Monday, May 29, 2006


Although it was officially the Memorial Day weekend in a dark sort of way Blair Field became a memorable place all by itself last weekend. Fullerton State was there chirping in their orange and needling the home team and their fans. All three of the Dirtbags 2006 marquee players were on display for the major league talent hunters from obscure scouts to icons like Tommy Lasorda.

National TV was turned on Friday, an event that would not have happened on Saturday when the missed flipping of switches caused a transformer to blow. By Sunday the homeboys were being routed and on Monday they would turn in their gear, look forward to the draft, a summer league or the real world. “I thought that we should get in because we finished second in a tough conference and played the kind of schedule the NCAA wants you to do,” a disconsolate Mike Weathers told the media but you could tell his heart wasn’t in this business of spin doctoring a 29-27 season.

Yes there will be more reflected glory to the program when the new stars Evan Longoria, Andrew Carpenter and Jared Hughes join the Bobby Crosby’s, Jered Weaver’s and Jason Giambi’s of the past. Reflected glory and tough scheduling doesn’t get you in the post season and that was the loud and clear and yes, memorable, message from Memorial Day weekend.

END DUST—The crowd count was the only bright spot for the weekend, 6,257 hat and shirt buying, beer drinking, concession stand lining fans. Maybe not enough offense on the field gave the faithful time to eat, drink and shop.
Big West defectors Ritch Price (from Cal Poly to Kansas) and Mike Batesole (from Northridge to Fresno State) left the conference coaching ranks and both won their conference tourneys after rough starts in their new home towns. Kansas beat ranked Nebraska in the Big 12 and Fresno State beat ranked Hawaii in the WAC.
The deep breathing around the Pyramid this weekend comes from the athletic staffers who are awaiting the arrival of their new boss and new Long Beach Athletic Director Vic Cegles. He starts work on Monday. Energetic and a young 57, Cegles has two sons in college, one plays baseball at Rutgers and the other is a redshirt freshman football player at Towson State. His past posts include being the #2 guy at Temple and before that the same slot at Arizona State. His new boss, President King Alexander, has given the new guy the green light to raise both the 49er image and the 49er fundraising.

Not likely to be on hand to greet Cegles will be volleyball’s Ali Daley, the Big West Freshman of the Year who insiders say asked for her release on the eve of the 49ers current summer exhibition tour of Europe. The best of last year’s newcomers, Daley also landed a spot on the BWC first-team and the 6-0 outside hitter registered a career-high 24 kills in Long Beach State’s win over St. Mary’s.
Actually the folding up of the baseball uniforms does not mark the end of the athletic year; 49er track will send a delegation to compete in six events at the NCAA Championships in Sacramento from June 7 to 10. It is expected to be the highest number of LBSU competitors at the national competition since 1998.--DR. DAN

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Here are the notes we were working on for Sunday before the solar storm caused by all of those Caltrans Orange shirts blew up a transformer on the left field side. Dr. Alexander said that they would cover up the haz material, tape it of, and play with six of seven light poles. The SIDs said the coaches didn’t want to risk injury with a few lights out. The umps from the CSUN game said postpone you can never be too careful; the beer guys already had done some good biz so a double dip on Sunday was okay for them.

George Horton, piloting a rig bigger than most of the rolling stock we have in Iraq, told me on the way out that it was the haz stuff not the lighting. One cynic suggested that the fire department put the yellow tape around the Niner dugout since they have had a power failure of late. The F word staff began to muse about what the DH would do for the regional rotation next week, Miller with one days less of rest, etc. Our grandstand Lawyer and Card King Tom Patterson never mentioned a possible law suit if a player stumbled in the darkness but somebody else did.
The sleepers-in and the church goers fussed about the early start, some tailgaters were adding eggs to their steak menu for Sunday, the Beach brass was huddling to figure out how to clear the stadium after game one and sell or let in with Sunday tickets the rest of the folks. “Hey it is a big gate for us, we need to sell each game. “ So there go you, fan appreciation day, still need to get that #30 win, maybe the pathway to the pros line will inspire the selectors to take a chance—what with young Weaver looking so great last night. And all the stuff in the Dugout store is on sale….

Some recruit news of note…Devin Lohman, shortstop of the future, made a mutual verbal commitment with Long Beach…“It's been a while now that I've just been looking at colleges, looking at the baseball programs and everything, and Long Beach really stands out to me,” said Lohman. “It looks like a really good college, good program, good team. I feel like I can learn a lot there.”…when he signs in November, Lohman will be the second Righetti High School player in three years scholarship at LB, injured pitcher Andre LaMontagne is the other…another expected one is Paso Robles Bearcat pitcher Matt Drummond…he already knows the Niner script…"We’re gonna have to be able to make the routine play and not give any extra outs," he said about a recent HS game, . "Three outs an inning. And offensively, we’re gonna have to scratch a run or two."

