Monday, May 30, 2005


Champions. What a nice word, a destination, a destiny, nine letters that can last a lifetime. College baseball and basketball have a pretty uncomplicated system to disperse that honor; in fact every collegiate sport except D-1 football does it the same way.

Pick your best, let them play, and when the games are over the champion is crowned. We’ll get back to football in a minute but after weeks of cyber heat on the various internet web sites college baseball leaves the spin doctors for the scoreboards. Long Beach State as you know by now begins on Friday at 7 p.m. against Atlantic 10 Champion Rhode Island (34-19) following what should be a heck of a 3 p.m. game between USC (37-19) and red hot Pepperdine (38-21). The RI Rams, 15-9 on the road and a .318 batting average, will barely be recovered from the jet lag when they get a glance at the wide open spaces of Blair.

After the announcement was made all the host coaches said about the same thing. The NCAA issue these quotes earlier in the season so the guys on the hot spot can just fill in the blanks. "The biggest advantages in getting to host is our familiarity with the field and our great (fill in the blank) baseball fans," says proud but nervous home town head coach. ''It's definitely an advantage for anyone to be able to host,'' every coach would say; now we have to win.''

So what does the Niner skipper Mike Weathers have in mind for the first big step on that road to Omaha? “We want to win the weekend not just the first game,” suggesting that the normal rotation may be shaken and stirred. “We have rolled the dice before and we might just do it again.”

The shine on the Niner resume came largely through the great pitching, finishing as the best in the USA at 2.44 a notch better than Nebraska (2.51) who has the shortest road to Omaha (just a tornado touchdown away from Lincoln.

Looking over the LB regional field the big visiting dog is of course USC who swept the Beach, but those three games were decided by a mere four runs while the Niners traded 4-3 outcomes with Pepperdine.

First however is Rhode Island (34-19) who earned the Atlantic 10's automatic berth by sweeping through all three games of their conference tournament. The defending A-10 champs defeated Dayton 7-4 in the opener, then took down Richmond 8-3 and held off No. 2 seed George Washington 9-7 in the finals. It is their first NCAA Tournament and they come in ranked 23rd in the nation in team batting average at .318 and 25th in the country in team ERA at 3.69. But now is now.

POST-SEASON DUST--Six Dirtbags walked last week in campus graduation ceremonies and now that the NCAA is tracking that stuff degree completion is real important. Not such a nice walk for the underclassmen was out of the dorms to who knows where because housing closed last week and lots of out of town guys were scrambling to find three hots and a cot.

Joining the Beach as one of the anointed party hosts are (with the exception of newcomer Oregon State) all household-host names, Florida State; Florida; Miami; Georgia Tech; Clemson; Texas; Baylor; Fullerton; LSU; Ole Miss; Nebraska; Tennessee; Tulane; and Arizona State.

Our closing quote is from retiring but not shy President Bob Maxson who was offered a seat next to Mike and Charlotte Weathers at the selection show breakfast party. “I turned Mike down to sit next to Troy Tulowitzki because he’s going to make a lot more money than Mike next year.” –DR. DAN

Sunday, May 22, 2005


Sometimes you have more time than the time you want. This is that time.

The last Niner team standing, albeit like me with a little wobble in their stride, is Long Beach Baseball. My wobble came courtesy of arthroscopic surgery on my right knee. The Dirtbags limp came courtesy of Cal State Fullerton.

Everybody else is done, commencing you might say, or waiting until next year. The commencement ceremonies this week on campus is the official goodbye to about a hundred sporting seniors who join their President, Robert Clinton Maxson, is saying farewell to the college life.

Almost all of the kids now polish resumes instead of trophies. Very few go on to pro careers; a few will coach and teach. The CSULB Center for Student Athlete Services (CSAS) works with a total of about 450 individuals a year, 300 currently enrolled and about 150 coming back to finish up. Even the CSAS is graduating, from the old boiler room in the PE building to new offices built with part of the recent $2.1 million endowment by the Walter Family.

