April 28, 2009
Complete Release in PDF Format
Saturday, May 2 - 12:00 p.m. (DH)
LMU (23-27, 9-7 PCSC) vs. Portland State (26-23, 12-4 PCSC)
Sunday, May 3 - 12:00 p.m. (DH)
LMU (23-27, 9-7 PCSC) vs. Portland State (26-23, 12-4 PCSC)
* Gametracker will be available for all four series games at www.LMULions.com. Portland State will be providing live audio through its website at www.goviks.com.
Smith Field will be the site of the dramatic finale to the 2009 regular season as LMU hosts Portland State with the Pacific Coast Softball Conference championship at stake. Four teams are still in the hunt for the title on the season's final weekend. Portland State leads the league and needs just one win to secure its second title in four seasons. LMU, on the other hand, sits three games back in the standings and has left itself with a lot of work to do, needing to sweep all four games from the Vikings to catapult into the top spot. Even then, the Lions will be scoreboard-watching as they need help from Saint Mary's and Santa Clara, who play Sacramento State and San Diego, the latter two of which are still mathematically in the mix.
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 Continue Late Season Swoon at Sacramento State
LMU's late-April slide continued last weekend when Sacramento State took three of four to drop the Lions further back in the PCSC race. LMU entered the weekend in second place, one game behind Portland State, but a Viking loss in Saturday's first game opened the door for the Lions, who barged into a tie atop the standings thanks to a 2-1 victory behind an RBI single by sophomore Amy Charpentier in the fifth and senior Chelsie Tysdal's go-ahead double in the sixth. LMU supported junior Melissa Dykema by turning three double plays. That would be the last of the joy for the Lions, however, as the Hornets shut them out 5-0 in game two Saturday, then swept Sunday's doubleheader 9-2 and 5-4.
About the Portland State Vikings (26-23, 12-4 PCSC)
Portland State enters the final weekend of play firmly in the driver's seat, needing just one win to clinch at least a share of its second PCSC title and two victories to claim the championship outright. The Vikings, who also won the conference in 2006, took three of four last weekends at Saint Mary's, but not without a fight. PSU dropped the first game 4-3 after the Gaels scored twice in the bottom of the seventh, then won game two 2-1 on a 10th-inning error. On Sunday, it was more extra innings in the opener as Jackie Heide tied the school's career home run record, then scored the game-winning run in the eighth in a 3-2 victory. The bats came out in game four as Portland State posted a 10-2 win.
Heide is hitting .361 with 11 home runs and 35 RBI to lead the Vikings in all three categories. Jana Rae Slayton (.329, 6 HR, 28 RBI) provides support as PSU is hitting .283 as a team, including .328 in conference play. Nicole Latham is 14-11 with 137 strikeouts to lead the pitchers while Tori Rogers is 10-5 overall, 7-1 in the PCSC.
LMU leads the all-time series 24-13, with a 14-10 mark in the PCSC. The Lions have won six of the last eight, including a four-game sweep in 2007, the last series the teams played at Smith Field. LMU is 14-4 against the Vikings all-time when playing at home.
Counting Down the Hits... Slouber Poised to Become New #1
Senior Kirsten Slouber's quest to become LMU's all-time hit queen comes down to the final weekend. With 251 hits to her credit, Slouber is one shy of tying Heather Hollis (1996-2000) for the top spot. The 2009 season has already seen her become the school- and PCSC-record holder in career at bats and runs scored, while she is two doubles away from equaling the LMU record in that category. Her name appears on no fewer than eight LMU top-10 lists; she is also sixth in stolen bases, eighth in games played, tied for ninth in home runs and ninth in RBI.
Slouber regained her power stroke at the Red Desert Classic, hitting two homers to move into the LMU career top-10, and added another round-tripper at Santa Clara to give her three this year, her most since 2007. She currently leads the team in steals with seven and is tied for second with 43 hits, thanks to a team-best .380 average in conference play.
PCSC Championship Scenarios
Four teams have a shot at the PCSC title. Simply put, Portland State holds the tiebreakers over Sacramento State and San Diego and thus needs two wins this weekend for the crown. If PSU wins one, it needs Sac State to lose twice and USD to lose once. Sac State has five games left, needing to win at least four and for LMU to sweep PSU. San Diego must sweep Santa Clara and have LMU sweep and Sac State lose at least twice. LMU needs to sweep Portland State and hope that San Diego loses at least once and Sac State loses at least twice.
