Saturday, February 24, 2007


Tyson Ross was considered by Baseball America as a potential first-round pick in 2008, a 6-5 “power” pitcher with a sharp slider that mystifies hitters and a fastball in the 92-93 range. His mates usually backed him up with hitting at a .307 clip. Vance Worley struggled last year and lost his Sunday starting role and his hitters came in swinging at an underwhellming .257 clip. But they don’t play the game on paper and Worley and the tenacious 20th ranked Dirtbags upped their record to 7-4 coming from behind once again for a 3-1 win thanks to four RBIs from a resurgent Danny Espinosa.

Ross had shut down the 49ers for the first five innings until Espinosa, who was struggling the first month of the season (9 for 36) broke open the game with a bases loaded double to the wall in the sixth inning to give the Niners a 3-1 lead. Still hot from a three hit Tuesday against UCLA, Espinosa's RBI double in the 8th provided the insurance and a final score of 4-1. Worley threw the first seven allowing five hits, one run, one walk and six strikeouts before the closing firm of Liebel and Shaw remained perfect giving back nada in the eighth and ninth. For Vance it was his first W of the year and in the mind of a guy who has faced both Vance and Ross “he won the battle, he was every bit as good as Ross.” The commentator—Danny Espinosa. Need a second opinion, pitching coach Troy Buckley. “You know moving from Sunday to Friday against the guys we face is a big deal. He has thrown well all year and I am just glad for him that he got the win.” As far as the offense was concerned skipper Mike Weathers said he was never worried. “This team really stays up, the dugout is very good.” And Espinosa, a guy who has won awards (Big West Freshman of the year last season) looks ready to get the under .300 monkey off his back this season. “Danny has never hit .300 before. This year he is more mature, stronger and as he gets more walks and fewer strikeouts he will have really good numbers.” Today that batting average number is .326 with a team best 11 RBIs in just 11 games. And which of the two doubles that DR hit did Weathers like the most, the three run job in the sixth or the insurance 1 RBI flare in the 8th. “That swing in the eighth was perfect. He had his hands up above the ball and showed he can hit the ball to all fields.”

SPRAYING DUST--New slide rule…this year the NCAA has gone back to the old policy that a base runner can slide through a base and/or pop up without being called out…new calendar rule…in 2008 warm weather schools will have to ignore their players until the first of their 132 days of contact begins likely mid February…season will start March 1 with 56 games in 14 weeks…the contact days are split fall to spring but this year Tuesdays are 1/7 of the schedule (8 out of 56) but next year, they will be 1/4 of the schedule (14 out of 56)…can you say Big Ten…and of course some opponents can literally go underground with workouts, like those with buried facilities--Wichita State, Penn State, etc…training room stuff--hamate-bone injured Chris Nelson now leads the team with his .667 average and although the coaches are careful he seems cleared “especially on a nice sunny day” said Weathers….Manny McElroy would like to think he can start throwing again in about 10-12 days and be ready for the series at Wichita State March 16 but coaches would be happy to have him back in the rotation the following weekend when CSUF comes in…’til then coaches suggest that Andrew Liebel will be retooled as a starter…last limper line--Brandon Godfrey dropped a weightlifting bar on his foot…day to day…scoreboard news and numbers…the BWC had one of the upsets of Friday when CSUN’s ran down No. 16 Oklahoma State 9-8….unknown power Coastal Carolina remained unbeaten by whipping No. 19 TCU….in Malibu Barry Enright tossed a three-hit shutout to lead No. 14 Pepperdine past Fresno State…no such good news for UOP who remains the only BWC team with a losing record as #3 Clemson scored all eight of its runs in the fifth and sixth innings…in the Lone Star state Rice got a two run walk-off homer from Joe Savery to beat FAU and Texas used a pair of safety squeezes to whip Washington State 4-2, USC 8, Tulane 5…back in the Big West it was Santa Clara 8, Cal Poly 3; UC Irvine 7, Utah 3; UC Riverside 4, San Diego State 1 (Donnie Hume had a no/no into the 8th and lost); and, ta da, UCLA 6, Fullerton 2 as Wes Roemer fans 12 but his mates get only five hits…the series moves to Westwood today and tomorrow….more Pick on the Titans…CSUF opponents have stolen 15 bases in 18 attempts for a whopping 83% success rate...last add today’s pitchers—had Ross given Cal the lead today’s Bear starter against Cal’s crafty lefty (aren’t they all) Craig Bennigson (1-1, 0.71) would have been used up on a save…the homeboys will feature TCU transfer Omar Arif (1-2, 2.20) —DR. DAN


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