April 4, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University softball team will open up play in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference's inaugural season on Saturday, hosting Loyola Marymount at Marsalli Park. The doubleheader is scheduled for noon.
Although the Lions hold a slight advantage in the all-time series between the schools, at 26-22, Santa Clara won the last time these two squads met. The Broncos earned the 2002 Western Independent Softball League Championship with a 12-5 victory over LMU.
Santa Clara is currently 18-16 on the season, and a strong 10-5 at home. LMU, playing with more than a week of rest, is 14-14 on the season. It will be the league opener for both squads. The Lions are currently on a three-game win streak, while SCU dropped its last two games to 24th-ranked Oregon State.
"I am very excited about being a member of the PCSC because it requires our athletes maintain focus and purpose through a long season," SCU head coach Marcy Crouch said. "The conference has a lot of parity and I'm looking forward to some heated battles, starting this weekend with LMU."
The PCSC is comprised of six schools: Sacramento State, Loyola Marymount, Portland State, Saint Mary's, Santa Clara and San Diego. Prior to joining the PCSC, the schools were members of the Western Athletic Conference, WISL and Big West Conference.
The Broncos are second in the league standings, following preseason-favorite Sacramento State. Santa Clara was picked by conference coaches to finish fourth in a preseason poll. LMU tied the Hornets as the top choice heading into the season.
One of the objectives of the PCSC is to provide the teams with an opportunity for an automatic qualifying bid to NCAA tournament play. The conference will be eligible to apply for the automatic bid in the 2005 season.
Santa Clara and LMU will also meet on Sunday at Marsalli Park, at noon.