Now some of the missing in action were actually at the Angel game. Our mystery correspondent writes: “Hooray for the smoking light standard! Jered Weaver wowed 'em at Angel Stadium. Vlad Guerrero and Mike Napoli bailed Jered out of a major jam with a sensational play at the plate, and the Dirtbag soared thereafter. The crowd actually booed Garret Anderson and Juan Rivera for letting a lazy fly ball drop between them in the outfield to put a third hit on the scoreboard for Weaver. Scioscia pulled JW after only a hundred pitches, not allowing him to get the complete game shutout he was heading for. Good move, coach--try to keep him humble. I took a rubber Bobs Big Boy doll to the stadium with me for luck. :)”

Last adds--Nice to see the Dave Bradley, dad of senior Scott “Scooter” Bradley in from the Midwest but he has to head back Sunday a.m. and of course all of those senior parents, their kids still signing their baseball cards, will be all smiles in these last home games…the others moving on are Howling Tom Wolf, steady Chuck Sindlinger, Boats and Tito, Brett A, Mike Mallott and volunteer assistant and third base coach Doc Strauss who has promised his bride and their pride that he would get another FT gig next season…scores around the Jumbo Jerry loop (Gordie V's term for the Big West…Pacific 4, Cal State Northridge 1; UC Davis 8, Stanford 3 (UCD 2-0); UC Irvine 5, UC Riverside 4 (10)—darn it; Cal Poly 4, UC Santa Barbara 1--DR. DAN


Mike Weathers goes to the plate with a paper Rawlings line up card. The rest of the folks in the 49er unis carry TPX or similar aluminum bats. Not much any skipper can do once the game gets going if the metal remains as eerily silent as was the case last night when the Dirtbags wasted a six-hit Andrew Carpenter effort and turned up the post-season pressure on themselves. While LB had chances in four innings, the Fullertons executed twice, once on a wild pitch in the first and a sac in the sixth. Side-slinging, sinker throwing and mound dancing Wes Roemer (11-1) pitched his own six-hitter forcing the now desperate Dirtbags to get a win today and maybe tomorrow to avoid missing the post-season for the first time since 2000.

If the dark side of a two zip shutout has any bright spots Weathers noted that the national TV audience and 2,410 fans in the stands “saw that would-could compete with a very good team. We should get in based on our strength of schedule. (The RPI opened this morning at 44). The NCAA asks that you schedule tough and we did.” That said, Weathers privately wished he didn’t have the problem of being a spin doctor on a season that without another W could be slipping away in light of upsets in other conference tourneys which are gobbling up those precious at large bids like Ms. PacMan. What last left Friday was the beauty contest that is following the soon to be pro future of Evan Longoria. The faithful saw several web gems at third and EL and his with a first inning double extended his hit streak to 10 games and wrapped up the club’s triple crown. Back to the game, back-up first baseman Scooter Bradley made the final out in the second and forth leaving two runners on each frame. The Beach did get another double when Brandon Godfrey, sore shoulder and all, asked to come in and doubled in one at bat. Meanwhile the nine member NCAA selection committee (including ADs from CSUF and UNLV) is bunkered down with stats and, brackets and TVs and some chow. "We try to get all our food ordered for weekend and decide who the vegetarians are and make sure there are enough plates," said UNC Greensboro coach Mike Gaski told Baseball America. "We actually get after it pretty good on Friday night." The Niners, a virtual pipleline to the pros, hope to give the committee some more food for thought Satuday night.

MUST TIME DUST—Competing for the home crowd tonight is the first MLB start for Jered Weaver…at the tender age of 23, 4-1 with one complete game shutout and a 1.89 ERA in nine starts at triple-A Salt Lake, he could join brother Jeff as the only brother combo to win for the same team in the same week…I how does LB build these great hurlers?...Chris Jackson of the Daily Breeze got this out of the usually taciturn Troy Buckley, "There's no magic recipe," Buckley said. "My mentality is maybe a little bit different in that if you can't pitch with your fastball then you can't be successful. We all want to win, but you can't avoid contact if you want to have a chance to win. Most college hitters can hit the fastball, but you have to build a delivery that's capable of delivering the fastball where you want it. The philosophy is to build a delivery that can build power, extension, and downhill angle, and along with that, deception. Those four things are what I'm trying to give each and every one of our guys."… Donnie Hume and Vance Worley will use that formula tonight with Jared Hughes going Sunday…Hughes is now 8-3 and another good news note is that LBSU has now won seven straight Sunday games…checking in long distance is the new LB AD Vic Cegles who starts work on Monday June 5th…he's 57, has two sons in college, one plays baseball at Rutgers and the other is a redshirt freshman football player at Towson State…his current days are at Temple and before that Arizona State…Two notes from the ladies side of the Beach. In track both Kim Heinz and Emily Forsythe are headed to their first ever NCAA Championship…Heinz in the javelin broke her own school-record with a toss of 160'9" and Forsythe goes in the high jump…also going away but not coming back is volleyball’s Ali Daley, the Big West Freshman of the Year who insiders say asked for her release on the eve of the 49ers current summer exhibition tour of Europe…the best of last year’s newcomers, Daley also landed a spot on the BWC first-team and the 6-0 outside hitter registered a career-high 24 kills in Long Beach State’s 3-1 win over St. Mary’s and did not commit an attack error in three straight matches…BWC scoreboard, Pacific 6, Northridge 2; Santa Barbara 11, Cal Poly 6; Irvine 5, Riverside at 11—DR. DAN

Friday, May 26, 2006


Two college baseball programs cross the white lines tonight and both are looking for one. One win for the visitors clinches the Big West title and automatic NCAA berth. One win for the home team gets their W total to thirty, we take Sunday off and have breakfast on Monday with the NCAA pairings show.

