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WCC Title Hunt Opens With Defending Champs

March 29, 2007

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BRIEFLY
This weekend's three-game series against the San Francisco Dons marks the start of the 40th season of West Coast Conference baseball. The Dons and Lions will open WCC play at Page Stadium with start times set for 3:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 1:00 p.m., respectively. Fans who can't make it to Page Stadium can catch all of the action on both Gametracker and Lions' All-Access audio at www.LMULions.com.

THE WEEKEND SERIES
The Dons enter the WCC season as the defending regular season co-champions, sharing the 2006 title with Pepperdine. LMU was the last team eliminated from the 2006 title hunt, as the Lions were in it until San Francisco swept the Lions at Benedetti Diamond to clinch the WCC Championship Series berth. In recent years, the teams have each ruled their own home field. LMU and San Francisco have won their home series dating back to 2004. The Lions own the all-time series record over the Dons 61-37.

LION LEADOFFS
*The Lions have been impressive in WCC openers for the last five years. Dating back to 2002, the Lions have won all WCC opening games and WCC opening series. Three of those series - 2005, 2004, and 2003 - were series sweeps. Last year's WCC opening series win came over 19th-ranked Pepperdine.
*Despite the Lions' struggles last week against Cal State Northridge and UC Davis, senior Elvis Herrera and freshman Joe Zeller hit .500 on the week. Herrera and junior Justin Bunkis also launched their first career home runs against the Aggies.
*LMU is 5-3 in games decided by one run.

THE DISH ON THE DONS
*San Francisco enters the weekend series having won five of its last six games, including a three-game sweep of Southern Utah.*The Dons played those six games over a stretch of just seven days last week.
*San Francisco was led last week by junior right fielder Luke Sommer, who was named WCC Co-Player of the Week after hitting .417 with two home runs and five RBI.

LIONS' STARTER KEEPS ON GOING
Starting pitcher Brad Meyers has worked into at least the seventh inning each of his starts during the month of March (four straight starts). Meyers threw 8.0 innings in the win over Cal Poly March 2nd and went on to work into the late innings against then-28th-ranked Tulane, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Davis.

DOVEL NAMED TO JOHNNY BENCH AWARD WATCH LIST
Junior Sean Dovel is one of 27 of the nation's top catchers on the initial Johnny Bench Award Watch List. The honor will be awarded to the nation's best catcher in June. Dovel appears on the list after hitting .311 last year.

CRUZ MILESTONE WATCH
In his 11th season as head coach of the Lions, Frank Cruz is nearing the 300th career victory milestone. Entering the weekend with 295 career wins, Cruz needs five more to become the second coach at LMU to reach the mark. Coach Marv Wood (1970-1984) notched 371 career wins in his time at LMU.

INSIDE THE LIONS: GALLERIES NOW ONLINE
Check out the Lions' photo galleries from non-conference road trips. View the galleries by clicking the links on the right of the baseball page at www.LMULions.com.

FARRIS EARNS SECOND WCC PLAYER OF WEEK HONORS
Fellow junior Eric Farris was named WCC Player of the Week after leading the Lions to a 3-1 week that featured the road series win over 28th-ranked Tulane. Over the four games, Farris hit 9-for-19 (.474) with five stolen bases, six runs scored, and three RBI. In the Lions' two wins over Tulane, Farris went 7-for-10 as the leadoff batter. The WCC Player of the Week nod was the second of the season for Farris, who earned the first weekly honor of the season after an opening weekend sweep of Sac State. It is his third career selection.

MACIAS AMONG NATIONAL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Left-hander Daniel Macias was named to the College Baseball Foundation's (CBF) National Honor Roll after throwing an eight-inning shutout of Cal Poly to help LMU clinch the series against the Mustangs. The Lions went on to sweep Cal Poly on the road. Macias held the Mustangs scoreless while allowing six hits in his eight innings. Opponents hit just .207 off the senior, who struck out a pair in the combined shutout effort.