The teams and the coaches now go their separate ways, packing up seasons of hope, planning and plotting for the New Year. Softball returns a lot of offense and loses pitching. Water polo, tennis, golf and soccer are still knocking on the door of post-season glory. The gap is narrowing but not by much. For hoops, it’s not so much about crashing the trophy room as gaining respect. That gap is still wide.

So this weekend we will hear from the NCAA what the travel plans will be for the Dirtbags, maybe to see cousins at Arizona under the Tucson sun, dodging raindrops with Oregon State in Corvallis, cooking with Rice in Houston. Ruled out, mercifully, trips to Fullerton or Palo Alto. In the mean time, everybody will just sit and watch and wait for the next time.

WRAPPING DUST-The next home games at the Beach will come from the indoor setters and spikers of women's volleyball. Their schedule for 2005 features 19 matches against teams that advanced to last year's NCAA tournament including the opener just around the corner on August 26 against Long Island. A wrinkle this season for the Beach will be three tournaments, Michigan and Ohio State in the Ohio State tourney Sept 2-3, then off to the UNLV tourney, and then the University of San Diego tournament.

The ranked teams on the schedule (based on their final 2004 rankings) are #6 Ohio State, #12 San Diego, #13 St. Mary's, #16 Louisville, #21 UCSB, and #25 Florida A&M. The Beach finished the 2004 season un-ranked, return front row stalwarts Alexis Crimes and Erika Chidester, but has a major question mark at setter.

Last add baseball, the NCAA will announce the 16 regional sites this Sunday and the full 64-team bracket on Monday, Memorial Day at 8:30 a.m. With a strong RPI and a 3-3 season outcome against Fullerton, the Beach goes into the tourney through the front door. If you’ve got the time, the team and coaches will gather at Cirivello’s, 4115 Viking Way, for the announcement of the first hurdles on that rough and rocky road to Omaha. Breakfast and beyond.—DR. DAN

Monday, May 16, 2005


The measure of sports and sports men and women ought to be the joy of the game. Sometimes we get blinded by the bright lights.

Softball’s Panita Thanatharn started the 2003 season on fire. Ten hits in her first 14 at bats, four doubles, a home run and then an awful leg injury. Two years later her trip to Fresno this weekend is a tribute to just not quitting in the training room and on the field A senior carrying the lowest average on the team, Panita’s love of the game and her team is what victory is all about.

Baseball’s Steve Velazco came into town on his own dime at 5-9 and about a buck fifty four years ago. His freshman year he invented himself as a pinch runner, and got into 22 games. Sophomore season the Dirtbags recruited a bunch of guys to play his position, all bigger and stronger so Steve reinvented himself as reliable and speedy outfielder, no errors in 101 attempts. His junior year average dropped but his acrobatic catches won a number of big games (twice over Fullerton) and the hearts of fans, particularly kids in the five foot height category. This is his senior season and although his team has an important visit this weekend to Fullerton nobody in that chippy assembly will have anything but admiration for the man who is called “The Mouse”.

So this weekend the big names will get all the spotlights. No. 24-ranked Long Beach State Softball team makes its third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Regionals playing host Fresno State Thursday night. The almost top ten baseball team meanwhile goes to number one Fullerton for the latest in their cross-county feuding and fussing. Win three and the Bags win the Big West and host their own regional. Stay tuned, but don’t just keep your eyes on the stars.

DUSTING UP-The rest of the Softball regional includes the favorite and No. 2 National Seed, California (46-11) who plays BYU (44-12) in the Thursday nightcap. Winners play on Friday as the round one losers play an elimination game. The difference that FSU will see in this team is that these Niners can really hit.
“In the past, : skipper Pete Manarino would say, “we kind of felt that it would take a perfect pitching game to stay alive but I think it we just defend and pitch well our bats will carry us through.” Except for the Bulldog encounter at least the Italian folks in Fresno are quite find of Pete and once brought a sign that said, “We love you Pete, now get out of town.”. Fun weekend if those bats stay hot and the 49ers have won 22 of their last 24 games heading into post-season play.