Ironically the season started in opposite directions, Fullerton got swept by Stanford and Long Beach swept Southern Cal. Both teams figured to parade outstanding pitching on a tour of some of the nation’s best and they have RPIs to prove it. The Dirtbags come in at 29-24, 12-6 Big West and winners of 13 of their last 18. The F Troop is 40-13, 15-3 and winners of 14 of their last 19. Righthanders Andrew Carpenter (7-3, 2.93) and Fullerton’s Wes Roemer (10-1, 2.16) emerged as the two best in the West and get the TV show tonight but the other mound men are excellent themselves, Lauren Gagnier (11-4, 2.63), Jared Hughes (8-3, 3.27) plus Dustin Miller, Donnie Hume and Vance Worley. Closing arguments are a sore subject for both coaches particularly since the late season injury to Vinnie Pestrano and the Beach’s open auditions means neither team has a lock down closer. Both clubs do have an outstanding position player, the edge going to LB third baseman Evan Longoria with his .362 average, 11 homers and 43 RBIs over Titan shortstop Blake Davis .359 average, 3 homers and 29 RBIs. No politicians were invited but a couple of state agencies are represented, the California Highway Patrol with those EBAY-bound Dirtbag trading cards and I guess Caltrans, or somebody who has a lot of orange shirts.

GAMETRACKER DUST-The game within the game is counting the at large tickets and sweating some key conference tourneys…in the WCC you need Pepperdine to win; ACC is likely an 8 bid league; Big East –let’s just give one to Notre Dame; Big South - Winthrop needs to battle out of the loser’s bracket; Big XII a 5 bid conf; Missouri Valley - 1 bid conf with an outside shot at 2 bids if Wichita doesn't win; Pac 10 – ASU. UCLA, Oregon State and one more but not USC; and the beat goes on…The NCAA will announce the 16 regional sites Sunday and the full field at 9:30 a.m. Monday... mostly they keep conferences apart but the Bags eliminated the Titans in the team’s only NCAA Regional matchup in Palo Alto in 2002... the series is tight at both places, CSUF 24-21 edge at Goodwin Field and 23-20 lead at Blair Field…back in selection-ville is NCAA committee member and Fullerton AD Brian Quinn is missing the grumblings at Goodwin about customer service, where you can stand, why the Diamond Club, tent and all, have been booted, frisking the parking lot for liquid tailgaters…Quinn always had nice things to say about LB when he was at LMU so…big attraction for Tuffy and his crew is cold beer in the ballpark and great grub…side plot for tonight is that Longoria was one of a league leading 20 batters that have been hit by Roemer who has great control (only 4 walks this season)…in the contest behind the Orange Curtain Wes say the Evan dose “was unintentional”…but both skippers like their guys to pitch inside...the CSUF rotation is the only one in the country with three ten-game winners…meanwhile is the new Niner secret weapon Jordan Struble?...our “relatively” inside correspondent writes “Hughes had one of the most dominating performances ever all (Sunday)…hopefully having Jordan behind the dish contributed to this…Jared’s nasty breaking pitch gained bite in the 9th and his composure, even in tight situations, was solid…Weathers asked Strubs if he felt Jared could go in the 9th and Jordan said, ‘stay with him’…when Buckley got tossed Jordan was given the green light to call his own game the last 2 innings”… Struble you might recall is the lad that saunters out to catch the ceremonial pre-game first pitch, usually from a little leaguer, a senior citizen, or a maybe-sober donor..they pop it in there (or around there) at about 30 miles per hour and then Jordan disappears into the dugout…Saturday afternoon riverboat gambler Weathers, down a game to UCR and flirting with missing the playoffs for the first time in this millennium, pulled freshman catcher Kip Masuda, passed over regular Tito Cruz and told the seldom seen Mr. Struble to get his gear on…fast forward to Sunday night and on that long bus ride back to Blair you’d have to think that a 4-9 weekend with three RBIs and partnering on the Sunday CG…around the league tonight it is Northridge @ Pacific; UC Davis @ Stanford; Riverside @ UC Irvine; and UC Santa Barbara @ Cal Poly… Make up your own punch line, but “voice of the Dirtbag baseball Rob Buska” ain’t here tonight taking a payday with the Mountain West Tourney in Las Vegas…RB is also doing AAA Salt Lake vs. Las Vegas tonight but guess what, Jered Weaver got called up to the Angles this morning and he’s stuck watching a rehabbing Eric Gagne-DR. DAN

Monday, May 22, 2006


In the sweltering heat of a desperate run for another post season and in an unfamiliar spot behind the plate with temps pushing 90, Jordan Struble also had to make an adjustment to the speed of the pitchers. Struble you might recall is the lad that saunters out to catch the ceremonial pre-game first pitch, usually from a little leaguer, a senior citizen, or a maybe-sober donor. They pop it in there (or around there) at about 30 miles per hour and then Jordan disappears into the dugout.

