Saturday, February 18, 2006


The engineers of those two baseball trains heading in different directions met at the Rice University station yesterday and rolled the dice. Mike Weathers rolled his lineup all around, moving his pre-season All American Evan Longoria into the leadoff and dropping his normal leadoff Robert Perry into the eight hole. Jim Gilligan, he of 29 years as the Lamar leader, went to his bull pen to try a left hander on a slumping Dirtbag lineup. Final score, the shuffled up Long Beachers 11 and the guess again Cardinals 6.

In the books it will look like number 15 Long Beach got their metal back in motion and pounded out 16 hits to end a four game win streak for Lamar and break a three game slide of their own. The Bags (now 5-3) started the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the first, with newly minted lead off guy Evan Longoria hitting the first pitch of the game over the left center fence off starter and loser Allen Harrington. Danny Espinosa then singled to right, moved to third on Sean Boatright's double down the left field line and scored on an infield ground out by Tito Cruz. A bunch of LB errors, including a shaky outing by winner Jared Hughes, let Lamar hang around for a while but in the third the 49ers extended their lead to 4-1 after PH Chris Lopez and Cruz both singled and hitting hero Scott “Scooter” Bradley, (who was 4-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBI), doubled down the right field line to drive in both runners. The Bags pushed the lead back to three runs, 6-3, with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to Bradley, another Struble stroll (three in the game) and a Chuck Sindlinger bang. Too close for comfort at that time the Beach put up a five spot in the sixth and then just tried to stay warm while the closing firm of Liebl, Shaw and Malott finished the work. Hughes (2-0) picked up the win for the 49ers, allowing five runs, two earned, on seven hits with one strikeout in six innings pitched but hit a batter, and muffed a couple of chances off the mound. “We want our pitcher’s to field but if they have to go very far to their left or right they should leave it to the infielders,” sayeth pitching boss Troy Buckley.

DOPPLER DUSTING: Hitting boss Mike Weathers defended his move of Longoria to leadoff noting that he had previously moved all stars Troy Tulowitzki and Bobby Crosby up to keep, “the other guys from pitching around them,” The results were impressive a season-high in runs (11) and hits (16) plus every starter had at least one hit…plus the newly patient Niners worked ten walks…Rice comes into the game today at 5-1 and are ranked as high as #2 nationally... they are picked to win Conference USA in their first year in the league... gone are the first round pitching trio , but Rice has a great shortstop Jose Rodriguez (.345), the team’s returning home run hitter and Mr. all-purpose Joe Savery (.382, 43 RBIs), who tosses today…Wayne Graham’s club went 45-19 last year and just missed Omaha, losing to Tulane in the Super Regionals... Savery was last year’s Freshman and WAC Pitcher and Player of the Year…last night Rice senior righty Eddie Degerman was dominating holding Oklahoma to no runs on one hit, fanning 11 over seven innings…Owl Greg Buchanan went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI and today’s Owl pitcher Savery had a couple of stinging hits down the line…he usually doesn’t swing in the games he throws…the Beach goes with Andrew Carpenter who was “solid” against Cal last Saturday, going 7 strong, one run on five hits…his ERA is 2.25 and no doubt Oklahoma will look on enviously since he verbal-ed to the Sooners before their coaching shakeup….the town is filled with the Bling Boys of the NBA running up room prices while the temps drop…maybe to 40 today at game time… After three weeks of the 2006 season completed, all eight Big West teams have compiled a winning percentage of .500 or above, with Pacific leading the way with a percentage of .833…scoreboarding: USC 10, Kansas 1; CSUF 13-UCI 7; SLO 11-SDSU 2; Southern Miss 6-Wichita State 5; Washington 7-CSUN 3…stay warm—DR. DAN


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