Friday, February 11, 2005


Last month LBSU hosted the college baseball media day and SC’s Mike Gillespie was moaning about having to spend the season reading newspaper clips about Dirtbag pitching in general and Jered Weaver in particular.

As we noted in the Dust a year ago, “It was Friday the 13th and even without Jered Weaver striking out 10 straight batters in front of the Blair Field crowd of 3,163, you had the feeling that the 2004 Dirtbags could care less about their occasional offense as long as pitching and defense save the day. Just like their puzzled PAC 10 brethren from California, USC could only get two hits and one score while Weaver was on the mound and when he finally retired, after 97 pitches, 74 strikes and 14 Ks, the closing combo of Brett Andrade and Neil Jamison slammed the door with three more strikeouts and hardly a long foul ball.” Gosh that was fun. Fast forward to this year and it looks like the Boys of Troy have this pitching thing figured out themselves. From the USC web site, “Five Trojan pitchers struck out 16 batters in a combined shutout as the Trojans opened the 2005 baseball season with a 6-0 non-conference shutout of the San Diego State Aztecs Tuesday at Dedeaux Field.” It was the first opening day shutout for USC since 1988. The mound masters included Brett Bannister who earned the win, Junior transfer Jack Spradlin who had the best effort with three innings and even today’s starter Ian Kennedy, (pitcher-of-the-year rival of Cesar Ramos) stuck out the side in the ninth. Trojan bats only got eight hits but racked up six runs, paced by Matt Cusick who reached base three out of his five at-bats (one hit and two walks). Third baseman Billy Hart and catcher Jeff Clement also had extra base hits. The game was quick, a mere 2:41 but the attendance was only 702. Meanwhile the Beach boys already have six contests in the books, are ranked just outside the top ten and 5-1 on the season after a series sweep at home at Blair over a game Saint Mary's squad. That brought flu-ailing Mike Weathers’ record to 126-63 as he starts season number four, but already he has had to use the eraser on his 2005 lineup card missing his three and four hitters, Junior shortstop All-American Troy Tulowitzki (hand injury, who was hitting .526 (10-for-19) on the season and junior outfielder Sean Boatright (hamstring). The rest of the 49ers are batting .326 as a team and using stingy pitching again, a 2.67 ERA. The weatherman, not Mike, of course knew that pitcher’s prefer Blair so the original Friday starters will work the wide-open spaces today. Ian has that one perfect inning and Ramos is 2-0 on the season with a 2.25 ERA (12 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 9 SO).

ELEPHANT DUSTING--how can you go through a session of dusting without us picking on the Titans…seems that at their well attended opening series with Satanford last weekend there were no game programs, no media guide and no little FM Stadium Booster for their internet broadcast…from a whiner on their web board, “for the 50+ scouts in the stands watching the games...we have the biggest crowd in a two day span (over 6500) not to capitalize by having marketing material for sale about our squad, how much MONEY has the university lost just this weekend alone? at $10 per media guide over $50,000 plus, 2 days worth of programs @ $1.50 a piece over $6,000 dollars...and what’s up with the field? Parts of the field looked deader than my gopher infested front lawn”…Titan true bloods are meaner on CSUF than I am…The BWC sked this weekend, Northridge-UCLA, SLO-Pepperdine, UCSB-San Jose and CSUF-Fresno State, Riverside-Nevada and UOP in the River City Classic…Troy is ranked # 34…our Saturday guess is that Cody Evans (0-0, 1.54) will look for his first D-I win against righty Zack Kalter…the Bags moved up in all three national polls this week, ranking as high as No. 12 in Sports Weekly and Collegiate Baseball, No. 17 in Baseball America…and now for my pal Jason P of USC, this note from Seattle Times columnist Dwight Perry, on the UCLA basketball team's poor attendance at Pauley Pavilion: ``Or, as Bruin fans refer to the sight of all those empty seats: Pauley unsaturated.''—DR. DAN


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