Tuesday, April 05, 2005


If it’s Tuesday it must be Belgium. Wait, I picked up the TV Guide and not the Dirtbag baseball schedule. But Tuesday it is so that means meeting a mid-week nightcap with a neighbor who usually steps across the chalk in a foul mood and UCLA certainly fills the bill on all accounts.

As we noted last weekend, the Bruins have a chip on their shoulder even though they have only a precious seven wins on the season, a somewhat shocking result considering a usually talent-laden roster and the considerable coaching skills of the stolen-from-Irvine skipper John Savage. Their will be a Savage Nation in Westwood in the future but UCLA’s reconstruction project doesn’t really get going until next year when the web site baseballresource,com indicates that John has ten new Bruins already inked. Tonight however UCLA runs into a warm if not hot Beach bunch that has won five of their last six, enjoys a first place tie with Cal Poly in the Big West and has risen in the polls to as high as No. 13. That would make the Dirtbags 21-10 and 3-0 in the Big West and winding up a seven game homestand before heading back into conference wars to face UC Irvine at Anteater Ballpark. For both sides tonight the pitching will be by committee, the typical Tuesday scenario designed to get kids experience and often a case of nerves. The short list of the Beach possible starters include lefthander Donnie Hume (1-0, 2.89) or righthander Cody Evans (0-2, 2.74) but Steve Hammond should be feeling better and, other than the weekend starters, almost anybody else may appear on the hill of thrills. Depending on who you read UCLA will start Bruin Brant Rustich a righthander with a mark of 1-2, 5.53 (LBSU notes) or righthander Adam Simon, 1-3 and 8.05 (UCLA notes. The Bruins were picked sixth in the Pacific 10 this year, won 35 games last year, played in the Oklahoma City regional, and then did not continue the services of venerable Gary Adams. This weekend the sons of Westwood head down the road to arch rival USC for a three-game blood match.

WHITEOUT DUST-Just like the big city papers us at the Dust must make corrections from time to time. Over the weekend we wrote that catcher extraordinaire Chris Jones, second leading hitter on the 2005 club, did not swing at all last year…not true, he had eight at bats and 2 hits backing of Cruz and of course the starter Brad Davis…more of last year, Kenny Maiques, now of Rio Hondo College, had 12 appearances and the worst ERA on the Dirtbag team last year. He got better over the summer and last week threw a seven inning perfect game in a 6-0 win over Mt. San Jacinto...struck out 17 and the other four outs were collected by the infielders…so is he coming back to the Beach?…recruiting links say no…he signed a National Letter of Intent with South Carolina…another errata, Chris Jones is now credited with a hit not a FC for the GWRBI Saturday night…peeking ahead to this weekend Fullerton went 2-1 with Irvine and went up in the poll so that ought to be a map for the Niners this weekend…if you dare to dream about the Bags being one of the 16 regional hosts then you can probably think about a PAC Ten team in the field of four and likely either of yesterday’s combatants in Buska’s birthplace….The Washington baseball team salvaged a split in its Pac-10 series with USC, beating the Trojans, 7-3, Monday at Husky Ballpark in a makeup of Sunday's rained out game. ..the Huskies improved to 18-12 on the season and 2-4 in the Pac-10 while USC fell to 17-9 and 3-3 in the conference…Any notes column is a better read with a mention of Misty May so from now on get used to it…They should call it the Misty May and Kerri Walsh Tour -- especially now that the women of AVP pro beach volleyball are outdrawing the men….The Miami Herald reported that May and Walsh didn't lose a game during the two-day event, and “May wore a Florida Marlins headband during the final in honor of husband and Marlins catcher Matt Treanor…The South Florida crowd of 6,250 appreciated the dominating play and May's love for the Marlins -- she addressed the crowd and ended her thank-you-for-coming speech with a loud ''Go Marlins!'' The crowd offered up a standing ovation while the AVP offered up May and Walsh a $20,000 first-place check”… Since 1975, UCLA is 35-24 against the Dirtbags but Long Beach State has taken four of the last six contests since 2002. In 2004, the teams split a pair of games with UCLA claiming victory by a score of 11-1 at home on April 13 and Long Beach State returning the favor 2-1 at Blair Field on April 27…even then we didn’t score much…former Niner track star Stephanie Sampson now works in the Bruin sports info office...last Bruin numbers, while their opponents pen posted a measly 2.90 ERA against UCLA this season, the Bruins' relief core checks in at 6.90 ERA…back to Jared H, asked if he is worried about facing the chippy Irvine fans this weekend JH says, “if I can stay in the zone and keep the ball down I feel really good about going down there,”…me too, because the stuff that isn’t down comes in real hard and that splendid pen is behind him—DR. DAN


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