Monday, April 24, 2006


In our never ending efforts to address the great issues of our time, Diamond Dust shares your pain with rising gas prices and the resultant drop in the cost-effective MPG. So today we pledge to increase our own NPN, that is notes per napkin, and fill your sporting tank until it overflows.

The first entry is the Mountain Pacific men’s volleyball championship which begins today (Thursday) behind the Orange curtain in Irvine. With one of the four semi-finalists almost guaranteed to win the NCAA title the following weekend, the MPSF show begins at 5:00 p.m. when Pepperdine faces old rival UCLA and then the Niners to go after top ranked UC Irvine about 7:30. Semi-final winners meet Saturday at 7 with the almost promise that those two teams will get tickets to the Final Four at Penn State.

The inside stuff (and dig and kill), will be balanced by outside fun and games notably the women's tennis team defense of their Big West Tennis Championship at the posh Indian Wells layout. It would be their third consecutive Big West title and its fourth in the past five years.

Meanwhile both of the diamond folks will be at work trying to tame the Tigers of Pacific in baseball at Blair Field (Friday night Saturday and Sunday afternoons) and in softball Saturday and Sunday at the Niner Softball Complex.

The baseball Tigers dropped all three their of their games to top ranked Fullerton last weekend while the Dirtbags used the previously undiscovered talents of Geppetto’s favorite son, A.J. Pinocchio. Using an aluminum bat and not a wooden nose, in just his seventh start, AJ leads the team in hitting (.400) and slugging (.600) percentages. Big West watchers are glad to see the Beach back at work if for no other reason to clear up the long and winding road to Memorial Day weekend. The overall record is so-so but the RPI is awesome which invites insiders to predict that even a second or third place BWC finish could still earn the team a post-season invite.

Ironically Pinocchio’s arrival almost overshadows the sub. 3.0 ERAs and combined 12-3 record of starting pitchers Jared Hughes and Andrew Carpenter and the field and plate play of Evan Longoria (.333 average and a team best 29 RBIs).

Of course those guys are all dreaming of a pro payday but they could consult LBSU alum Paul Goydos about life on the pay for pay circuit and he’d tell them it isn’t easy. Paired with long driving golfers Vijay Singh and Scott McCarron, Goydos was striving to get back to his 1996 game when he won at Bay Hill. A fast start but by 2002 it was back to Q-school and some nasty hip and sinus problems. Hopefully that’s in the past and the $116,600 check is one of many more in his future.

Last add Goydos’ slump busting secret, he told the PGA writers, after playing in the pro-am Wednesday and hitting it poorly, he went to the range where he hit 50 straight bad shots. "I got ice cream – chocolate Haagen Daz – and went to my room," he said. "I came out Thursday morning feeling better."

Also enjoying their Sunday were about 600 kid softball gals who rattled the softball stands and created such a crush at the snack bar that Interim AD Cindy Masner, a former catcher years ago, assigned her self those duties TBA and helped sort out the line at the concession stand. Everybody left happy when Michelle Turner got her 20 win of the year and might mite Breezy Goad RBI singled in the bottom of the seventh inning for the win over UC Riverside. OK, I require rest, there is still a pot of chili on the stove, help yourself and hit the light on your way out.—DR. DAN


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