Last weekend’s tortured analogy was baseball is many things but pitching is the bear. Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you. The Dirtbag Bears, especially Ramos, Hughes and the sensational senior stoppers Anderson and Jamison kept the dream alive against a surprising SLO team that Weathers says, “like us, they will be really tough in the post season.”
Now the who’s getting a regional report My take is that the Niners need two of three this weekend, need to beat a tired USC in a make-up game sandwiched between their two important PAC Ten series and get ready to host the first weekend in June.
Last add name dropping. Former LB associate athletic director Steve Holton has gotten a plum new post as the #2 at CAL working under Anne "Sandy" Barbour. He will be the principal administrator for the Bear’s resurgent football team and will figure in what the UC Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau estimates will be $200 million in improvements for sporting facilities.—DR. DAN

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Baseball is many things but pitching is the bear. Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you. Friday, the LBS Bears ate SLO 4-1. Saturday the SLO Bears ate the Dirtbags 4-1. Welcome to rubber Sunday on must-win-weekend.

If you insist on numbers officially it was 12th ranked Long Beach (now 34-17, 12-5 Big West) losing to 19th ranked Cal Poly (32-17, 10-4 Big West) and today both team’s post season future is on the line--not getting in--both will make it--but getting a good seed and in the case of the Niners, keeping alive the hope of hosting a Regional. Just as Cesar Ramos snuffed the ‘Stangs Friday, Jimmy Shull, giant killer last Saturday over top ranked Fullerton, pitched a complete game four-hitter. His list of local victims included Marco Estrada, who this time last year wasn’t even playing baseball, and Sean Boatright. Estrada flew under opponent radar early enroute to a 7-0 record until last Saturday when early wobbles led to a loss at UCSB. Same story, not quite as bad, yesterday. Boatright meanwhile had this marvelous 27 game hit streak on the line and whacked the ball hard four times but nothing went in the book. If you need more details than that you won’t get it here.

SUNDAY MY DUST WILL COME—thanks to the 4,000 plus buyers of game programs who kindly read the Dust and the one million more who dusted via the Gazette, the Blog, or the website… listed as a senior, expect Kyle Bradburry to take this as a medical redshirt year…and how great has it been to have a real scholar athlete around in the form of senior Danny Mocny…back to Cal Poly talk, one respected SLO figure told me that “I think Larry and Jerry have it rolling now”…that would be head coach Larry Lee and the wizardly Jerry Weinstein…doesn’t look like the green and gold are a flash in the pan…they are building a Fresno State type of program since Fresno can’t or won’t…

scoreboarding Pacific 12, Northridge 5; Irvine 7, UC Davis 0; Riverside 14, UCSB 1…and tracking those regional competitors, UCLA upset Stanford Saturday and Arizona State whipped Arizona so the PAC Ten is still up in the air…Saturday's loss kept the Cardinal in fifth-place in the Pac-10 standings…Oregon State leads the conference with a 16-4 Pac-10 record, Arizona (12-3, 1.5 GB) is just a game ahead of ASU for second-place, then USC (11-6, 3.5 GB), Stanford (9-8, 5.5 GB), California (11-10, 5.5 GB) etc…now the who’s getting a regional report, I don't agree that OSU is a lock...they only have 2000 seats, never hosted and, as Dave Snow reminded me, it RAINS up there ---three negatives in the mind of the selection committee…CSUF and LBSU are in but very likely the third BWC bid will come from the winner of the UCI-SLO series if CP doesn’t run the table over LB and UCR…my public policy pal Dick Morrow, long time mayor of Pismo Beach, in town doing color for SLO radio and fortunately for me bringing talented cookie-making wife Nancy with him…more talented wives, chances are the bride of Friday’s first pitcher Dean Ron Vogel—Prof. Brenda Vogel--will get the ball to the dish at CSUF without killing as many worms as Ron did…and one of his departments is KPE…Jewels had a big crowd, raised over 50 grand in the live auction alone, and a bunch more on the silent auction items…