Saturday afternoon that riverboat gambler Mike Weathers, down a game to UC Riverside and flirting with missing the playoffs for the first time in this millennium, rolled out his line up card, pulled freshman catcher Kip Masuda, passed over regular Tito Cruz and told the seldom seen Mr. Struble to get his gear on. Fast forward to Sunday night and on that long bus ride back to Blair you’d have to think that a 4-9 weekend with three RBIs and partnering on a Jared Hughes complete game would have earned Stub a seat pretty close to the front. Hughes as you might know throws into the nineties, a significant departure from those ceremonial lobs he previously handled. Good timing because his bruised and battered Beach team mates need all hands on deck for this weekend’s visit from Fullerton Friday through Sunday and then very likely the following weekend in some distant clime that has agreed to host an NCAA Regional. Mathematically there is still the possibility of sweeping the up-Titans and sharing the Big West title but from the sub .500 moments in March just getting their ship in gear is as satisfying as plotting the course to Omaha. Keep an eye out for unsung heroes and let the games begin.

MASH DUST-The training room is still full of Dirtbags. AJ Pinocchio and Chris Lopez are both out with broken hamates, Brandon Godfrey (shoulder) missed last week and is iffy, freshman righthander Andre Lamontagne is questionable with a tender ankle injury, same body part a worry for outfielder Allen Woods, and the guy with tenure in the training room, Sean Boatright, has to play through back pain everyday.

On a brighter subject, the national TV lights will be on Friday night when Carter Blackburn and former Phillie Kevin Stocker call the LB-CSUF game for CSTV. If the rumors of a sellout are true, then the video option may be all there is for late arriving fans.

Meanwhile the Big West brass begins trying to sell the NCAA selection committee on taking say three or four conference teams. Cal Poly and Irvine both have hopes. UCI plays host to Riverside and SLO welcomes Santa Barbara but both clubs need a sweep to keep breathing.

Basketball boss Larry Reynolds insists he can match or exceed the scoring onslaught of last season because “Our guys finally know what they are doing.” Everybody may get to see that work if a rumored national Monday night game versus Pacific comes true and maybe more than 10 other games get televised locally.

Closing with Where Are They. There has been good pub on former Niner star Margaret Mohr who along with Sparks GM Penny Toler led Long Beach State to the 1987 Final Four. Mohr is now on the bench for the LA pros but surprise surprise, so is their former assistant coach Michael Abraham. From his stint at Long Beach he had jumped to Oregon State and then to Northridge in 1995 where be turned that program around before a drug trafficking conviction turned his life around. Toler and Mohr give him there support. "People tell me this guy did a bad thing," Toler said. "But there is a difference. It's a difference when you have someone who is bad and does a bad thing, or a good person who does a dumb thing."—DR. DAN

Monday, May 15, 2006


When your inbox overflows like the bathtub you forgot to turn off, the only solution is to drain that darn thing with another, fast-paced, session of notes on my napkin starting with the letter T.

T works for saluting the Beach track teams who ran down and jumped over most of their Big West partners. The men's team won its first conference title in 30 years and the women's program scored its best two-year finish since 1977. Overall, the 49ers had 11 conference champions and a record 18 all-conference males and 13 All-Big West females.

Another T is for tennis who made the NCAAs for the first time, beat New Mexico in the first round and shoulda, coulda, mighta beat USC. The entire squad is due back next year and the # 1 singles and # 1 doubles are still headed as to the NCAA individual championships.

Another logical T is for the tee time reserved for men’s golfer Ryan Wood who has been selected to compete at the 2006 NCAA Men's Golf West Regionals this weekend at the Tucson National Golf Course. Wood concluded the 2005-06 campaign with an average score of 72.53 in 19 rounds of play, was a first team All-Big West selection and had five top 20 and three top 10 finishes in seven tournaments.

The last of our Letter Ts is saved for the number two, as in Dirtbag baseball is two games behind first place Fullerton and two games ahead of third place Cal Poly with two series left to play, at Riverside this weekend and hosting Fullerton the next weekend. Oh yes, maybe we should add a T as in temperature since Riverside the city and Riverside the team have been hot of late. The Highlanders banged out 21 hits and routed CSUN 16-5 on Sunday.

Last weekend old nemesis Santa Barbara buried the Beach but a Sunday punch on Mother’s Day by Scooter Bradley stopped the sweep. His two RBIs in the team’s last at bat won the game for LBSU but also touched the heart of both Dirtbag Coach Mike Weathers and Bradley himself. “I knew that his Mom had died in January and it really choked me up when he went out there.” Scooter, “She was my best friend.”

On the other diamond Niner softball got two of three and will be making its fourth straight NCAA postseason appearance after a second place finish in Big West play and 30-20 overall record. The 49ers got the short trip, to the campus of UCLA, but after facing San Diego State in the opening game of the regional, they are likely to meet the host UCLA Bruins before the weekend is over. The 49ers get lights-out pitching from Michelle Turner but SDSU 32-13 is the #2 seed. The LBSU and SDSU match-up will be televised live on ESPNU tomorrow (Friday) at 2:30 p.m.

