April 8, 2009
Complete Release in PDF Format
Friday, April 10 - 2:00 p.m. (DH)
LMU (17-22, 3-1 PCSC) at Santa Clara (5-31, 0-4 PCSC)
Saturday, April 11- 12:00 p.m. (DH)
LMU (17-22, 3-1 PCSC) at Santa Clara (5-31, 0-4 PCSC)
* NOTE: For the 2009 season, Santa Clara is playing all of its home games at West Valley College at 14000 Fruitvale Ave, Saratoga, CA
** Gametracker will be available for all four weekend games through the Santa Clara website: www.santaclarabroncos.com.
The second weekend of Pacific Coast Softball Conference play sees LMU take to the road for the first time, traveling north to Santa Clara for doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday. The Lions are heating up at the right time, having won six of their last eight games. After one week of conference play, LMU is a game back in the PCSC standings and looking to keep pace on the first of two conference road trips.
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.
Coming to a Game?
If you are planning to attend a game at LMU this season, then be sure to reserve your tickets today by ordering online at www.LMULions.com or calling the LMU Ticket Office at (310) 338-LION. The Loyola Marymount University campus is located in Westchester at 1 LMU Drive, approximately four miles north of the Los Angeles International Airport. Visitors must use the main entrance off of Lincoln Blvd. on LMU Drive.
Parking for Smith Field will be in General Parking Lot A, across from Gersten Pavilion. Smith Field is located on the south side of Gersten Pavilion, between Page Baseball Stadium and the Tennis Courts. Fans should access Smith Field through the Atrium between Gersten Pavilion and Burns Recreation Center. Gates open approximately one hour before first pitch.
Last Week Recap: Lions Take Three of Four from Saint Mary's
LMU got off to a successful start in its quest for the program's fourth PCSC title in the last seven years, winning the opening series of the 2009 conference campaign with three wins over visiting Saint Mary's. On Saturday, the Lions swept a doubleheader thanks to the long ball, hitting four home runs in the 6-2 and 1-0 victories. In game one, freshman Kelly Sarginson hit a two-run homer in the second inning to put LMU ahead 2-1. After the Gaels tied it up, freshman Sam Fischer led off the third with a solo home run to put the Lions ahead for good. Senior Megan Ackerman completed the scoring with a two-run shot in the fifth. In game two, senior Chelsie Tysdal's solo round-tripper in the fourth inning provided all the support for junior Melissa Dykema, who tossed a two-hit shutout. Tysdal and Sarginson also went deep in the first game on Sunday as LMU scored six times in the fifth inning for an 8-4 victory. The weekend would end on a sour note, however, as Saint Mary's spoiled LMU's bid for a four-game sweep by scoring five runs in the seventh to salvage an 8-5 win.
About the Santa Clara Broncos (5-31, 0-4 PCSC)
Santa Clara has lost 11 in a row heading into this weekend after getting swept in its conference-opening series last weekend at Portland State. The Broncos have dropped 17 of their last 18 overall. Their five wins this year have come against Cal State Bakersfield, Mount St. Mary's, Northern Illinois (twice) and Princeton.
Briana Knight leads SCU with a .291 batting average, 11 doubles, three home runs, and 18 RBI. As a team, the Broncos are hitting .212 but are a threat to run when they do get on base, stealing 25 bases in 22 attempts. The pitching staff is led by Jenna Fong, who has three of the team's wins.
The all-time series between LMU and Santa Clara is quite close, with the Lions leading 41-35. The record is 14-10 since PCSC play began in 2003. Last year, the Broncos came in to Smith Field with a 4-32 record on the season and shocked the defending conference champion Lions, taking three of four on the weekend. LMU is 9-3 in its last three trips to Santa Clara.
LMU in PCSC Openers
This was the fifth consecutive season that LMU opened conference play on its home turf. With the 3-1 series win over the Gaels, the Lions are now 17-11 in PCSC-opening weekends, including a 12-8 mark when those games are played at home. They have won or split the season-opening series in six of the seven years of the PCSC.
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...
Springtime is LMU's favorite time of the year because it's not just the Southern California temperatures that are heating up. Since joining the PCSC in 2003, LMU is 71-26 in the month of April (.732 winning percentage) and has yet to register a losing month. Additionally, the Lions have won at least 10 games in April in five of the last six years.
PCSC play is LMU's forte, as the Lions have won three of the seven conference titles offered since the league's inaugural season in 2003. LMU's three conference crowns are the most of any program and have come in odd-numbered years: 2003, 2005, and 2007. In the six year history of the league, the Lions are 87-36, a .707 winning percentage, and have finished as either champions or runners-up in five of the years.