President Bush hosted four NCAA champs Friday, Stanford (WVB), Notre Dame and Indiana (men’s and women’s soccer) and the Titans …it was a nine minute show--start time of 2:02 and end at 2:11…he too teased the Titan head coach…from the White House transcript…“I really appreciate what Coach Horton said about the championship victory, "I still have chills. It's not from the cold water that was dropped on my head." (Laughter.) You don't have much hair to protect your head anyway”…blame Bush not me…the NCAA baseball committee has no CA rep…members are from Florida State, Tulane, Mississippi State, Princeton, Siena, UNC Greensboro, Bowling Green, Villanova, SW Missouri State and UNLV…

post game today join the 49er softball team for the NCAA Selection show at Cirivello's (4115 Viking Way) for the live announcement of the D-I Softball Regionals….4:30 to 5:00 pm on ESPN News…is it just me or does college baseball now have more and longer meetings than the UN? the Niner hopes hinge on the sinker-sliders of Jared Hughes (7-2, 2.42) vs. SLO's out-of-the-bullpen Sunday guy Gary Daley (5-1, 4.71)…the season has been fun, see you down the road—DR. DAN


The electricity in the air on Friday the 13th didn’t have much to do with medieval superstitions. It was more up to date.

If you ask upstart Cal Poly if they came in with any special fear (in the literature it is called “paraskevidekatriaphobia”) they likely would have just mumbled “cesarramos.” In history Friday the 13th is the day that the Knights Templar were said to have been decimated, the time of the great flood, the destruction of Solomon's temple, and the crucifixion. But almost every Friday LB ace Cesar Ramos (now 10-5) decapitates some team and this time CR took a shutout into the ninth. He threw 120 pitches, a career high, but said “I wasn’t tired, I just made a bad pitch and they came and got me.” Maybe Mike Weathers had that para fear because afterward he said, “I just knew that we needed to win this game and that Anderson could do it.”

Anderson did. Five pitches, four strikes and the final out as the No. 12 Dirtbags (now 34-16 and 12-4 in the Big West) beat SLO back to third place with a 2:45 minute 4-1 execution of the No. 19 Mustangs. The live bats were led by Chris Jones who drove in two, Troy Tulowitzki and Danny Mocny, two hits a piece, and oh yes Battling Sean Boatright who fought off a full count in the seventh inning, slapped one into right and is now one hit away from the school-record for consecutive hits, 27, got all he needed early when Tulo and Boatright scored after CP right fielder Jimmy Van Ostrand's throw got away from catcher Kyle Blumenthal. Steve Velazco singled to center to knock in one more and then Jones safety squeezed in another. Velazco closed the contest with a run- saving game-ending dive in the ninth and the drive to be a post-season “host” not “traveling toast” continues.

DUST BUSTERS—the LB team ERA dropped to NCAA best 2.27…chaser Nebraska is 2.48 after a 9-4 win over Texas Tech last night…and this stat from SLO beat writer Brian Milne “the 49ers are challenging a Big West team ERA record that has stood since 1970 when Fresno State compiled a 2.34 ERA:...a warm welcome to all Joes’s on Joe Day…even Baseball America saluted the caped crooner Elvis Joe Ballsinger, he of wig and sombrero, as a star of between innings excitement…come to think of it Lisa Marie looks a bit like him...more name dropping…Anaheim mayor Curt Pringle, who has a darned good NFL stadium plan, is a former student of mine…hope he puts me on the pass list…next weekend DL note...Titan pitcher Ryan Schreppel, fresh off arthroscopic knee surgery, is back and pitching and your editor goes for the same surgery, right knee, Wednesday and is questionable for the CSUF series…speaking of Titans, those NCAA academic stats have been updated and a number of local teams are below the magic 900 minimum number in scholastic progress as follows--Fullerton: baseball (886), men's basketball (750), men's track (867); Irvine: men's basketball (871), men's tennis (884), baseball (892); UCLA: women's basketball (867), football (868), men's soccer (871); USC: men's basketball (771), men's track (879)…in the house Friday night a bushel of big lead brass including former Toronto, Baltimore and Seattle general manager Pat Gillick, Benny Looper -- Mariners vice president, player development and scouting and, missing the Dodger’s sold-out home win, Paul DePodesta, Vice President & GM…ps Paul, Jeff Weaver took a no hitter into the sixth and he has this clone called Jered who would look great in Blue