Finally, somewhere on the back of this napkin is the good news that the Niners as a program have won two departmental distinctions. The first honor is the recently invented Black and Blue series between LB and UCI which Beach won by earning the highest head to head total. The more significant hardware is the Big West Commissioner's Cup awarded for the best overall body of work after the completion of 13 Big West Conference sports. The closest pursuers, UCSB and UCI, don’t have a chance of making up their deficit since the 49ers have finished no lower than third in all of the nine sports they have competed in this year and have all that good T stuff mentioned above.—DR. DAN

Sunday, May 14, 2006


In the first base dugout the tall, handsome and graying Mike Weathers felt pretty good after three innings Saturday afternoon. After all his two franchise guys were coming through, Andrew Carpenter, with the help of a double play ball, had kept the Gauchos off the board. His hitter supreme Evan Longoria ripped an RBI single into left to give the Beach boys a 1-0 lead in the first. The tall, handsome and graying Bob Brontsema, reflecting afterwards, says he wasn’t worried.

“There is something about playing Long Beach; our team knows that they are so good that you have to keep your concentration up.” No jinx, no special secrets that explain beating the Beach seven of the last eight times? “I just think that out guys really respect them and when we do that we get production up and down our lineup.” Yep, every Gaucho except the DH had a hit and when the amazing Andrew Carpenter got to the 123 pitch level after two outs in the eighth and left the contest UCSB was ready to strike. Ironically the game winner was the first extra base knock of the game--Alden Carrithers’ two-run double—and UCSB evened their season record at 23-23 and continued to kick sand on the face of the 49er’s BWC fortunes. Still precariously in second place, Weathers said he would be trilled to finish that high (“that would get us in”) but is worried about everybody else in general and his own puzzling team in particular. “Andrew gave us eight great innings and gave us a chance to win. But some of our guys got lackadaisical; we had some bad at bats.” And that jinx stuff skip? “It’s not about Santa Barbara it’s about us.” Today the us for LB is lefty Donnie Hume (3-3, 3.63) going against another of those Jim Tracy kids, Brian the SB pitcher (2-7, 5.20) as opposed to Chad the Pepperdine hitter.

DUST FOR MOM—The relief pitching story belonged to the Gaucho’s…Andrew Schoneberger picked up the win in relief, using one pitch in the seventh to keep The Beach off the board with the bases loaded and then followed up with a scoreless eighth…sub mariner Justin Segal rowed in again, gave up a hit but nothing else and picked up his seventh save…Bryan Shaw, who had been tough in his last several outings allowed three-straight hits and five to take the loss…Carpenter dropped his ERA to 2.69 and is still a Clemens Award candidate, undefeated in the BWC with five complete games…last pitcher note, the KWRM crew reported that Fullerton closer Vinnie Pestrano will not have surgery and will be ready in “two to three weeks”…hummm, that would be about…meanwhile the post season stories from Saturday were almost and not quite…in tennis our secret agent Formerly reported “ # 1, # 2 and # 3 all took first sets and were in position to win their matches when USC got their match winning 4th point eeking out a 7-5 second set win over Jessica. Jess gotten up 5-4 but was not able to win any of the next three sets….all six USC players in their singles line up are currently nationally softball about the time you read this the Beach gals, finishing one game behind Fullerton, will have their NCAA regional invite…on Saturday Michelle Turner tied two single-season school…the Beach ended its regular season at 30-20, the fifth straight season that the 49ers won 30 or more games in a season….now some distressing Irvine info, the Eaters got their eighth straight win going to 32-17 and are desperate to beat the Dirtbags out of their second place spot. UCI has one more today with UOP and then the mildly talented Northridge up there and at home against UC Riverside…back to good news Long Beach track and field put forth a record day at the Big West Championships, as the men's team won its first conference title in 30 years and the women's program scored its best two-year finish since 1977…overall, the 49ers had 11 conference champions and a record 18 all-conference males and 13 All-Big West females…around the Big west that object in your rear view mirror is closer than you think and it is that pesky marsupial from UC Irvine who whipped Pacific 6- 3, meanwhile next weekend’s Dirtbag destination UC Riverside worked over Northridge 8-5 and in a game that doesn’t count in conference it was Cal Poly 8, UC Davis 5…and now our closing quote from a guy in the parking lot…”I wouldn’t say that after today the fat lady is singing, but I hear somebody in the wings is warming up”…happy Mother’s Day—DR. DAN

Friday, May 12, 2006


With all the excitement about the new King (that would be President F. King Alexander) this might be a good weekend to remember the original Go Beach guy, the old king, Robert C. Maxson. In his countless hours along press row he was just a regular guy, a fan, who never had a doubt about who he wanted to beat the most. “That’s Santa Barbara,” Bob would drawl, “you can’t beat them too much or bad enough.” So that’s our segue into “Beat Santa Barbara for Bob” weekend.

