May 4, 2007
LMU, the PCSC Champions, will wrap up the regular season with four games at Santa Clara this weekend. Last weekend, the Lions became the first team in the history of the PCSC to clinch the championship title before the final weekend of the season, winning their third PCSC crown in five years. LMU is on a nine-game winning streak and has won 14 of its last 15 games. Doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday begin at noon.
PCSC Championship History
LMU has won three of the five PCSC titles since the conference's formation in 2003. The Lions won the inaugural title with a 14-5 conference mark. Santa Clara won the 2004 crown, but LMU took it back in 2005 with a 14-6 record. This was also the first time that the conference champion earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Lions played at the UCLA regional, falling to the host Bruins and UNLV. Portland State was the champion in 2006, but LMU went 14-2 over the first 16 games to clinch the championship with a weekend to go.
The Lions will find out where they will begin the NCAA Tournament when the NCAA announces the field of 64 on Sunday, May 13th. The announcement will be made on ESPNews and is scheduled to begin at noon PT. Regionals begin on Friday, May 18th.
Last weekend was spectacular for Tiffany Pagano. In addition to pitching two shutouts, she broke three LMU awards in the process. On Saturday, she broke the LMU career strikeout and shutout record. On Sunday, she broke her own single season strikeout record. For her efforts, she was named the PCSC Pitcher of the Week for the fifth time this season, and the 10th time in her career.
Season Two at Smith Field
LMU's Smith Field continues to be a tremendous home field advantage for the Lions. In its second year, the Lions were an impressive 26-6 in the familiar confines. Several Lions excelled in front of the home crowd. Tiffany Pagano finished the 2007 with a 0.46 ERA at Smith Field, going 13-2 at home with nine shutouts. That 0.46 ERA was significantly lower than her overall ERA of 1.99. In addition, Kirsten Slouber hit well, batting a team-high .398 at home. As a team, LMU hit 31 of the its 44 home runs this year at home.
Do Not Leave Early
The Lions continue to prove that they never give up, coming from behind for several wins all season. This year, 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 26-12 in the seventh inning, and 19-6 in extra innings.
Foley Ties School Record
With two doubles 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 .393 and is second in the PCSC in batting average. She has 28 RBI and has scored 29 runs.
Feeling Hot Hot Hot
Several Lions have been on fire lately as the team has won 14 of its last 15 games and is on a nine game winning streak. In those nine games, Kirsten Slouber has come on strong, hitting .545 with six doubles. Megan Ackerman is hitting well, batting .500, and Kirsten Whitt hit four home runs during that stretch. Ackerman had a career-high 12 game hitting streak snapped against Saint Mary's. The pitchers have a combined ERA of 0.82 with five shutouts.
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 (22nd), doubles (20th), winning percentage (25th), slugging percentage (39th), ERA (60th), scoring (55th), home runs (66th) and triples (96th). In addition, several individuals are ranked among the nation's finest. Margo Pineda is 46th in the nation in batting average, and Christine Foley is 77th in batting average and 57th in doubles. Melissa Dykema is 14th in wins, while Tiffany Pagano is 46th in wins and 33rd in strikeouts.
Gary Ferrin Reaches Win No. 450
With the final win against San Diego on Sunday, April 1st, LMU head coach Gary Ferrin reached the 450 win mark. Now in his 13th season, Ferrin's career record stands at 461-334-1. He has the most wins of any LMU coach in any sport.
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.
The Lions came into last weekend's series with then-second place Saint Mary's needing a sweep to clinch the PCSC title. The Lions made it look easy, with three 8-0 wins and a 3-1 win. The team was clicking on all cylinders, pitching unbelievably well and getting hits when they needed them. Tiffany Pagano and Melissa Dykema threw a pair of shutouts on Saturday, and Pagano tossed another one on Sunday. Kirsten Slouber hit .688 with a home run and three doubles for the weekend, and Chelsie Tysdal hit the game-winning home run in the 3-1 win.
LMU's pitching staff has dominated the PCSC Pitcher of the Week award, with Tiffany Pagano and Melissa Dykema winning the award five 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. Pagano was named the LMU SAAC Athlete of the Month for March and Pineda was named the LMU Female Athlete of the Year.
About Santa Clara
The Broncos are in sixth place in the PCSC with a 5-11 conference mark. SCU is 12-43 overall after going 1-3 against Portland State last weekend. Angela Kabanuck is having a strong year, hitting .387 with 10 home runs. Nori Kamada is batting .301 with six home runs. Jerrica Castagno leads the way in the circle with a 3.65 ERA and Jackie Morales leads the team in strikeouts with 81.