Friday, April 08, 2005


On the road again, and for the Dirtbag traveling baseball band that ain’t all bad. Winners of series AT ranked Arizona State, AT ranked Baylor and AT ranked Wichita State the freeway hop behind the Orange Curtain to play AT UC Irvine will seem like an ordinary road weekend without metal detectors.
Of course considering the coolish aluminum that the Dirtbags have been featuring the past month opponents crack that Louisville Sluggers in the hands the 49ers are hardly a weapon to be watched. The quips range from friendly “pitching was huge again” and “the staff allowed just two runs all weekend” to sarcastic “for LBSU it's all pitching…the Beach boys couldn’t hit the ocean from a boat…”

So how does that master motivator and veteran Dirtbag tormentor Dave Serrano stir the passions of his Anteaters who enter the week 14-13 and 1-2 in the Big West? Last Friday he game planned a way to beat All-American Ricky Romero and CS Fullerton then dropped the next two. Of course earlier this season UCI swept then-No. 8 Washington and have single game wins over both Wichita State and USC. As a team the Eaters play in a yard that is also pitcher friendly and UCI’s ERA is 3.77 and they hit just a bit better than the Beach at .280 and field only exactly the same as LB .966. Like the Niners UCI has a fine closer in Blair Erickson (Big West Freshman of the Year) with a 1.06 ERA and five saves. The announced aces are right-handers Chris Nicoll and Justin Cassel. Nicoll improved to 4-1 on the season after leading the Irvine to that 5-1 win over the F word. Cassel went the whole distance in the Saturday loss allowing six runs on 10 hits. The power source for UCI’s are the No. 3 and 4 hitters, Mark Wagner out of Mayfair HS and Matt Anderson from Millikan, good ones that got away. They hit .467 and .438, respectively. The team also likes to run and they have already swiped 34 bases, one more than the team’s season total in 2004. Senior Danny Miramontes (Fallbrook/HS) leads the team, stealing 8 of 9 while second baseman Brett Dalton (Citrus Heights/Jesuit HS) is second, succeeding on 5 of 6 attempts.

NUMBERS DUST--Long Beach leads the series 49-37-1. The Anteaters took two non-conference wins off the Beach last season but was swept in Big West action. UCI’s last conference series win was in 2002 when the Anteaters swept the Dirtbags…on Tuesday UCLA became the latest victim of the Dirtbags pitching juggernaut…and that rabbit’s foot…the Beach won for the 6th time in their last at bat, 2-1…my web pal Jeff noted, “other than the 9th inning pitched by Neil Jamison (3-0, 0.00, 8 saves), the pitcher's mowing them down weren't "the usual suspects."…translated Hume, Evans, Andrade, Liebel, Hammond and Fitts with our closing ace Jamison slamming the door and picking up the W…to fill the space they are picking the regionals a tad early, but the first guessers have a Long Beach State hosting the likes of Rutgers, Clemson and Washington but don’t hold your breath…back to reality this weekend’s matchup will mark the sixth ranked opponent to take on the Anteaters this season…the last ranked team to pay a visit to the Eaters was then-No. 8 Washington against UC Irvine with another sweep…meanwhile, Fullerton visits Northridge….and co-BWC number one Cal Poly faces Pacific, which also has enjoyed some recent success. The Tigers have won three of their past four games, including last week’s win over then-No. 12 Stanford. The Mustangs and the Niners share the longest current winning streak in the conference with five straight….the rest of the mess has UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara will lock into their own non-conference series. The Highlanders beat UNLV Tuesday and now host Washington. Similarly, UC Santa Barbara Tuesdayed tiny Westmont and goes to UC Davis for three…AD speak about changing basketball coaches…”Steve Aggers did a great job for us, taking over a program that was arguably the worst in the country," LMU’s Bill Husak said. "He built the ship and got passengers on that ship and set it out toward the harbor. [But] I saw that ship going toward the rocks instead of into open water."…humm…breaking news, add Gregg Dobbs as another Niner in the show, joining Reed in Seattle…and say goodbye to women’s athletic trainer Deborah Williams who bolts the Beach for a drug rep job with the big money folks at Merck—DR. DAN


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November 2, 2005 at 4:57 PM  

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