The first of these encounters with the institution who made the taunt “state school” jump the BP of the 49er faithful happens tonight and continues this weekend in contests that are critical to the Beach hopes for staying in the top two of the Big West and on the NCAA regional radar. The Bags enter at 26-21, 9-3 Big West and UCSB is still under .500 at 21-23. The usual Friday guy Jared Hughes will try and rebound from last Friday’s loss to CSUN and do so in front of the usual CHP type convention of radar guns. Andy Graham (4-6, 5.08) goes for the Gauchos and of course on Saturday it will be LB’s Andrew Carpenter (7-2, 2.81) going against SB’s Jeff Braun (1-2, 2.72.) Except for the Friday stumble at SLO and that one inning loss at Northridge, the Niners have had a great May but UCSB has won five of the last six against the Dirtbags and this year they feature one of the better power sources in the Big West, Chris Valaika (.349, eight home runs, 48 RBI) who is backed up by table setter Alden Carrithers (.359, 49 runs scored).

CATCH-UP DUST--On Tuesday the new look Vance Worley was the pitching story, his longest outing of the year and in the words of professor and catcher du jour Tito Cruz, “showing lots of presence, more committed to his pitches, a better ‘out pitch’ and better velocity.” Better but not yet the best according to skipper Mike Weather who felt the win was as important for the psyche of his young hurler as it was for the win starved Dirtbag team. …maybe important in a regional where you always have to play at least three…from the training room Sean Boatright still has various muscular issues and added an intestinal illness that kept him out of play last weekend…hopefully he will get some time this weekend….and no truth to the rumor that singer Fiona Apple will soon get hitched to Jordan Struble so she could become Mrs. Fiona Apple Struble…however, there is a possibility that Boatright and track star gal pal Charlene Dierdorff could get hitched some day and I say that new AD Vic Cegles should be at the hospital to scholarship up the first born…back to Hughes, Baseball America expects him to go in the first two rounds…based on a four-seam fastball that his in the mid nineties, the patented LB splitter that looks like a slider, plus confidence in his curve and change-up…just don’t crowd the plate on this guy…back in Colorado The Lamar Sports Booster Club honored volleyballer Brittany Hochevar last week and noted that her family includes brother Luke, rafted by the Dodgers after winning the Roger Clemens award…but maybe the best will be younger brother, Dylan, a high school quarterback who can throw the football through the wall…back to the bases a web site stat geek has Evan Longoria as the third best junior hitter…his leader is Pittsburgh 2B Jim Negrych, but he faces a weak Big East schedule…and the only other hitter on the list from the F word is from Florida—Matt LaPorta… the first NCAA spot was secured last weekend by Princeton won twice at Harvard on Saturday to capture the Ivy League crown and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament…if you look around the yard today and see what you think are Titan spies you are correct…CSUF is off this weekend and while the came back to win 7-6 mid week they may have lost closer Vinnie Pestano who left the game with two outs in the ninth after feeling a "pop" in his right elbow…docs are still reading the MRIs but the dreaded Tommy John surgery is possible...while 21 minutes of mistake at CSUN cost the Niners a W on Wednesday on Tuesday UCSB connected for just three hits but was able to take advantage of four costly UCLA errors to score four unearned runs and earn the 4-3 vic at home… last weekend, the Gauchos nearly pulled off the series win over CSUF including beating Wes Roemer…the tortilla tossers had a 5-4 lead in the ninth on Sunday, before the Titans came back and won the rubber game, 7-5…last sad add, just as he was hitting his stride AJ Pinocchio is apparently gone for the season with that hand injury… come early tomorrow because the first 500 fans will receive Dirtbags coasters with the mugs of famous formers and on Sunday it is a Chick-Fil-A Family Day. Kids get in for a buck, run the bases after the game and get a free baseball Mother's get beauty stuff as if they need it--DR. DAN

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


One team loves Tuesdays, the other really doesn’t. Your visiting LMU Lions have won their last two Tuesday contests taking the whooping stick to then-top-ranked Cal State Fullerton (#4 today) and USC. The host Dirtbags have lost three of their last four Tuesday tilts and both teams have a busy week ahead with five games in six days on tap for LB and four for LMU. More parallels, both clubs misfired in March but found their A game in April. The Lions are winners of four straight and six of their last eight and the Niners are streaking themselves hitting .325 and producing a 2.94 ERA while winning nine of the last 11. Something’s gotta give.

