Thursday, February 16, 2006


One team has lost three in a row and travels to cold and blustery Houston for redemption. The other team just swept three last weekend and comes to town seeking an exclamation point in the polls.

Following a 3-game sweep of Texas-Pan American, Lamar enters this weekend’s Coca-Cola Classic at Rice’s fancy Reckling Park trying to shake up the pollsters by beating No. 15 and slumping Long Beach State.
Like the Dirtbags, Lamar (4-2) also plays Oklahoma and No. 4-ranked Rice (4-1) in this party. For the Cards they face the Niners for the first time but aren’t afraid of anybody, especially after a 21-9 win over the Sooners earlier this season. Jared Hughes gets the Friday nod for pitching guru Troy Buckley but the Beach bats are beginning to be the question mark for the Niners. After the USC series and 7 runs last Friday at Cal, the Bags offense has virtually disappeared. Lamar soph Allen Harrington, plucked from the pen with a 2.79 ERA and 2 saves, starts for the Cards. LB’s JH is 1-0 with a 4.35 ERA.

The Lamar bats are led by junior Ryan Baker who may be the best hitter in the nation. He leads the team in batting with a .680 average with nine runs scored, two doubles and 10 runs batted in. He hit .636 with five runs scored and five RBI in the three-game sweep of UT Pan Am. He has hit safely in all six games this season. The other live aluminum comes from senior C.J. Ebarb, 2nd on the team in hitting with a .500 average with six runs scored, three doubles, two home runs and a team-leading 12 RBI. He hit .556 with a double, two 3-run home runs and nine RBI in the series last weekend. Lamar is hitting .363 as a team with 61 runs scored (10.17 pg), 81 hits (13.5), 17 doubles (2.83) and five home runs. Cardinal hitters have walked 24 times and struck out 37 times. The pitching staff has a 4.68 team ERA with 59 strikeouts and 26 walks in 50.0 innings pitched, and are limiting opponents to a .233 batting average. After the fast start by LB against Southern California, Long Beach State dropped two of three at California and is coming off a 3-2 loss at Pepperdine on Tuesday. Brandon Godfrey now leads the team in hitting with a .400 batting average with a double and four RBI. Sean Boatright is hitting .308 with six runs scored, five doubles, two home runs and seven RBI. LBSU is hitting .300 as a team with 33 runs scored (4.71), 65 hits (9.28), 15 doubles (2.14), two triples and four home runs. The 49ers have walked 25 times and struck out 35 times. The pitching staff has a 3.60 team ERA with 25 strikeouts and 18 walks in 60.0 IP. Defensively the Niners have been solid breaking in new talent up the middle in shortstop Danny Espinosa and centerfielder Robert Perry. Mentally, the team has been in a bit of a slump, runners getting picked off, swinging early in the count and not playing their patented little ball very well. With Rice and Oklahoma coming up under these same gray skies the Bags will have to find their own sunshine to get back on track.

SMALL PRINT DUSTING FOR THOSE WITH GREAT EYESIGHT-This is the first of two trips by the Beach trying to mess with Texas…Against Cal in Berkeley the Beach boys survived the Friday game and then gave up leads on Saturday and Sunday to lose the next two... In hoops, Larry Reynold’s resume got some polish with a win over Fullerton and the lads are East this weekend for a bracket buster game at Manhattan…the Titan win pretty well sewed up a first round BWC bye…softball beat UCLA 1-0 and the lady hoop Niners won 74-59 at Cal Poly last night… plug for my free room and board…my sister Betsy asked how the Dirtbags were doing I explained that Cal hit six baseballs over the fence and the Waves beat us with a two run bomb…she suggested that next time Coach Weathers have his outfielders stand on top of the wall… closing quote comes from former Dirtbag now Milwaukee Brewer Chris Demaria. He’s 25 now, gets a pro paycheck, but still plays fantasy baseball at home. Chris told the Daily Breeze that he did his mock draft before leaving for big league camp. So what happens if Demaria trots in from the bullpen only to face a guy on his fantasy team? "It's a fun way to look at a lot of the pressure you face in the big leagues"—DR. DAN


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