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


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