BWC scoreboard…Pacific 13, Cal State Northridge 6; UC Irvine 3, UC Davis 1; UCSB 10, UCR 9…plus Oregon State 7, Washington 0; Stanford 3, UCLA 2; USC 9, WSU 1…Q & A with the Weatherman--DD-Is this the lineup you will stick with? MW- you know me, I will probably change it. DD- why bunt so much? MW-Olson is very good, that’s why all those guys were here to see him…he doesn’t give you very much DD- It looked like you might have taken a page from Pete Manarino and used that softball style fake bunt and slap? MW-hey did he win today (yes won two) MW you know he’s starting to tick me off…end of interview…you might have heard that Titan coach George Horton was tossed at SLO after a call at the plate…SLO insiders say that wasn’t the reason it was when the ump noticed his very full cheeks he asked if George was using some “dip”, smokeless tobacco…he said yes and they said goodbye…NCAA rule…SLO saved a hotel Thursday night driving down Friday leaving campus at 7 a.m. and breakfasting in Camarillo…easy on the budget--tough on the body—DR. DAN

Friday, May 13, 2005


They scored 16 runs in the three games at Santa Barbara, almost twice their scoring output coming in. Sean Boatright stretched his consecutive game hit streak to 26 despite some pressure ABs batting behind Troy Tulowitzki. Tulo upped his average to .372 and the pro talent scouts on hand last weekend, (Boston sent a very attentive representative and the Rockies guy Dave Snow was there too) whispered that TT could be not just a first round pick in June but the first overall pick.

Oh did I forget to mention that both of the Niners ace stoppers, Brian Anderson and Neil Jamison just made one appearance and gave up nada. Oh did I also forget to mention that UCSB, a Dirtbag nightmare last year sweeping the Beach at Blair, jumped on starters Ramos and Estrada for big crooked numbers early on Friday and Saturday and your homeboys got whipped 8-6, 7-6 before sneaking by on Sunday 4-3. Ouch, but with only a mild slap on the wrist from the polls (down 1 spot in Baseball America, three in Collegiate Baseball) the season goals and the regional hosting dream are still very much in front of the Beach boys. Of course directly in front is a remarkable baseball team from Cal Poly (31-16, 9-3 Big West). They played Fullerton tough enough despite losing 2 of 3 they move up to No. 19 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

Against Fullerton, SLO out hit the Titans in all three games of the series, outscored them 9-7 and out hit them 27-16. Their only win was delivered by the strong arm of Saturday starter Jimmy Shull. The two losses were by identical 3-1 scores. Tonight the Cole Slaw will be served by Garrett Olson and on Sunday Gary Daley takes the hill. The offense has been steady but not spectacular. Mustang starters are Bret Berglund (.277) at first, Brent Walker (.303) at second, Drew Gillmore (.230) at shortstop, Josh Lansford (.289) at third, Matt Cooper (.309) in left field, Brandon Roberts (.345) in center, Jimmy Van Ostrand (.381) in right, Kyle Blumenthal (.396) behind the plate and JJ Owen (.344) as designated hitter. The Mustang closer is senior right-hander Mike Bille, among the nation’s leaders in saves with 11.

LINE DUST-The MLB draft will likely take a bunch of juniors out of town along but Senior Sunday will only salute Cole Jacobsen, Neil Jamison, Steve Valazco, and Brian Anderson…maybe we could add Jered to the festivities...Brandon Godfrey came back with gusto after missing 10 games for violating team rules…he homered and got four RBIs at UCSB…lots of regional host chat going on but the issue at Oregon State is seats…the Beavs have about 2,000 and need 3,000…plus LB bid for years before getting one, so OSU may have a dry run…to hoops, the 2005-06 men’s team newcomers are all JUCO, can you say “win now”…Reynold’s is counting on big effort from Onye Ibekwe but the web wags think that his fastest route to success is as a tight end in the NFL…

