Thursday, February 03, 2005


Last weekend a duel in the desert with Devils so naturally this weekend a home date with Angels, or at least the Saint Mary's baseball bunch called the Gaels.

Like opening a Broadway play in New Haven, the 2005 cast of Long Beach State baseball went on the road to work out the kinks in their new production, won the series from #9 Arizona State and got rave reviews from a mob of pro scouts. Tonight the show opens on the Dirtbag main stage at Blair field where the Niners (40-21 in 2004) are heavy favorites over a Gael force that was only 14-41 last year.

The Beach's inspiring opening in Arizona included what wedding planners call “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue”. The “old” were returning stars like the infield workers Troy Tulowitzki, Chuck Sindlinger and Danny Mocny supporting the mound work of Cesar Ramos and set-up and shut-down relievers Brian Anderson, Neil Jamison and Brett Andrade. The “new” came in the form of outstanding pitching from new guys Cody Evans and Marco Estrada and an out-of-no where reliever named Steve Hammond. The offense also came up with some new muscle in JUCOs Evan Longoria, Jordan Struble and freshman surprise Jose Hernandez. The “borrowed” was the traditional move ‘em over and hit ‘em in offense that the Bags have used in the past that ain’t perfect yet but has outstanding promise.

In the mind of hitting coach Don Barbara there are still too many runner’s left on and too many strikeouts but 24 runs in three games from a top ten team at their place is evidence that the future is bright. Oh yes, we save the “blue” for the curious-calling Pac Ten umpires who at times were scarier than the Devils. SMC has a little scare in the form of hitters Sam Carter and Delaney Gallagher who had outstanding sophomore campaigns. Gallagher has switched to third base this year over from first where he hit a team-leading .330 in 55 games and recorded 16 doubles and 28 RBI. The X factor for SMC will be junior college transfers--12 of them including five pitchers. If the Beach keeps up their eight runs per game output you will likely you will see all of them by Sunday.

FINISHING DUST— The pitching plan is LB lefty Cesar Ramos (1-0, 4.50) against Gaels righthander Kevin Trouchez, then our JUCO pitcher (Golden West) product Cody Evans (0-0, 1.93) against SMC’s righthander Joel Fountain and then back to Marco Estrada (1-0, 1.50) on Sunday against who ever is left for the Gaels…now some special stats gleaned from the Dirtbag baseball blog…for the series ASU gave more doses than the flu clinic hitting eight batters, missed five other times with wild pitches and committed four physical errors and a bunch of mentals, i.e. picked off runners and giving up an extra base with poor outfield technique. The Niners hit .336 (39 hits in 116 at bats) and worked the Devil pitchers for 7 walks…sad news this week is that a friend and fixture at 49er events for decades, Al Fujimoto, passed away over the weekend…Vietnam vet, respected banker, tireless fund-raiser and volunteer, Al was always front and center on the scorer’s table and the press box and working for his alma mater behind the scenes…services at 10 a.m. tomorrow…in hoops last night both teams lost to CSUN but the baseball note is that last year’s Dirtbag trainer Tyler Hickok has hooked on with the Matadors and covers the lady hoopsters…More trainer news…latest medicine man is Nate Peck who of course had a short honeymoon when Sean Boatright pulled a hammy and will likely miss CF work until either the Cal or SDSU series…no polls this week but next week they return…games of note around here are Northridge @ UNLV; Nevada @ Pacific; Pepperdine @ UC Santa Barbara; San Diego @ UC Riverside; San Jose State @ Cal Poly; Stanford @ Cal State Fullerton; Texas @ San Diego State 6 pm; UC Irvine @ California; and last weekend’s foe ASU hosting New Mexico State…More on schedules…Boyd’s world has named the folks with the toughest road to Omaha and they include USC at 1, UCLA at 3, CSUF at 4, UCSB, 5, UCR 10, LB at 12, UCI 14, SLO at 16 and even CSUN at #18. As they say on Cops-- life in the West is tough—DR. DAN


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