Head Coach Gary Ferrin admitted that this year's schedule was one of the toughest ever for LMU and that wins would be hard to come by. So far, he has been right. At 14-20, LMU has its first non-conference losing season since 1998 and will enter PCSC play with the fewest wins of any LMU team in the seven-year history of the conference. In addition, LMU's six-game losing streak between March 13-15 was the longest for the program since dropping seven straight from March 8-18, 2002. In fact, until this season, LMU had not lost four consecutive games in the same season since being swept by Portland State on the final weekend of the 2006 season. That was also the last time that LMU had gone 0-fer in a weekend.
On the Offensive
Despite its losing record and a .268 team batting average, LMU is still at or near the top of the PCSC in several offensive categories. The Lions have the home runs (35) of any conference team and are second in hits, slugging percentage, and doubles.
Many of LMU's struggles this year can be attributed to the defensive side of the ball, where they have a .947 fielding percentage, which would be the team's lowest season total since 1998. The Lions have committed 64 errors in 38 games, an average of 1.68 per game, and have at least one error in 28 of the 38 games, including recording three or more errors in five straight games in Florida. To put the season total into perspective, LMU committed a mere 55 errors in all of last season and has not had more than 80 errors in a year since 2002. Since errors only hurt when they lead to runs, this would all be fine if LMU gets away with it. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Of the 168 runs that LMU has given up this year, 43 have been unearned.
The Key? Get a Lead
LMU is still a dangerous team and one that thrives on striking early. The Lions are 9-2 this season when scoring in the first inning and 12-7 when scoring the first run of the game. Holding on to that lead hasn't been much of a problem, either, as the Lions are 14-4 when leading after four innings, and 15-2 when leading after five or six. The flip side of that, however, shows that LMU struggles to come from behind late. Of the Lions' 17 wins this year, only two have come when the team trailed after four innings and none have come when the team is behind after six.
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, LMU made it eight straight, currently leading the PCSC with 35, with nine different players having gone deep at least once. The Lions are 13-7 in games in which they hit at least one round-tripper and 8`-1 when smacking two or more.
No ballpark in Utah could contain the Lions as they got off to a torrid start that saw them hit 10 round-trippers in five games at the Red Desert Classic. 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 (fourth), appearances (fifth), and games started (ninth).
Dykema entered this season as the conference's active leader in ERA, wins, appearances, complete games, shutouts, and strikeouts. So far in 2009, she leads the conference in innings pitched (127.2) and saves (two) while her eight wins are tied for fourth and her 53 strikeouts are fifth-most in the PCSC. The PCSC's active leader in victories, she is one shy of her 50th career win, which would make her the third conference pitcher to reach that milestone.
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, here she is, third on the team in home runs (six) and RBI (22) to go along with a .315 average, second-best among Lions. With two outs, she is hitting .364 (16-for-44) and has delivered 10 of her 20 RBI. She has also thrown out nine of 15 potential baserunners. Her 25 career home runs are fourth all-time at LMU and, against Drake, Tysdal became just the fifth player in LMU history to top 100 career RBI. She currently ranks fifth with 107.
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.
Sam of All Trades
Freshman Sam Fischer has shown that she can do it all. Fischer leads the Lions in batting average (.352), hits (43), doubles (8), triples (1), home runs (9), runs scored (27), and slugging percentage (.656), all categories in which she ranks among the PCSC top-10, including leading the league in home runs. She is indeed a five-tool player as she has displayed her ability to hit for average and power, steal bases (three in five attempts), and field (playing both third base and shortstop). But it's not just her bat that is impressive. Fischer has also made five appearances at pitcher, posting a team-low 2.00 ERA. Although she has yet to register a win, she picked up her first career save on March 8 against Seattle.
Fischer garnered her first career Pacific Coast Softball Conference Player of the Week honor on March 10, leading LMU with a .462 (6-for-13) batting average with two home runs and four RBI in four games at the Courtyard by Marriott L.A. Westside Tournament. Fisher recorded at least one hit in three of the four games and reached base safely in all four games, posting a .923 slugging pct. and a .500 on-base average. In her first career start as a pitcher against Utah Valley, Fischer helped herself at the plate going 3-for-4 with her first career two-homer game and four RBI despite suffering a 6-5 loss. The next day, she went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored in a 5-3 win over future-PCSC member Seattle. Fischer capped the week with a relief appearance in the circle, picking up a save in LMU's second win over Seattle.