Seniors to Be Honored on Sunday
Sunday's doubleheader marks the final home games of the season and, thus, the final home games for LMU's seniors. Megan Ackerman, MiaSarah Cesena, Kirsten Slouber, and Chelsie Tysdal, along with redshirt junior Darcy Pagnini, will all be graduating this May.
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 77-32 in the month of April (.706 winning percentage) and has yet to register a losing month.
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 93-42, a .689 winning percentage, and have finished as either champions or runners-up in five of the years.
The Key? Get a Lead
LMU is still a dangerous team and one that thrives on striking early. The Lions are 11-2 this season when scoring in the first inning and 14-10 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 16-6 when leading after four innings, and 18-3 when leading after six. The flip side of that, however, shows that LMU struggles to come from behind late. Of the Lions' 23 wins this year, only five have come when the team is tied or trails after five 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 50, marking the fourth time in school history that a team has reached the half-century mark. Additionally, 10 different players having gone deep at least once and the Lions are 17-8 in games in which they hit at least one round-tripper and 12-1 when smacking two or more.
LMU's power has produced some pretty special situations. With senior Megan Ackerman (11) and freshman Sam Fischer (11) leading the way, LMU has two players with double-digit homers for just the second time in school history, joining the 2004 squad (Danielle Kaminaka had 15 and Sami Strinz 11). Senior Chelsie Tysdal and freshman Kelly Sarginson each have eight home runs, meaning LMU could end up with four players with double figures. In Ackerman and Tysdal, LMU also has its first set of active teammates since Kaminaka and Strinz with 25 career homers. The duo is also the first-ever set of active teammates at LMU to have 100+ career RBI.
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. 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.
The Lions did even better at Santa Clara, hitting 14 in the four-game series, including a school- and PCSC-record 14 in the opener. All told, seven different players went deep, led by Ackerman's four. Sarginson added three, Pagnini and Tysdal two each, and three others had one, including freshman Katrina Bodewig's first career shot.
New Ace in Town
Without a doubt, LMU's success in 2009 is dependent 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 (fifth).
Dykema entered this season as the conference's active leader in ERA, wins, appearances, complete games, shutouts, and strikeouts. So far in 2009, she is third in the conference in innings pitched (159.1) and tied for first in saves (two) while her 11 wins are fifth, as are her 69 strikeouts. The PCSC's active leader in victories, she became the third conference pitcher to reach 50 career wins with her two-hit shutout at Santa Clara on April 10.
Dykema won her first PCSC Pitcher of the Week honor of the season and fifth of her career after she stymied Santa Clara in back-to-back shutouts. On Friday, Dykema held the Broncos to two hits in gaining her 50th career victory. The next day, she retired the game's first 10 batters, taking a no-hitter into the fourth before settling on a one-hit shutout.
After setting a new LMU single-season record with 50 RBI and being named Second Team All-Pacific Region in 2008, it would be tough for senior Chelsie Tysdal to produce an encore. Yet, here she is, third on the team in home runs (eight) and RBI (29) to go along with a .295 average, fourth-best among Lions. She has also thrown out 14 of 22 potential baserunners. Her 27 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 fourth with 116.
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 or co-leads the Lions in batting average (.361), hits (57), doubles (9), triples (1), home runs (11) and runs scored (35), all categories in which she ranks among the PCSC top-10. She is indeed a five-tool player as she has displayed her ability to hit for average and power, steal bases (four in six attempts), and field (playing both third base and shortstop). But it's not just her bat that is impressive. Fischer has also made seven appearances at pitcher, posting a team-low 2.77 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. She 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 OBP. In her first career start as a pitcher vs. 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. She currently leads the staff with 12 wins, 85 strikeouts, and 13 complete games. Her 143.0 innings pitched are fourth in the PCSC.
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. Goodman tossed her first career shutout against North Dakota, allowing five hits.
One of the reasons for the Lions' power numbers has been the play of senior Megan Ackerman. She has hit nine home runs in each of the last two seasons and is currently leading the team and the PCSC with 11 so far in 2009. She is also tops in the league with a .656 slugging percentage while coming in first on the Lions with 34 RBI. All this is while she is hitting a career-high .320. Ackerman ratcheted up her numbers once conference got underway, batting .370 with five home runs and 14 RBI.
