Saturday, June 04, 2005

NO WILD CARD’S IN THIS WINNER’S BRACKET AS BAGS HOPE TO KEEP BATS ALIVE

Jose Hernandez came to the ball park Friday an unknown soldier. A batting average just a bit higher (.196) than his weight (170). In the press room the computer spits out pretty name tags anticipating the stars of the game. Sometime about the fifth inning the media guys had to get out a magic marker and make one for Jose because he single-handedly lifted the Beach to a scintillating 11-2 win over the Atlantic 10 Champion Rhode Island Rams and at the same time altered the name tag on skipper Mike Weathers from “what is he thinking” to “genius.”

Hernandez, an almost forgotten freshman was half of the stunning lineup twist that Weather’s offered up in the expectation of a long hard weekend. The other half of the equation was the almost forgotten Cody Evans who, like Jose, worked early in the season then primarily rode the pine. Hernandez’s line, from the nine hole, 3-5, a run scored and 5 RBIs. Evans, 7 innings, six hits, 2 runs, 6 Ks and a recovery from predictable first inning wobbles. “I always seem to have trouble in the first but Jose really helped me to settle down” Evans noted post game. Jose, who sheared away any Ram hope of an upset with a second inning three run bomb delivered to the fire guys beyond the left field wall, just gushed said his eyes got real big when he saw the Dirtbag welcoming committee waiting at home plate. “I just loved it when those guys started pounding on my head.” And his secret for getting prepared? "I was nervous, but my teammates, coaches and Ken Ravizza helped me settle down. This was the biggest game of my career so far and I had to stay calm." That makes sense since he had not had a hit since March 6 and made the most of his first start since April 20. Evans with his first LB win matched career-highs with seven innings and six strikeouts before handing the ball off to reliever Matt Fitts and Brett Andrade who threw blanks at URI in the eight and ninth, saving the big relievers Anderson and Jamison for another day, likely today. Other big bats for the Beach were catcher Chris Jones who drove in a pair of runs, hitting 2 for 3, Evan Longoria, three hits and an RBI, Boats a massive homer, and a triple by Godfrey. Tulo’s line was one hit, a run scored but the best glove work since Michael Jackson moved to Neverland.

BONUS DUST---The home team’s today, by coin flip, will be Pepperdine and USC so that mean’s the Beach will be back in their familiar first base dugout but as the visitors…SoCal’s Matt Cusick and Roberto Lopez starred for SC when each drove in a pair of runs in the critical first and Pepp never recovered…the boys of Troy added two runs in the 4th helped by an error by starting pitcher Paul Coleman (9-3) who was nervous from the anthem on…outside the yard one of the web guys (Niner Alum) figures that the Oakland A's, who were mired in an 8-game losing streak, got Bobby Crosby back and now have won every game since…“ the hitting has started to click, the defense is much better and his teammates are thrilled to see him back at shortstop. Some guys just seem to be more important to a team than just their numbers.”…at the LB super regional pairing in Corvallis pairing Oregon State needed a walk off home in the ninth to beat Ohio State who, like the NFL, is without Maurice Clarett…they drew a sellout crowd of 2,612 fans and OSU faces St. John's (40-16) tonight…the Red Storm beat Virginia 5-3…no smiley faces for Wichita State as Mike Pelfrey took a tough loss despite scattering eight hits in his complete game effort and striking out seven…more from the Weatherman, "Obviously getting to the Saturday win bracket was our objective and we did that…Cody was a little nervous, but he settled down and gave us the last few innings with some good pitches."…on Jose can you see the future… "He hasn't played much and hasn't had a hit since March, but we've had trouble in leftfield and I felt we needed a change….He stayed in there for what he did in the first inning. He's one of our best outfielders and he's only a freshman…as add ask Mike, “You might not agree with who I play or how I do things, but there comes a time when players are called on to step up. Jose hasn't played in a long time and he's changed some things during that off time and stepped up. Tonight he had the game of his life."…and how did the skipper sleep Friday night?”Facing Ian Kennedy is enough not to sleep because he is one of the best in the nation”…and on not using Cesar Ramos: "I feel both (Hughes and Estrada) match up better with USC. It's nothing against USC, but the other two can't be forgotten. Righthanders are better suited for USC.”…nice guy in the media tent was URI’s Frank Leoni, as upbeat and optimistic as his Wave counterpart Steve Rodriquez was downbeat and dour…Leoni on his team’s performance, “Besides the one bad inning we had, I think we played OK. We played a little bit tight. We made some mistakes like leaving pitches in the middle of the plate. Long Beach State is a good team and they took advantage of the mistakes we made. ”…around the conferences SEC is 9-0 so far but the Big West is perfect at 2-0 since a spelling bee did not break out on Nutwood and the F word crushed Harvard…Leoni again on the atmosphere getting to his rookie Rams, “Our guys didn’t do a good job controlling their adrenaline. They were fine in batting practice, but once we took the field and starting warm-ups you could see them starting to press. That carried over into the game…we were just shooting our bullets too quick.”…and Josh Nestor, Rhode Island Catcher on Cody Evans “All pitchers are good when they pitch for a good ball club. We respect each and every one of them. He had a good fast ball and a good slider on top of that.”

Even though the Dust was free many complaints about subject-verb agreement and the small print…well we will make the print real, or really, big…ticket counts from yesterday, Fullerton, 3604; LB, 2452; LSU 4990, Tulane, 3967; Oregon State, 2612; Texas, 5047; Clemson, 4925; Mississippi, 6701; Nebraska, 7669; Miami, 2360; ASU, 2280; Georgia Tech, 3261; Tennessee, 3123; Florida State, 6025 and Florida and Baylor had weather issues but they are playing today…scary numbers about Ian Kenned…he is nicknamed "Ike," has been the Trojans' No. 1 starter for two seasons and the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year….11-2 with a 2.44 ERA (103 1/3 IP, 73 H, 28 ER, 34 BB, 144 SO, .199 opponents' batting average) and struck out 14 in seven innings on May 13 against Washington State…that’s all fine, he hasn’t seen Jose yet—DR. DAN

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