Fischer had quite a doubleheader against North Dakota, finishing a single short of the cycle with a 4-for-5 day that included a double, triple, two home runs, three RBI, five runs scored, and a 2.600 slugging percentage.
She's Good, Man
Freshman Corie Goodman was a workhorse at the beginning of the season, appearing in 17 of LMU's first 20 games and leading the staff with nine wins and a 3.38 ERA. She also leads the team in strikeouts (66) and complete games (nine). Her 114.0 innings pitched are third in the PCSC, as are her wins and strikeouts.
Goodman 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. 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. Goodman tossed her first career shutout against North Dakota, allowing five hits.
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 third all-time at LMU with 26 after hitting seven so far in 2009. 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. This year, she is second on the team with 22 RBI and is hitting .307, which would be a career high. Even more so, her value to the team has been evidenced by her clutch hits and the team's performances in her absence. Three of her home runs have given the Lions the lead while her 10 RBI with two outs are tops on the team. Furthermore, LMU suffers when she is not in the lineup, as evidenced by the team's 0-6 weekend in Florida after Ackerman suffered an injury during warmups of the opener and sat out the entire weekend.
Ackerman's power numbers have put her among the all-time best to have donned the LMU uniform. In addition to being third on the career home run list, Ackerman is fifth with 35 career doubles and became the sixth player in LMU history to reach 100 career RBI after passing that milestone at Cal State Bakersfield. She is currently sixth in career RBI with 104. Having scored 97 runs in her career (ninth-most at LMU), she can become one of just three LMU players to register 150 hits, 100 RBI, and 100 runs scored, joining Danielle Kaminaka and Heather Hollis.
Freshman 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, leading the team with 23 RBI to go along with five doubles and five home runs. Perhaps most impressive is how clutch the freshman has been, as she is hitting .371 (13-for-35) with runners in scoring position. Nine of her RBI have come with two outs.
Senior Kirsten Slouber continues to have her eyes trained on the LMU record books as her 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 tied for second in runs scored, both categories in which she could reach the top spot. She is also tied for third in doubles, fourth in at bats, tied for fifth in stolen bases, ninth in slugging percentage, and 10th in both home runs and RBI. Slouber became the PCSC career leader in at bats against Saint Mary's, finishing the four-game series with 734 career at bats. The previous record was 732 set by Sacramento State's Lindy Winkler (2003-06).
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 tied for fifth on the squad with 27 hits, giving her 234 for her career and leaving her 18 shy of the all-time record.
Hart of the Matter
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 got off to another strong start, hitting .455 through the season's first five games to move from the ninth position in the batting order to the lead-off spot. She is currently fifth on the team in hitting at .278 while tying for the team lead with four stolen bases (in five attempts). Her 30 hits are third-most on the Lions.
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. A career .254 hitter entering last year, Cesena hit a personal-best .301 out of the nine hole in 2008 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 and leads the Lions with five sacrifice bunts to go along with a .293 average.
Cesena had a career day in the third game against Saint Mary's, posting her first-ever four-hit outing by going 4-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Add in the triple she hit in the next game and Cesena fell a homer short of the cycle on the day.
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. Pagnini played in 54 games last year at catcher, designated player, third base, and first base setting a new LMU single season record with 18 doubles while hitting .296 with six homers and 20 RBI. So far this year, she has again appeared at all four positions, hitting seven doubles and two home runs and driving in 12 runs. She entered the LMU career doubles top-10, where she currently is tied for 10th with 29.
Introducing Brittany Pereda
With one career at-bat to her name entering the Courtyard by Marriott L.A. Westside Tournament, freshman Brittany Pereda made her first career start against Utah Valley and proceeded to hit her first career homer in just her second at-bat. Having now started seven games, Pereda is hitting .263 and slugging .474.
Runners Know their Role
And that's to make it home. Together, freshmen Katrina Bodewig and Kylie Ahlo have just 11 plate appearances between them but they have combined to score 20 runs. Primarily used as pinch-runners for Pagnini and Tysdal, the freshmen speedsters give the Lions an added dimension on the basepaths.
Ferrin Closing in on 100
Having passed a major milestone last season with his 500th career victory, Head Coach Gary Ferrin has his sights set on another mark this year as he enters PCSC play with 87 wins in the conference. LMU has twice topped 16 wins in a conference campaign, making it feasible that he can reach the century mark this season.
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 2010 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.