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Lions Look to Topple the Titans on Tuesday

March 27, 2006

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After a rain shortened week, the Lions return to Smith Field to host Cal State Fullerton in a doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon. The pair of games are LMU's only competition of the week as the Lions gear up to open conference play at home on April 8th.

Looking Back
LMU stumbled against Ohio State last week, dropping a doubleheader to the Buckeyes, 5-2 and 2-1. OSU took advantage of several walks and hit batters for the game one win. LMU rallied with two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but the Buckeyes held on for the win. OSU scored an unearned run in the top of the sixth inning for the 2-1 win in game two. LMU and UC Santa Barbara started a doubleheader on Saturday, but rain halted the game in the third inning. The Lions and Gauchos will resume the doubleheader on April 5th.

This Week's Opponent
The Titans are 19-16 on the season after sweeping Ohio State on Saturday. Cal State Fullerton will be leaving their friendly confines after playing 17 of its last 20 games at home. The Titans have faced an incredibly challenging schedule so far this season. Amanda Kamekona leads the team with a .351 batting average, and Katie Gollhardt has a .309 average. Ashley Van Boxmeer leads the team in home runs with six. Marissa Marzan leads the team with a 2.13 ERA and five complete games and two shutouts. Candice Baker has a 13-5 record with a 2.38 ERA, with 14 complete games and three shutouts. She has 145 strikeouts in 123.2 innings this season.

Lions in the PCSC
With 33 games played, LMU leads the PCSC in wins so far this season, and has many players ranked among the top in the conference. Hillaree Bennett leads the conference in home runs (10), walks (21), slugging percentage (.784), on-base percentage (.527) and is tied for the lead in batting average (.398). Kirsten Slouber leads the conference in runs scored (26) and is second in hits (36). Tiffany Pagano leads the PCSC in strikeouts (136) and innings pitched (111.0) as well as appearances (19) and wins (9).

Rain Rain Go Away
The Lions were very lucky with rain at Smith Field in March, but their luck ran out when they left town on Saturday. Although local meteorologists had predicted rain on almost every day that LMU hosted a game in the month of March, none of LMU's games were cancelled. In fact, only one game had a brief 15 minute rain delay, and the sky remained clear for the rest of the games. Weather forecasts are predicting rain for Tuesday's doubleheader, but hopefully Smith Field will stay dry long enough to host the games.

Fabulous Frosh
LMU has several freshman playing critical roles this season, and they have risen to the challenge. Six freshmen have started at least 16 games, and all six have played in at least 21 of the team's 33 games. The entire left side of the field is comprised of rookies, with the catcher, third baseman, shortstop, left fielder and centerfielder all in their first year of college softball. The rookies are holding their own, hitting .300 as a group. Freshmen make up four of LMU's top five batters in the latest batting order.

Looking Ahead
LMU will resume action against UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday, April 5th in the conclusion of the doubleheader that was rained out from Saturday. The Lions host their PCSC opener against Sacramento State on Saturday, April 8th. The 2005 PCSC Championship team will be honored in a ceremony on April 8th as well.