Former Dirtbag Casey Grzecka has signed to play catcher with Chico in the new league…maybe he can throw out San Diego’s ageless (47) Rickey Henderson…speaking of old timers, my Dean Ron Vogel throws out the first pitch tonight and his wife and uber fan Brenda, formerly a prof at CSUF, will do the same next weekend down there!...her old colleagues bought the gig for her… has reshuffled their regional deck and still likes Long Beach to host, this time with a visitor who is usually our host Stanford…they would be the #2 seed with LB playing 4 seed UNLV and the Cards taking on Pepperdine. The other west hosts would be CSUF, Oregon State and Arizona….but a lot of ifs before then…the Mustangs just need to finish third or better to get in for the first time since moving to Division I in 1995…former LB assoc. AD Steve Holton has gotten a plum new post as the #2 at CAL working under Anne "Sandy" Barbour…he will be the principal person for the Bear’s resurgent football team and pick up a couple of other sports…Barbour came to Berkeley after being deputy director of athletics at Notre Dame and athletic director at Tulane…UC’s Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau has promised a major,($200 million) fund drive for facilities…

last add last weekend…nothing better than post game dining with the gulping gourmet Darryl Wright, the legendary lineman for some of the great Niner football teams back when…”you only look at places that have a line, and ask the servers”…at the Palace Grill we had the best Cajun redfish in history and then found a hole in the wall Mexican place that he swears Julia Child patronized.—DR. DAN

Sunday, May 08, 2005


Today’s sporting field trip is to the safe deposit box to check out our various precious gems, including some baubles that may well be available at the annual Jewels of the Night fund raiser Saturday night in the Pyramid. The official ads elsewhere in your Gazette give you all that info so we will stick to the diamonds that we know best.

Long Beach softball does believe that Diamonds are a girl’s best friend and they wear them as Big West Champions for the second straight season after a weekend sweep by the Sweethearts of Swat on the campus field. That accomplishment improved LB’s record to 36-14, 16-2 in the Big West and likely another rise in the top 25 polls.

If took forever to get her eligible but transfer slugger Oli Keohohou is now in the heart of the Beach lineup and on Sunday her solo home run in the fourth inning tied the game at 1-1, and her RBI single in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and the bases loaded was the final difference. Her team mate Meredith Cervenka collected her 22nd win, fourth most in a single-season in school history.

Long Beach State has won five conference championships since 1996, and has posted a 51-8 mark in conference play since the 2003 season. In their 18 conference games they are hitting .317 and have 24 home runs, unheard of in ladies softball. Oh yes, they still have three games left, all this weekend at UC Riverside. On Sunday the regional bids come out and if our fair-minded friends at the NCAA finally do the right thing the Niners will host a regional at Mayfair Park. Of course the perfume-filled room can be as unfair as the smoke-filled ones that shafted men’s volleyball.

Switching locker rooms the baseball diamond gang suffered last weekend in Santa Barbara when those pesky Gauchos had two really big innings, with some gusty winds and the return of a fallen star, and beat the Beach boys two of three. On Sunday All-American shortstop Troy Tulowitzki drove in two runs, including the go-ahead run in the ninth to allow LB to avoid the sweep. Hitting just behind Tulo, Sean Boatright gets some pressure ABs but has run his consecutive game hit streak to 26. Tulo upped his average to .372 and the pro talent scouts on hand were whispering that he could be not just a first round pick in June but the first overall pick.

Your last local chance to check out the Dirtbag stretch run is this weekend because the last three home games are with BWC title-contending Cal Poly and that MLB draft will likely take a bunch of juniors out of town along with seniors Cole Jacobsen, Neil Jamison, Steve Valazco, and Brian Anderson. Games are Friday night and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. And yes that team ERA went up a bit to 2.30, but it is still the best in the land.

