April 26, 2007
The Lions will play their final home games this weekend with a chance at clinching the PCSC title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. First place LMU will host second place Saint Mary's in a four-game series on Saturday and Sunday, with doubleheaders at Smith Field beginning at noon both days. If the Lions win all four games, they would clinch the PCSC title with four games remaining in the regular season. LMU is 36-17 overall, and is two games ahead of the Gaels in the PCSC standings with a 10-2 conference record. The Lions will honor the three members of their senior class in a ceremony between games on Sunday.
LMU will honor its three seniors in a ceremony between games on Sunday. Margo Pineda and Kirsten Whitt have spent their entire careers at LMU, while Kylie Conroy transfered to LMU from Baylor for her final season of competition. Pineda has been phenomenal during her career and is on pace to break the LMU career batting average record. Whitt has been on fire at the plate recently, hitting three home runs last weekend against Portland State. Conroy has been an oustanding addition to the team and is second on the squad with six home runs.
The Awards Keep Rolling In
On Tuesday night, Margo Pineda was honored as the LMU Athletic Department Female Athlete of the Year. Pineda is the first softball player to earn this prestigious award. On Tuesday morning, Tiffany Pagano earned the PCSC Pitcher of the Week award for the fourth time this season and the ninth time in her career.
Do Not Leave Early
The Lions continue to prove that they never give up, coming from behind for another two wins last weekend vs. Portland State. In game one of the series, PSU took a 1-0 lead and a solo home run by Kirsten Whitt tied things up in the fifth inning. The game remained tied, sending things into extra innings. True to form, LMU pulled things out as Tracy Cook hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. This season, LMU has won three games when trailing following the sixth inning, and is 8-1 when tied after the sixth inning. The Lions have outscored their opponents 25-12 in the seventh inning, and 19-6 in extra innings this season.
Foley Ties School Record
With two doubles last weekend against Sacramento State, Christine Foley tied the LMU single season record for doubles with 16. This season, the freshman from Los Angeles is hitting a phenomenal .410 and is second in the PCSC in batting average. She has 26 RBI and has scored 26 runs.
Feeling Hot Hot Hot
Several Lions have been on fire lately as the team has won 10 of its last 11 games. Last weekend, Megan Ackerman and Kirsten Whitt both hit .500 with multiple home runs. Kirsten Slouber was close behind at .462. The team batting average against PSU was .339. Over the last 11 games, three Lions are hitting over.400 - Christine Foley, Whitt and Ackerman. In the circle, Tiffany Pagano was unstoppable, pitching two shutouts with 15 strikeouts in 12.0 innings.
Just the Numbers
Looking at the NCAA stats, it's clear to see why LMU is the top team in the conference. The Lions are ranked in the top 100 in almost every category - batting average (31st), doubles (19th), winning percentage (34th), slugging percentage (45th), ERA (72nd), scoring (64th), home runs (75th) and triples (86th). In addition, several individuals are ranked among the nation's finest. Margo Pineda is 29th in the nation in batting average, and Christine Foley is 51st in batting average and 36th in doubles. Melissa Dykema is 14th in wins, while Tiffany Pagano is 55th in wins and 37th in strikeouts.
To Be The Best, You Need To Play The Best
LMU played 17 games against teams that participated in the 2006 NCAA Tournament and earned 10 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), Cal State Fullerton (2-0) and a four game sweep over Portland State. Senior Margo Pineda excelled against the top opponents, hitting .385 with two home runs and 10 RBI. Christine Foley also hit well in those games, batting .326 with four doubles. Melissa Dykema's ERA of 1.91 against 2006 Tournament teams is actually lower than her overall ERA of 2.39. Dykema earned seven of the team's 10 wins against 2006 Tournament teams.
A four game sweep at home over Portland State put the Lions in the driver's seat for the race for the PCSC title. Tracy Cook took care of the game one heroics with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth to lead the Lions to a 2-1 win. Tiffany Pagano pitched a shutout and Kirsten Whitt hit two home runs to lead LMU to a 3-0 game two win. MiaSarah Cesena hit the game-winning RBI triple in the top of the seventh for a 4-3 game three LMU win, and the Lions exploded with 17 hits in a 10-0 5 inning win in the series finale.
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. She tied the career mark for shutouts with a pair last weekend against Portland State and needs just one more to make the record her own. Pagano is closing in on the LMU career record for strikeouts and needs just 8 more to break the record. She currently holds the LMU single season record for strikeouts and could break her own record this year.
LMU's pitching staff has dominated the PCSC Pitcher of the Week award, with Tiffany Pagano and Melissa Dykema winning the award four times, and twice, respectively. In addition, Christine Foley has earned the PCSC Player of the Week honors twice, and Margo Pineda earned it one time. Those two were named to the New Mexico State All-Tournament team as well.
About Saint Mary's
The Gaels sit two games behind LMU in the PCSC standings with an 8-4 conference mark. SMC is 23-29 overall but has won six of its last eight games. Molly Bergeson leads the team with a .377 batting average overall, but Lauren Mello has been on fire in PCSC play with a .476 average against conference opponents. Bronwyn Russell isn't too far behind with a .474 average against PCSC teams. In the circle. Megan Galloway and Kate Albaugh are both 3-0 in PCSC games and have a 1.33 and 1.88 ERA in conference games, respectively.