Friday, February 03, 2006


Welcome back to a season-opening-football-free session of notes on our napkin where we promise to not mention the NFL, chip or dip until at least the seventh inning stretch on Sunday.

Back to the present, ain’t it great to be just three days into February and we got game. That wow comes from the best pitching match-up in the land with SC’s Ian (Ike-like) Kennedy and Jared (Weaver-like) Hughes. Officially the visitors are No. 17/18 and the home boys are somewhere between 16 and 22. LB has five starters from 2005 that went 37-22 before stumbling at home in a Regional that included the Boys of Troy. The Niner brain trust is led by Mike Weathers (157-84 in his fifth season) and a somewhat shuffled coaching staff with the subtraction of Don Barbara (now at Sac State) and the addition of former Dirtbag Jon Strauss. Mr. Hughes blossomed last season after settling some control issues and like Kennedy is on the 2006 Roger Clemens Award Watch List He was 8-3 with a 2.83 ERA last season but locals are still smarting over the note that SC swept the 49ers in four games last season. Like the Beach USC was picked to finish second in their conference behind Oregon State (Niners second behind the CSUF). Kennedy has been the Trojans' No. 1 starter for two seasons, a returning All-American and his press guys say is a “lock as a first-round selection in the 2006 draft.” He has a career 19-5 record with a 2.70 ERA and 278 strikeouts.

The mystery however is the guys behind Hughes and Kennedy, will speedy leadoff guy Robert Perry go nuts on the base paths, does Cape League and pre-season All American Evan Longoria make the visitors feel desperate, and after 80 pitches who comes in from either pen to finish the contest? The Beach rotation is Hughes, then Carpenter then Whorley (he of five shutout frames against the alums last weekend.) The Trojans secret weapon is “Hammering” Cyle Hankerd who batted .383 (44-for-115) with nine dingers and 36 RBI last summer. The edge at closing goes to the experience of SC’s Junior Paul Koss (4-1, 2.81 ERA and 14 saves last year.) In the other dugout LB lost the best closing tandem in the land when Brian Anderson and Neil Jamison took the money and ran. Auditions begin tonight.

NAPKIN DUSTING--Kennedy led country with 158 Ks before his Team USA summer duties and throws four pitches for strikes…the question is how much juice does he have and how long will Mike let Ike work…back to LB from the warm sands of Cocoa Beach, FL my first stop was the Leadoff Dinner featuring Astro bull-penner Mike Gallo who told the 2006 Dirtbag bunch the secret to winning big in the Big West. “Every time I pitched in a big game, like when we won at Stanford, I just imaged all those hitters were wearing Fullerton uniforms.”…big crowd tonight because of Niner giant Hughes-- 6-7 and a headhunter of batters leaning over the dish--and Trojan matinee idol Kennedy…expect more radar guns in the stands than the CHP on the 405…tuning up last weekend, the Niners roughed up their pro alums behind the bats of Desperate Dirtbag Longoria (3-for-5 with 2 RBIs) and Santa Clara transfer/leadoff speedster Perry (2 hits, 2 runs)…two sensational freshmen led the mound work, Sunday starter Whorley was nails for half the game and Scott Turmail pitched three no-hit, shutout innings to mop up…Andrew Carpenter will be the Saturday starter…last season he was 8-2, 3.15 for Sac City…true freshman Worley was the top pitching draft prospect in northern California in 2005 and would have been drafted in the first couple rounds except for a bum elbow in late season….on the foam front, the good news is we are pouring…LBSU rents this off-campus field unlike the Pyramid seating

EX-Rated News Dept…The San Diego Padres of San Diego are happy with their Dirtbag connection, first-round pick Cesar Ramos and sixth-round selection, Neil Jamison. At Eugene, OR Neil was lights-out in 25 appearances and then took it up a notch at Fort Wayne, with 12 strikeouts and five walks in 10 innings. His blood lines include father, Tom who played baseball at Santa Clara and mother, Kathy, a softball player at San Diego State…next EX is an assistant from the original 1989 D Bag bunch Dave “Mousetrap” Malpass who was just named the major league advance scout for the Cleveland Indians…Malpass is the guy who came up with the term Dirtbags when his infielders came back into the locker room after collecting a lot of soil from Whaley Park… and more Ex-factor from Sacto…“It's great, I love it here,” former Niner asst. Don Barbara said of Sac State. “It's different here, but it is a good different. Being in the WAC is a great opportunity for us to make a name for Sac State.” ..last add other new guys, names to watch include SS Danny Espinosa from the CIF state champions; and freshman lefthander Shane Peterson who the SIDs swear you will see as a “two-way player in the mold of former Dirtbag Jason Vargas”…that would be nice…last add, Dust Direct email via—DR. DAN


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