While the Beach boys bussed back on Sunday after winning two of three at SLO, LMU had the past week off for final exams and graduation. Both teams still have hopes of winning their respective conference titles, the Lions are still in the hunt for the WCC with six WCC games to play and the Beach has nine conference tests ahead, three this weekend with UCSB and then at Riverside and home for Fullerton. Tonight LB will send freshman Andre Lamontagne (0-0, 1.35) into the circle for his first career start. He earned that honor after pitching three and a third shutout innings last week but won’t be available tomorrow when the April 15th suspended game with Northridge gets picked up in the 10th inning at 3-3. By rule both teams must used the pitchers of the moment the Matadors Jimmy Brettl and LBSU’s Andrew Liebel. The twist in the plot is that most of the weekend starters (can you say Andrew Carpenter) usually throw a simulated pen game mid week and might go an inning or so tomorrow to try and clinch a very important conference W. Not available are guys out of the game by the tenth (Worley and Godfrey) or busted up since then, AJ Pinocchio the latest in a run of busted hamate bones going back to Tulo, Chuck and others. LMU has split with Long Beach State the last three seasons the teams have played, and the Lions but lost to the then-22nd-ranked 49ers by one run on March 7. Evan Longoria continues to lead the Dirtbags, hitting .361 with 9 homeruns and 36 RBI. The Dirtbags everyday third baseman is the only player to have started all 46 games for da Bags. Rapidly improving Shane Peterson ranks second on the team with a .344 average, while Robert Perry, missing AJ behind him, is hitting .315 with 45 starts in 46 games played. Lion Andy Beal, a Saturday starter, (3-6, 4.91) comes in rested (no game last week) and ready after beating Gonzaga two weeks ago..

PROMO DUST—Lots of free or almost free stuff this weekend starting with Friday when every fan will be eligible to win JetBlue airline tickets and the Fan of the Game" will win two meal passes from Soupolantation…register at the web site…Saturday the first 500 fans will receive Dirtbags coasters with the mugs of famous formers and on Sunday it is a Chick-Fil-A Family Day. Kids get in for a buck, run the bases after the game and get a free baseball…and for Mother's Day every mom will be entered to win lovely prizes to make them even lovelier…switching gears, while the Niner baseball coaches have had a lot of luck recruiting pitchers from Northern California, Fremont pitcher Kevin Brahney a 6-foot-4 left-hander and a first-team selection from Santa Clara signed a letter of intent to play at St. Mary's choosing the Gaels over Long Beach State. That’s okay Kevin bounce backs are always welcome… Brahney was 7-2 with a 1.41 ERA…now a good one that didn’t get away…like a live bat and a good gun in right field….then you can look forward next year to Bakersfield College right fielder Kyle Morgan (30th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers) who is hitting.371 in the regular season while leading the team with 10 home runs, 43 RBIs and 11 stolen bases…and the gun…he threw out the potential tying run at the plate to help BC win its 13th straight game…if you look carefully this evening you will see that the Lions wear a black bar across the LMU on their caps in memory of LMU student-athletes Jessica Hanson and Adam Bacon, who were killed in a car accident in August, just before the two were to begin their senior seasons with soccer and cross country…last add tomorrow’s ball game, the Mats hosted San Diego this afternoon and travel to Riverside this weekend—DR. DAN

Sunday, May 07, 2006


With all the excitement about the new King (that would be President F. King Alexander) this might be a good weekend to remember the original Go Beach guy, the old king, Robert C. Maxson. In his countless hours along press row he was just a regular guy, a fan, who never had a doubt about who he wanted to beat the most. “That’s Santa Barbara,” Bob would drawl, “you can’t beat them too much or bad enough.” So that’s our segue into “Beat Santa Barbara for Bob” weekend.

The first of these encounters with the institution who made the taunt “state school” jump the BP of the 49er faithful happens Friday night at Blair. That would be the first of three baseball contests that are critical to the Beach hopes for staying in the top two of the Big West (with Fullerton) and on the NCAA regional radar. On Saturday softball is at Santa Barbara for a double header in a tight race for the top with, you guessed it, Fullerton. By Sunday night the Gauchos will be in LB’s rear view mirror and the coaches and athletes will find something else to worry about.

Also on the weekend is a return to the post-season course and court for LBSU golf and tennis. In tennis the Beach is No. 27 in the rankings and set to face No. 46-ranked University of New Mexico in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Women's Tennis Championships at USC. The coach is looking forward to seeing new faces. "I'm very excited that we get to see someone we haven't seen before," said 49er net boss Jenny Hilt-Costello. "Obviously New Mexico is a very strong team. They will be a good matchup for us, but I think we have a good shot at getting to see USC in the second round."

In golf the Niners women's golf team is making history as they tee off today (Thursday) for the NCAA West Regionals going on through Saturday at the Washington National Golf Course in Auburn, WA. This is the first time a 49er women's team has advanced to the NCAA Championships but the brilliant Kay Hoey played as an individual last year.

MAY DAY DUSTING--You’ve got to admit that Madison Avenue had a great idea pairing a long tall Stanford volleyball player with a pepper pot from Long Beach State. That would be the Misty May-Kerri Walsh gold medal combo. So what’s next, a copy cat team featuring Stanford’s Logan Tom, a four-time first-team All-American, and the feisty and talented 49er Brittany Hochevar who made their way into the main draw, moved up from 20 to 13, won $1,550 last weekend. When the sand settled May and Walsh dominated with a repeat of the last month’s Fort Lauderdale Open and cashed $19,000. Next up next weekend is the Santa Barbara tourney.