FARRIS FAIRS WELL IN FEBRUARY
LMU junior Eric Farris led the Lions in February, hitting .456 (31-for-68) to lead the West Coast Conference in batting average. The Lions' second baseman put up a .603 slugging percentage, a mark that also led the conference at month's end. Farris added a .500 on-base percentage and went 11-for-12 in stolen bases. For his efforts, the LMU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee voted Farris the Athlete of the Month.

LIONS FACE ONE OF TOUGHEST SCHEDULES
Boyd's World annually ranks the nation's toughest schedules, and LMU baseball is once again toward the top of the list. The Lions' non-conference schedule ranks as the 15th-toughest in the nation, while the overall campaign ranks 21st. The LMU schedule features 21 games against teams ranked in Baseball America's preseason top-50.

PAIR OF LIONS AMONG TOP-75 COLLEGE DRAFT PROSPECTS
LMU's Brad Meyers and Eric Farris are among Baseball America's top-100 college draft prospects. Meyers made the top-30, while Farris checked in at No. 66. Baseball America's top-100 list details the predicted order of the nation's top college players eligible for the 2007 June MLB Draft. Meyers (No.30) was one of just four college players in California to make the top-30. He and Farris are two of the four WCC players to make the top-75.

MEYERS AMONG NATIONAL PITCHER, PLAYER OF THE YEAR CANDIDATES
Brad Meyers is a preseason candidate for college baseball's pitcher and player of the year. Meyers is among the nation's standout pitchers on the 2007 Roger Clemens and Brooks Wallace Award Watch Lists. The awards are presented annually to the national college baseball pitcher and player of the year.

25 YEARS OF LION BASEBALL AT PAGE STADIUM
When the first pitch was thrown on Opening Day against Sacramento State, it marked the beginning of the 25th season of LMU baseball at Page Stadium. Prior to the 1983 season, Page Stadium was built at the site of LMU's old baseball field and was completed with the Incentive Aid Foundation of Los Angeles providing the majority of the funding. It was named in honor of George C. Page, the president of the foundation. Assisting Mr. Page and the IAF in the stadium's completion was Maynard Kambak, father of LMU baseball alumnus Jeff Kambak. The first game in Page Stadium was played against Cal State Fullerton on March 19, 1983.

LIONS AMONG BASEBALL AMERICA'SPRESEASON PICKS
True, LMU baseball was picked to finish fourth in the competitive WCC by both the coaches and Baseball America this season. But, in its preseason WCC preview released this week, Baseball America points to some of the Lions' talent that may help them shake up those WCC predictions. Second baseman Eric Farris headlines that talent, as Baseball America picked the junior to be the WCC's Player of the Year in 2007. Baseball America also predicts that Farris will be the fourth player selected in this year's MLB Draft from the WCC. The publication picked LMU's Brad Meyers, A.J. LaMonda, and Sean Dovel to join Farris as first-team all-conference selections in 2007. Baseball America also picked the WCC's top-5 newcomers, and LMU freshman Angelo Songco ranked third.

MEYERS A TOP-50 DRAFT PROSPECT
Brad Meyers is among the nation's top-50 prospects for the 2007 MLB Draft, Baseball America announced. The Lions' right-hander is one of just five college players from the West on the top-50 list. The 6-6 junior was a second-team All-WCC selection in 2006. Meyers earned the selection after going 4-2 with a 3.25 ERA in WCC play. He worked 52 2/3 innings with a strikeout to walk ratio of 35 to 16. Meyers was a 14th round selection of the New York Mets in the 2004 MLB Draft. He spent the summer of 2005 in the Cape Cod League, earning MVP honors in the playoffs as his Orleans Cardinals won the title. Following the title run, Meyers was named one of the Cape Cod League's top-10 prospects. The Yorba Linda, Calif. native is one of just five college players from the West Coast among Baseball America's top-50. He joins players from Oregon State, Stanford, and UC Riverside.

-GO LIONS-