March 7, 2006
Weather permitting, the Lions will play their first games at the brand new Smith Field, hosting the LMU Tournament this week. The Lions will play 10 games in five days. Five other teams join the Lions in the first tournament on Smith Field. Gametracker will be available for all of the games in the tournament, so fans can follow all of the action.
The Tournament Field
The LMU Tournament is the first tournament on LMU's new home of Smith Field. It also marks the first games played on the new field. The tournament field consists of six teams, although the format is not the traditional tournament set up. LMU will host three days of doubleheaders, with two days of traditional tournament play in between. University of Pennsylvania enters the tournament with a 4-0 record after their first two days of play. Mercer is 5-9 on the year, and coming into the tournament after a 6-0 loss to #8 California in Hawaii. Virginia is 11-4 this season, and will play four games in California before coming to the LMU Tournament. Cal State Northridge is 6-6 so far this season, and defeated LMU at the Aztec Classic last weekend. Loyola-Chicago is 1-7 after the weekend, and will play four games in California before heading to the LMU Tournament.
LMU split a pair of one run games against ranked opponents in the first day of the Aztec Classic. The Lions gave up three unearned runs and fell to #23 Oregon, 3-2 in the tournament opener. LMU responded with a 2-1 win over #25 Fresno State in the second game of the day to record the first win over a ranked team this year. Hillaree Bennett hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh, and Samantha Lavino allowed just one run for the victory. LMU's last win over a ranked team was last season when Tiffany Pagano pitched a gem to lead LMU to a 4-1 win over #24 Arizona State at home. The strong play didn't last, as the Lions struggled in the final three games of the tournament, falling to Cal State Northridge, 3-0, and San Diego State, 7-2. The Bulldogs won round two of the tournament, handing the Lions a 6-1 loss in the tournament finale.
Ferrin Closes In On 400
With the win over #25 Fresno State, LMU head coach Gary Ferrin recorded his 399th career victory. In his 12th season at LMU, Ferrin has a career record of 399-303-1. He led LMU to two PCSC Championships in the first three years of the conference, and took the team to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history last year. With one more win, Ferrin will reach his 400th coaching victory.
The Lions will play just four games next week, giving the players a rest after three straight weekends of tournaments. LMU hosts Radford in a Tuesday afternoon doubleheader on March 14th, and wraps up the week with a home doubleheader against Quinnipiac on Saturday at noon.