One that got away dept..—Back in the summer of 1991 the Long Beach men’s basketball team took one of those foreign tours, heading up to the tranquil countryside of LA, that would be Lower Alberta, Canada. Under the guidance of the allegedly brilliant Seth Greenberg, the 49ers played the Canadian Junior Olympic team in a series of exhibitions crowned by a contest in Calgary. At each stop along the way there was this floppy haired guard who kept pestering Seth for a chance to bring his game to the lower 48. “What do I need that guy for?,” Greenberg would wrinkle his nose. And the rest of the story--Steve Nash would go on to play for the Canadian National Team in 1993, win a silver medal, star in college at Santa Clara and over the weekend pick up his second consecutive NBA MVP award.—DR. DAN

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


There are many ways to skin a cat (please note, The Dust does not condone any form of actual feline flaying), but one of the methods of getting to the post-season is to win weekends and break even in mid- weekers. That would set up the contest this evening between your suddenly streaking-seven-in-a-row Dirtbags and always tough and #21 ranked Pepperdine. The Waves have won their last three WCC series (Santa Clara, San Diego and Portland) and like the Beach boys sit atop their conference. Oh yeah, Pepperdine with a Chad Tracy blast won the first game in Malibu in mid February 3-2 making tonight a break even opportunity.

Back then the Niners were a hot club too, then a 15th-ranked team but Mr. Tuesday for the Waves Barry Enright who was killing all the locals and should have been in the weekend rotation. LB comes in 23-18-1 on the season and 7-1-1 in the Big West Conference following that sweet three-game sweep of Pacific over the weekend. Both teams head north for the weekend, the Bags to SLO and Pepperdine will travel to Spokane, Washington, to take on Gonzaga but the future at least for the 49ers is now. The Waves enter tonight having won nine of its last 10, paced offensively by Nick Klibert (.376) David Uribes (.364 with 42 runs) and Tracy (.328 with a team-best 34 RBIs and five homers). LB is batting .282 as a team and has a collective ERA of 3.36 with five players batting .300 or better and none more valuable than junior All-American Evan Longoria, (.354, 51 hits, nine home runs and 35 RBI.) Pepperdine is hitting .295 as a team with a 3.39 team ERA. The closer is Brett Hunter, seven saves, a 5-2 record and a 2.45 ERA. The mound duel will at least start with freshman Vance Worley (2-6, 4.06) for the Niners and Wave sophomore Jason Dominguez. Worley has been all over the rotation, from Sundays to set up to closing and now a Tuesday twirl. Dominguez, making his 17th appearance and second start of the season, is 3-1 with a 3.51 ERA.

REST OF THE DUST—The Beach brain trust will wait another couple of weeks before deciding if to bid on hosting a regional, that paper work being due the third week in May…other key dates are May 28 Regional sites announced, May 29, Regional brackets, and the games are played June 2-5…so what do experts like Will Kimmey of Baseball America’s say (in his three Strikes feature), “Louisiana State and Long Beach State each looked like they were heading toward the same fate as Stanford and Florida before recent rallies. The Tigers (29-17) last missed the regionals in 1988…they are now in 10th place in the SEC at 8-13…Long Beach State was below .500 in mid-April but has made NCAAs each year since 2000, and that streak should continue.”…amen…here are RPI's for the western region…CSUF and ASU are likely locks to host but it is hard to overlook Oregon State if they are Pac 10 champs…UCLA won’t bid at tiny Jackie Robinson, Pepperdine has no lights and has never bid so unless UCI and Fresno win out…those RPIs: CSUF 7; ASU 25; UCLA 26; Peppers 27; Oregon State 32; Long Beach 33; Irvine 36; USC 45; Fresno 49; Washington 51; San Diego 56…now before you get too optimistic remember that UCSB (14-7 against Long Beach the past six years, including 5-1 the past two years) has been a pest to the Beach like UCR has been to the Titans…that prompted a Titan web whiz to state, “I wish this season would go by faster. Hurry up and bring on Long Beach State. We are gonna kick you and suffocate you with mud like the Dirtbags you are!”…which brings up another reminder, get your LB F Troop tickets now before you have to stand in line for waiting room behind a herd of orange elephants…SID notes--during the team’s recent streak, LBSU is hitting .352 and have outscored its opponents 63-20…the pitchers (all 11) have a 2.71 ERA and a .227 opponent batting average,…that late March .220 average of Robert Perry has been buried…he has hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games to watch his average rise to .333., now the 10th best in the BWC, eighth in runs (32) and third in triples (3) and second on the team with 27 RBIs….Evan’s numbers are up also, against Big West pitching he’s hitting .433 with 13 runs and 14 RBIs over nine conference starts…overall, he leads the league in slugging (.632), on-base percentage (.484) and walks (33), and is amongst the league leaders in homers (9), RBIs (35), and average (.354)…last add ticket plug for the final series, the matchup will be televised on CSTV…kudos to men's basketball assistant coach Brent Bargen has accepted the head coaching position at Chadron State College near his old home in Nebraska…peeking ahead… Cal Poly, which received votes nationally earlier this year, has lost four of its last seven, losing a series to UC Irvine in mid-April and winning a series at UC Riverside in its last two conference matchups... Cal Poly is fourth in the league in hitting (.281) and fifth in pitching (4.24)—DR. DAN