Ackerman's power numbers have put her among the all-time best to have donned the LMU uniform. In addition to being second on the career home run list with 30, Ackerman is tied for third with 36 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 third with 115. Having scored 107 runs in her career (fifth-most at LMU), she joins current assistant coach Danielle Kaminaka as the only two players in LMU history to record 30 doubles, 25 home runs, 150 hits, 100 RBI, and 100 runs scored.
Ackerman pounded Santa Clara pitchers all weekend, hitting .583 (7-for-12) with four homers, 11 RBI, and nine runs scored to earn PCSC Player of the Week honors for the second time in her career. She opened the weekend with her fourth career two-homer game, going 3-for-5 with four RBI, following that with a 2-for-3 performance in which she hit another homer, drove in three, and scored three times. On Saturday, she was 1-for-2 and walked twice with a run-scoring double before ending the weekend with her fourth round-tripper, a three-run shot.
Freshman Kelly Sarginson is making a claim to continue the Lions' power-hitting prowess once Tysdal and Ackerman graduate. Sarginson is second on the team with 30 RBI and is tied for third with eight home runs to go along with six doubles and a .280 average. Five of her home runs have come during PCSC play. She also homered in three straight games at Santa Clara. Perhaps most impressive is how clutch the freshman has been, as she is hitting .368 (14-for-38) with runners in scoring position.
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 has her average at .298 and is third on the team by hitting .357 in PCSC play.
Cesena 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.
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 she fell a homer short of the cycle on the day.
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. In 2008, she was LMU's starting third baseman and led the PCSC with a .405 average, the third-highest in school history. This year, after moving to rightfield, 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 hitting .272 while stealing seven bases in eight attempts. Her 41 hits are fourth-most on the Lions.
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 four home runs and driving in 17 runs. She has entered the LMU career doubles top-10, where she currently is tied for 10th with 29. Pagnini is another player who has stepped up her game in conference play, hitting .295.
Freshmen Being Freshmen
The life of a freshman is certainly up and down, and the Lions' newbies are no exception. Along with the excellent play of Goodman, Fischer, and Sarginson, the Lions have gotten a lift from classmates Brittany Pereda, Katrina Bodewig, and Kylie Ahlo. Pereda had one career at-bat to her name entering the Courtyard by Marriott L.A. Westside Tournament but made her first career start against Utah Valley and proceeded to hit her first career homer in just her second at-bat. Bodewig and Ahlo have been used mainly as pinch-runners, combining to race home 25 times. They have also made noise at the plate themselves. Bodewig hit her first career homer at Santa Clara and is hitting .600 in the PCSC while Ahlo collected a double in her first collegiate at-bat.
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 had its first non-conference losing season since 1998 and entered PCSC play with the fewest wins of any LMU team in the seven-year history of the conference. LMU will also fall short of 30 wins on the season for just the second time since 1999. 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.
More on the Santa Clara Series
A look inside LMU's incredible offensive outburst at Santa Clara:
The Lions hit a school- and PCSC-record six homers in game one and hit nine homers total in the Friday doubleheader (also a school and conference record).
LMU hit 14 home runs in total for the weekend, topping the previous record of 10 hit in five games at the Red Desert Classic this year.
When Chelsie Tysdal and Megan Ackerman each went deep twice in game one, it was the first time since March 9, 2008 (UNLV) that two LMU players hit two homers in the same game.
LMU scored 10-or-more runs in the first three games, the first time that had ever happened. In fact, before the first game, LMU had not scored 10+ runs in its last 32 PCSC games and had only two double-digit scoring outings in the previous two seasons combined. The program's last back-to-back 10+ run games in the PCSC came May 4, 2003 vs. Saint Mary's.
The 44 runs scored were the most-ever by an LMU team in a four-game PCSC series.
The 17 hits collected in game one tied for the second-most in school history and were the most in a single game since registering 17 against Portland State on April 22, 2007.
All nine runs scored in game four came with two outs.
The four-game sweep was LMU's first in PCSC play since taking April 19-20, 2008 at home against Sacramento State. It was the first road sweep since May 5-6, 2007, also at Santa Clara.
The .431 batting average as a team raised the overall average 18 points, from .268 to .286.
The 7-1 start to PCSC tied the 2005 squad for the best conference start in team history.
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.