Last of the post-season notes is that Long Beach State freshman Kay Hoey finished fifth in the NCAA West Regionals at the New Mexico State University and that finish qualifies her for the NCAA Championships as an individual which will be held May 17-20 at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon. Her closing quote, “"I'm really excited. My mental game has really been good and I've been putting everything together. I've been able to get myself out of trouble. It's nice to be playing well, especially since it's coming at the end of the season." Hope those diamond entries can say the same.—DR. DAN

Monday, May 02, 2005


In our continuing campus tour of Diamond Dust U we will spend part of our time today visiting the training table. Everyone knows you need to start the day with a good breakfast so let’s see what’s on the menu.

First course of course is juice, and what better source of course than the volleyball sons of Westwood at UCLA. The record will show that the Bruins wobbled badly down the stretch losing to Long Beach 3-1, escaping lowly UC San Diego 3-2 with an 18-16 game five, then lost to CSUN at home in the first round of the MPSF in front of a meager 644. By comparison LBSU drew 1886 for UCLA visits to the Pyramid. For the season UCLA averaged a very modest 748 per game.

Meanwhile the Beach boys resume was pretty darn good, particularly down the stretch, the widely accepted standard for selecting post season participants. The Niners won 12 of their last 14 leading up to the Pepperdine final and split the two MPSF matches with both the Waves and the Bruins. .So who gets the NCAA Final Four at-large, look for the juice and get ready to root for Penn State.

Next up we have a choice of eggs for you scrambled and soft-boiled. The scrambled eggs belong to Niner women’s tennis who’s clever coach Jenny Hilt scrambled her line-up for the Big West championships and came home with the big hardware. The soft-boiled huevos, if you permit a tortured analogy, are the Beach’s Sweethearts of Swat softball team. They won another series last weekend, are 13-2 in the league, and comfortably on top. This weekend they would be pleased to serve you on campus when UCSB comes to town Saturday and Sunday.

Your morning java comes from Dirtbag baseball, who always serves visitors the hot stuff from a pitching staff that leads the nation in team ERA with a stifling 2.04 but now has added some scoring cream to the coffee. Last weekend the Niners upped their overall record to 32-14, (22-6 at home), 10-2 in conference and hovering around the top ten in the polls. This weekend they go the People’s Republic of Isla Vista, a.k.a. UC Santa Barbara, where the Gaucho’s are better at torching sofas in the street than visiting pitchers on their diamond.

Finally, I was going to write about toast with your meal, but the kinder gentler side of me suggested that I stop right here. I need a nap now so enjoy your meal and kill the light on your way out.

IN DUST WE TRUST--Freshman golfer Brett Lederer finished fourth individually at the BWC championships, (his team was two strokes out of third) but has another sporting connection. His granddad was the PT’s Dodgers beat writer during the Koufax/Drysdale era and later handed that job over to our now retired pal Gordon Verrell.
Highlight of the baseball weekend was Saturday. The weather was great (72 degrees), the pitching terrific (a three hit shutout), the hitting lusty (9 runs, 17 hits, four of them over the walls), the defense stingy (zero errors, some circus catches and a double play) all performed in a crisp 2:42. And Gordie would have also liked Friday’s time of game, 2:22 and Sunday’s 9-1 contest took only 2:46.
…Long Beach State freshman Kay Hoey was selected to compete at the 2005 NCAA West Regional to be played this weekend at the New Mexico State University Golf Course in Las Cruces. Yes they have their own course.
Last add Sigalerts. All that traffic in spikes joining the Beach in heading north are the Big West baseball southerners going on the road this weekend. Fullerton is at Cal Poly, Irvine visits Pacific and Riverside goes to UC Davis.

Closing quote from Mike Weather’s who lectured his charges after Friday’s 4-0 victory to “stay prepared and to respect the game. I’m worried that we are getting into some bad habits and we better carry some momentum to UCSB because it’s always tough up there.”—DR. DAN

Sunday, May 01, 2005


I don’t know if they were filming an infomercial for Dirtbag baseball Saturday afternoon but they should have. The weather was great (72 degrees), the pitching terrific (a three hit shutout), the hitting lusty (9 runs, 17 hits, four of them over the walls), the defense stingy (zero errors, some circus catches and a double play) all performed in a crisp 2:42.

