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Lions Head to Sacramento For PCSC Showdown

April 10, 2007

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The LMU softball team returns to action this weekend when it heads north to face Sacramento State in PCSC play. The Lions currently sit in first place in the conference standings with a 3-1 record, while the Hornets are 1-2 in conference play. LMU has a conference-best 30-15 record and Margo Pineda currently leads the PCSC in hitting with a .447 average.

Gary Ferrin Reaches Win No. 450
With the final win against San Diego on Sunday, LMU head coach Gary Ferrin has now guided the Lions to victory 450 times. Now in his 13th season, Ferrin's career record stands at 450-333-1.

This Is Why They're Hot
It's not really a secret why LMU has been on a roll lately - hot hitting and fantastic pitching. Looking at the stats since March 4th, the Lions are hitting .313 with a .476 slugging percentage. The Lions hit 16 home runs over a 21 game stretch and outscored their opponents 108-49. The pitching staff has turned things up a notch, with a 1.42 ERA over the same 21 game stretch. LMU has seven shutouts during that stretch and was 17-4 overall. Leading the way is senior Margo Pineda who hit .431 over the 21 game stretch. Christine Foley hit .418 over the last 21 games, and senior Kirsten Whitt has been on fire at the plate, hitting .372. In the circle, junior Tiffany Pagano has taken her game to a new level and has a 0.53 ERA in her last 66.1 innings of work.

Statistically Speaking
The NCAA stats came out for the first time on April 10th and LMU softball was a significant presence. As a team, the Lions are ranked in the top 100 of nine of the 11 categories: batting average (38th), slugging percentage (46th), scoring (64th), win/loss percentage (43rd), home runs (77th), doubles (31st), triples (85th), ERA (86th), and fielding percentage (86th). In addition, several Lions saw their name in the top 100: Margo Pineda (23rd in batting average and 80th in slugging percentage), Tiffany Pagano (36th in strikeouts, 80th in wins), Melissa Dykema (15th in wins) and Christine Foley (47th in doubles).

To Be The Best, You Need To Play The Best
LMU played 13 games against teams that participated in the 2006 NCAA Tournament and earned six wins in the process. The Lions recorded wins against Southern Utah (8-1), BYU (8-3), Long Island (2-1), Ohio State (3-2), UC Santa Barbara (4-3) and Cal State Fullerton (2-0). Senior Margo Pineda excelled against the top opponents, hitting .410 with two home runs and eight RBI. Christine Foley also hit well in those games, batting .324 with four doubles. Melissa Dykema's ERA of 2.10 against 2006 Tournament teams is actually lower than her overall ERA of 2.54. Dykema earned five of the team's six wins against 2006 Tournament teams.

Looking Back
The Lions had a successful opening weekend in conference play, dropping its first game before rebounding with three straight wins over San Diego. The Lions were clicking on on cylinders, hitting .365 as a team in the four game series with a 1.30 ERA. USD scored four runs in the first inning of the weekend, but LMU outscored USD 29-2 the rest of the weekend. Tiffany Pagano tossed two complete game shutouts to earn PCSC Pitcher of the Week honors, and Kirsten Whitt hit .625 over the four games.

Pagano Climbs the Charts
Tiffany Pagano had two outstanding seasons with LMU and she continues to shine. In fact, the junior has moved into the LMU career top-5 for several pitching categories, including career wins, strikeouts and shutouts. Pagano is closing in on the LMU career record for strikeouts and needs just 53 more to break the record. She currently holds the LMU single season record for strikeouts.

Foley Doubles Down
Freshman Christine Foley has hit 14 doubles this season and has moved into the LMU top-5 for single season doubles. The freshman is having an outstanding rookie season, hitting .393 with two home runs and 22 RBI.

Awards Recap
After eight weeks of softball action, the Lions have accumulated several awards. LMU's pitching staff has dominated the PCSC Pitcher of the Week award, with Tiffany Pagano and Melissa Dykema winning the award three times, and twice, respectively. In addition, Margo Pineda and Christine Foley have also earned the PCSC Player of the Week honor. Those two were named to the New Mexico State All-Tournament team as well.

About Sacramento State
The Hornets are currently 9-25 on the season and went 2-1 against Portland State in their first weekend of PCSC play. The final game of the series was rained out and will be played in May if necessary. At the plate, catcher Jamie Schloredt leads the team with a .430 average with four home runs and 14 RBI. Former Lion Kayla Meeks leads the Hornets in the circle with a team-low 3.74 ERA with a 5-10 record. She is also hitting .324 with two home runs. Last weekend, the Hornets were shutout in game one 3-0 before rebounding with a 5-3 win. Rain shortened the schedule to three games, with the Hornets falling 3-1 in the only game on Saturday.

Looking Ahead
The Lions return to Smith Field on April 21st for a showdown with defending PCSC champions Portland State. The Lions and Vikings will play doubleheaders on April 21st and April 22nd.