Thursday, March 02, 2006


Deuces are wild, that favorite scoreboard saying, becomes reality this weekend when number 23 Baylor (hitting a less than robust .225) visits Long Beach for one of those rare top twenty college baseball match-ups. The homeboys come in at number 15 but still in shock after watching a UCLA reserve hit a two run homer; out of Blair; at night; on a wet night. There is no time for backward glances because this Bear team mirrors the Beach with stout pitching, defense and comes in off their most successful eight-year run in the program's 100-year history punctuated by a 2005 College World Series appearance.

The BU-LB meeting is the fourth annual match-up but likely the last for a while. The Niners (9-5) dropped their Tuesday tune-up 6-3 to the Bruins at home while Da Bears (7-2) edged Texas State 4-3 but the Beach boys have won five of its last seven, and lead the overall series 9-3. Once again the radar guns and pro scouts will be out in force for another pitching showcase, starting with tonight’s battle between Big West win leader Jared Hughes (3-0, 3.65) tangling with Baylor’s Ryan LaMotta (2-1, 5.23). Saturday afternoon perhaps the hottest arm in the nation, two-time Big West Pitcher of the Week Andrew Carpenter (2-0, 1.29) goes up against BU lefty Cory VanAllen (1-1, 4.50) and then on Sunday Vance Worley (3.86), winner for the first time last weekend, faces Baylor’s Tim Matthews (0-0, 2.08).

Of course pitchers don’t hit against each other so the “facing up” will be in the form of folks like Dirtbag Evan Longoria with his seven multi-hit games, .439 average, .756 slugging percentage, .586 on-base average and the Bears Zach Dillon, on base safely in 17 consecutive games dating back to last season, one walk in eight of nine games this season and his team’s leader with eight two-out RBI.

DIAMOND DRYING DUST—Like UPS, Jared Hughes has adjusted his delivery to improve service to the plate…pop Bill says the kid has changed his stride and got rid of a ”flying open” arm or something like that…result, better accuracy and his stats speak to that success….Mr. Carpenter off of his one-hit shutout of Illinois-Chicago earned a second BWC Pitcher of the Week honor…1.29 ERA and lots of national press…against Baylor the Beach leads the all-time series 9-3…Mr. Lamotta became the 15th pitcher in Baylor history to record at least 200 strikeouts with his first strikeout of the 2006 season…where are theys-the Marlins starter against powerhouse U of Miami was old Bag Jason Vargas…he pitched two shutout innings, giving up a walk and a single and striking out four on 31 pitches…Jason told the Miami Herald, ''I tried to throw down in the [strike] zone . . . it was good getting back in the battle again…hitters are hitters, no matter what level you're at.” ,,,he’s the leading candidate to grab the third spot in the Marlins' rotation…it was a fund raiser for UM and a crowd of 4,501 showed up in Jupiter, nice idea…

Dillon's two-out RBI triple in the 7th provided the eventual winning run as Baylor edged Texas State 4-3 Tuesday night...Texas State is now 3-10 and the rest of the Baylor W’s have been over lesser lights, Stephen F. Austin, Texas Arlington and that 1-2 mark against Arizona State…Tuesday’s Dust on Dirtbag depth, missed one of the steady outfield workers, Allen Woods out of Lakewood H.S. and Golden West …knowing these coaches, expect as much running around the bases as that Lancaster housewife did in her solo drive-along in that LA Sheriff’s car… …hoop happenings, in front of his Grandpa Connie Hawkins for the first time since high school, senior Shawn Hawkins scored eight of his 17 total points in overtime to as LB’s men’s basketball team escaped with an 82-76 victory over Riverside last night—the women’s tennis win streak hit nine matches in a row when the 35th-ranked Niners defeated conference rival UC Irvine 6-1...the net set is part of that full sporting menu on Saturday when they host the Pacific at 1 pm at the 49er Campus Courts, a short helicopter ride from the Bren Center where both men and women of hoop play with your clone sitting here at Blair for baseball…the rest of the Jumbo Jerry’s (Gordie Verrell’s term for the Big West conference)… UC Santa Barbara at LMU; Riverside at Oklahoma; Don Barbara’s Sac State Hornets at Irvine; Northridge at Oklahoma State; Fullerton at Rice and San Diego at Cal Poly--DR. DAN


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