is also fourth with 40 complete games and tied for fifth in victories (36).
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 second-longest streak in the PCSC) and is leading the conference with 48 hits. She is third on the team among regulars with a .338 average and has delivered multiple hits in a game 17 times, tops on the team. She is third with 23 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 ten home runs and 39 RBI, both of which also lead the PCSC. Tysdal is among the league leaders in batting average (.390 - second), hits (48 - tied first), slugging percentage (.732 - first), runs scored (24 - tied sixth), on-base percentage (.423 - sixth) and doubles (ten - fourth). Defensively, she has picked off four runners and thrown out six trying to steal. She has already tied or topped her career-highs in eight offensive categories.
Tysdal has won two PCSC Player of the Week awards this season, on February 26 and March 25. The first time, she batted .615 (8-for-13) with three home runs and six RBI, hitting safely in all four of LMU's games to extend her hitting streak to a season-high eight games. Tysdal earned her second career honor after hitting .500 (5-10) with three home runs and seven RBI in four games for the Lions. She hit her first career grand slam to cap LMU's win over UNLV, then opened up the second game of that doubleheader with a two-run shot. In the finale against New Mexico, her solo homer in the fourth proved the difference.
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 PCSC with a .417 average out of the eighth hole. She is tops on the team with ten stolen bases (in 12 attempts) and is among the league leaders in batting average, hits (45 - third), and on-base percentage (.438 - fourth). She has 12 multi-hit performances, second on the squad, and is even slugging .537 thanks to eight doubles, a triple, and a home run.
Hartung hit .600 (3-for-5) in LMU's doubleheader split with Cal State Bakersfield to earn her first career PCSC Player of the Week award. She opened the weekend by going 2-for-3 with a double and run scored then doubled again in game two, en route to going 1-for-2 and reaching on a hit-by-pitch.
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, she is batting .312 with 16 RBI. She has shown her willingness to do whatever the team needs by laying down a team-high nine sacrifice bunts.
Cesena 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. She also broke out against UNLV, homering three times in the double header, including twice in game two. After leading the team with nine homers in 2007, Ackerman now has six on the season, second on the team and tied for fourth in the PCSC. She has also driven in 18 runs and is slugging .517 (10th in conference).
Foley, Foley, Foley, Foley!
Also beginning to come around at the plate is sophomore Christine Foley. The 2007 PCSC Player of the Year had the longest hit streak on the team at 15 games before it was snapped against UNLV. The streak helped raise her average to .302. She has also driven in 18 runs, tied for second on the squad.
Foley doesn't hit many home runs but she does hit them in clutch spots as her second homer of the year was a two-run walk-off shot to beat Illinois-Chicago on March 16. Foley hit safely in all five of LMU's games that week to extend her hitting streak to a PCSC-best 15 games and earn PCSC co-Player of the Week honors for March 18. For the week, she hit .375 with a double, home run, four RBI and three runs scored.
Two-Bags for Pags
Much of LMU's depth has been provided by the return of sophomore Darcy Pagnini. After redshirting last season due to injury, Pagnini is splitting time behind the plate with Tysdal, with both in the lineup everyday, either as catcher or designated player. That depth has allowed both to thrive, as Pagnini leads the team with 13 doubles while also adding five home runs and 16 RBI to go along with a .280 average. She is second on the team in walks (14) and fourth in runs scored (22), ensuring her a vital role as the number three hitter. She has also done well behind the plate, throwing out four baserunners and picking two off.
Pagnini had her first career two-homer game against UNLV, finishing 3-for-3 with three RBI and three runs scored.
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.
Charpentier has started every game at second base, leading the rookies with a .321 average and all Lions with 16 walks and 27 runs scored. She ranks among the top players in the PCSC in runs, hits, on-base percentage, and doubles.
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. She also hit her first career home-run in the second win over Bucknell.
LMU certainly teed off against good UNLV pitching on March 19, blasting seven home runs in the double header sweep, including five in game two. The seven total homers on the day was one short of the school record of eight hit on March 7, 2006 against the University of Pennsylvania while the five dingers in game two tied the single-game record set in the second game of that double header against UPenn. Even more remarkable was that the seven homers were hit by only three players, as junior Megan Ackerman crushed three while junior Chelsie Tysdal and sophomore Darcy Pagnini each had two. Ackerman and Pagnini each went deep twice in the second game, marking the first time that two Lions had homered multiple times in the same contest.
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.
Lions Preseason Favorites in PCSC
LMU was picked to repeat as Pacific Coast Softball Conference champions in the preseason coaches poll. The Lions received 34 total points and four of the six first-place votes. Sacramento State, the 2007 conference runners-up, received the second-most number of points, 27, including one first-place vote. Portland State was third with 23 points, followed by Saint Mary's (17 points) and San Diego (14 points). Santa Clara received the other first place vote and was picked sixth with 11 points. Voting was conducted by the head coaches of each conference school, with six points awarded for a first-place vote, five for a second, and so on.
Cook Out for the Year
LMU's offense suffered a blow during the fall season when senior Tracy Cook went down with an elbow injury. The infielder will miss all of the 2008 season and the Lions will miss her power (15 career home runs, 70 career RBI).
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."