Friday, February 09, 2007


The irony of sports is that you always seem to want what the other guy has. Texas for example has that tune “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You” when in reality it is everybody else’s eyes that are on Texas. Changing dugouts, if you have been to the parking lot at UT’s Dish-Fork stadium you can understand why the faithful would just love to be Dirtbags. They come early, fire up the grill and pop the trunk of an antiquated antlered burnt orange caddy for a favorite beverage. The Beach crowd first experienced Austin in 1991 when Jason Giambi, Scotty Talanoa, Steve Trachsel and mates came into the Central Regional as a three seed, whipped the top seeded Horns 17-10, and made trip number two to Omaha.

Looked easy at the time but since then Texas (2005 CWS champs) has been tough on everybody, LB included. This weekend the D-bags will roll out the same rotation as last weekend, tonight Vance Worley (1.50) with six innings of one-run baseball in a no-decision against USC, and then Manny McElroy (1-0, 2.84) Omar Arif (1-0, 0.00) both of whom beat the Boys of Troy. The Horn hill toppers will be James Russell (0-1, 2.57), Kyle Walker (0-0, 9.00) and Randy Boone (0-1, 4.26). Texas (7th ranked and now 2-2) dropped two of three to San Diego and beat UT-Arlington on Tuesday. What they like to do is run, (11 of 12 in steals so far this season) particularly ahead of Preston Clark who has opened the season batting .533. The pitching has been less impressive with a 4.75 ERA but the wily Coach Augie Garrido (he has taken Texas to five College World Series in six years and is the all-time winningest coach in Division-I baseball) doesn’t panic. Let the games begin.

2-1-1 DUST--Those Tuesday treks to the Malibu always put one on edge. You never know how tough the traffic will be, how many pitchers the Beach will roll out, if the snack bar will be open, and what about the weather. And of course, who wins. The 2007 version of the annual visit to the U with a View had a number of unpredictable outcomes. The traffic wasn’t bad. Dirtbag fan, Memorial Hospital fund raiser and believe it or not, orchid expert, Thom Knight Sabaru-ed us up the 405 where miracles on miracles the car pool lane now goes way past LAX. No sweat on PCH so we get to the yard after a quick lunch. The Waves started fast behind when Eric Thomas delivered a three-run double that capped a five-run fourth inning and staked Pepperdine to a 7-0 lead. Time for a pitcher count, starter Shane Peterson and the next two guys got worked over pretty good but the next four of Buckley’s suggestions, Roberts, Markovitz, Rasco and Shaw shut the homeboys down. Seven arms in all but now the bats began to take over with some serious help courtesy of eight Wave walks. That set up the second three-run homer of the season by Danny Espinosa in the eighth inning and with the twilights last gleaming it remains tied at 7-7 until April 10…one of he puzzling aspects of LBSU is that the community crowd always out numbers the students…Pepperdine took a 2-0 lead in the second inning, rallying for a pair of runs with two outs. Peterson the victim but he would stay in the game and get two RBIs himself but then that troublesome fourth inning when they sent nine batters to the plate and scored five times to take a 7-0 lead. Peterson, who started on the mound for the 49ers, singled with two outs to drive home a pair of runs and make it a 7-4 game in the fifth. Nothing more from the blue hats and it did look dire when I stooped behind a clump of pacing parents who wistfully said “we just need a three run homer to tie them.” I laughed inwardly since the breeze had gone, the air was full of moisture and well, and then Espy earns another Espy with that improbable comeback on a very unpredictable passage to Pepperdine…as a team UT is hitting .271 but the opponents out pace them with a .308 average…a nice number for the home boys is the $60,000 in the hopper to endow a scholarship named after former Head Coach Bob Wuesthoff (1964-69), who led the 49ers to their first conference title in 1964..bring a check for LBSU’s first coach John McConnell to put in the pot…around the Big West this Friday: Fullerton is at UNLV, Irvine hosts LMU, UCSB goes to San Jose, Gonzaga is at Riverside, CSUN plays in the UTPA tourney versus McNeese, Pacific travels to Hawaii and Nevada goes to SLO…our closing quote is from UT’s Sunday pitcher and blogger Randy Boone, “Monday was our day off from practice, and after a couple classes, (Joseph) Krebs, James Russell, Todd Gilfillan and I were able to get out to the golf course and enjoy the beautiful weather. We played best ball righties against lefties, and the lefties pulled it out with a stellar back nine. I believe they shot nine over par, and we came in somewhere around +12.”…keep that focus Randy; in fact we have a tee time for you at Big Rec right behind your bullpen.--DR. DAN


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