If you insist on names with your numbers we offer Troy Tulowitzki who slammed two home runs, Marco Estrada and Matt Fitts who combined on a three-hit shutout,; Chuck Sindlinger, 3-4, HR, 2 RBI; Steve Velazco, 2-5; Sean Boatright, 2-4, 2B; Tito Cruz, 2-3; Scott Bradley, 2-4, 2 RBI; Evan Longoria, 1-5, HR, 2 RBI; Chris Jones, 1-4; Tom Sarti, 1-4, that give you something to chew on. Supposedly the long balling was a Blair Field record but around the land four big flies isn’t really special. But everywhere in the land the Niner pitching is legendary. The Beach boys have the nation's best team ERA of 2.09 and ran its scoreless steak to 20 straight innings. It was a season-high 17 hits for the Niners and Scooter Bradley had his fourth-straight multi-hit game with two hits.

BAGGING DUST—the last time LBSU had four home runs at Blair Field was April 9, 1999 when current Mariner Greg Dobbs hit two for the Dirtbags, and Jaeme Leal and 2004 American League Rookie of the Year Bobby Crosby hit one a piece…minor league and high school records were not available…Estrada was nails again, facing just three over the minimum and retiring the final eight batters on a mere 92 pitches…needing to get some work for somebody Buck summoned Fitts who was perfect… the only so-so stat for the Niners is home attendance where the 27 dates average just 1313…golf news not involving coaches is pretty good…Long Beach State freshman Kay Hoey was selected to compete at the 2005 NCAA West Regional to be played May 5-7 at the New Mexico State University Golf Course in Las Cruces...yes they have their own course, but Niner director of golf Bob Livingstone at least has a practice center at Big Rec and great contacts with Virginia, Old Ranch and others…this from the great Midwest, Wichita State pulled off two home ESPN TV games and in an effort to fill seats ran ads for the mid-weekers featuring Friday night ace Mike Pelfrey…but of course he would not pitch on a Tuesday or Wednesday so fans gave the WSU marketing director a hard time….who’s he, former LBSU marketing director Brian Pracht…he defended the ads by saying that Pelfrey "is the face of the program."…whatever works…tennis is still resting for their NCAA tourney but will get to move a dual match (maybe Nebraska) next March 16 to Indian Wells and play it on the grounds of the WTA/ATP Pacific Life Open…great exposure…I figure that Ramos and Estrada may owe the pen .some money by not giving the scouts a chance to see Neil and Brian…maybe today…Neil, who turned down some serious 8th round dough from the Mets last summer now has 25 career saves to his credit…the record is safe however, the all-time leader is Gabe Gonzalez (1992-95) with 46…on the other diamonds, the No. 25-ranked Long Beach State softball team kept its lead on second-place Cal Poly in the BWC standings after splitting its double-header with the Mustangs yesterday…pitcher Marcel Torres hit a solo homerun the top of the seventh to give the 49ers a 4-2 lead and then the win…Scoreboarding on Saturday Cal Poly 11, Sacramento State 1; Fullerton 10, UC Santa Barbara 5; UC Irvine 6, Cal State Northridge 2; UC Riverside 10, Pacific 6 and around the top 25 scores of interest: Missouri (24) 7, Texas (1) 2; Miami (4) 12, Maryland 8; Florida (5) 18, Tenn 9; Clemson 6, Ga Tech (8) 5; Vandy (25) 9, LSU (9) 4; Arizona (10) 7, USC (21) 2; Arizona State (20) 3, Oregon State (11) 1; and Texas Tech 3, Baylor (16) 2…translated, all of the big kids stub their toe once in a while…big series next weekend with CSUF at SLO…Niner water polo fans in a funk over late season losses to UCSB and Hawaii which likely will keep the Beach out of the expanded 8 team NCAA tourney…v-ball will head about game time today if they edged out UCLA for the Final Four next weekend at Pauley...Tulo’s second dinger bounced into the sand trap at Big Rec’s Number 14 and the golfers on the green looked for the right wedge to send it back—DR. DAN