Friday, April 13, 2007


Forget Friday the 13th, for our numbers edition of Diamond Dust the number is 1812 as in that really fine overture by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and that really fine (and surprising to some) season record by Long Beach State baseball. The Dirtbags got to that number Tuesday night with what skipper Mike Weathers said was his “best ever win—how many times can you beat Pepperdine in 45 minutes.” Forgetting Mikes new math, (the :45 was the clock on completing a game that was actually 63 days long) the 49ers get back to the Big West this weekend trying to lap hit-happy Northridge.

To accomplish that vroom, vroom moment the Beach will have to grit their teeth, cross fingers, and avoid ladders, black cats and other such superstitions that come with a very unsettled pitching rotation. Exhibit one is Shane Peterson (1-1, 3.97) who had four RBIs in that Tuesday two-step over Pepperdine but has to start on the mound tonight against CSUN ace Jimmy Jolicoeur (5-2, 4.02). LB’s season-long Friday guy, Vance Worley, will be shelved a couple more starts with triceps tenderness. VW swears that his absence has nothing to do with the fact that the Mats offense shone last weekend with 24 runs on 37 hits (in a not so crisp 11 hours, 17 minutes.)

Beyond the mound mystery, there is this bad game of dominoes that the Beach had to play starting with game three of the ORU series when shortstop Danny Espinosa went missing with a pain in the back. Coaches, trainers, et al worked on “releasing a muscle pinching a nerve” all week but Espy is still listed as a game time decision. When he went out that shuffled an infield that just didn’t click defensively, Tweedy having to cover short and auditions at third by Krick and Pinocchio. At first base on Tuesday senior Brandon Godfrey gave way to Peterson because, as Weathers would say, “we probably should have given Tweedy some experience at short before Danny went out so I decided that we ought to get Shane ready at first. “ Slash hit well but made one actual and one mental error at first and it took another ninth inning rally (the third this season) to save the game. Another shuffle was moving Robert Perry (9-44 coming in) down the order and TJ Mittelstaedt up the order. “I told Robert that the seven spot has been good to a lot of our guys over the years and sure enough he hit a home run. TJ is a good leadoff, knows the strike zone and has a great on-base percentage (.429),” Gotcha coach. CSUN comes in upside down at 13-22, 1-5 BWC and losers of 12 of their last 14 with eight beats by a single run. Backward glance, a similar Matador team won the series 2-1 over LB last season.

START YOUR ENGINES DUST—the happy note these days is that the talented Bryan Shaw is, in the skippers words, “back to being the old Bryan Shaw”...his ERA is below 2 at 1.92 and the record up to 4-2…Liebel (2.06) and Roberts (2.50) help with the closing arguments…this weekend anybody could pitch anywhere, Arif for sure will get a start and McElroy will go as far as his rebuilt arm will take him…young guns Dustin Rasco (1-0, 3.38), Adam Wilk (1-0, 3.94) and Andrew Lamontagne (1-0, 6.35) give T-Buck lefty righty buttons to push…back to our music appreciation class, the 1812 is a work best known for the sequence of cannon fire which is sometimes performed, especially at outside festivals, using one or more real cannons…that brings us to the hitting issues for the Niners, as in the modest team batting average of .272… with just a handful of hitters over .300…reason--mostly Blair as the Mats will find out tonight and tomorrow…on Sunday, who knows…the strained LBSU budget is glad that Troy Buckley doesn’t put in for frequent mound miles…14 different pitchers have appear and ten of them have ten or more innings…maybe the PA guy needs extra pay for filling with sounds…Where are theys—Jared Hughes off to a great start with a 5.2 innings and a miniscule 1.69 ERA…Evan Longoria has started hot with the Montgomery Biscuits on the Tampa Bay farm where is around .400 and a kicking .800 plus slugging percentage….not such a good start for Jeremy Reed… the Ex Dirtbag outfielder and the Mariners' starting center fielder on Opening Day the past two seasons, began this season with the AAA Tacoma Rainiers…unable to hit lefties his batting average is .211 but still a phone call away from going back to the bigs…"That's the bad side of this job, having to do this, especially this time of spring," Seattle manager Mike Hargove said. "[Cutting] Jeremy was one of the toughest ones I've ever had to do. It was not fun, but we all felt it was the right thing to do."…and how about the ex coach who developed one of the best LB pitchers of all time Daniel Choi…that would be Steve Rousey who worked as the pitching coach for three LB All-Americans, including ‘93 national Pitcher of the Year Mr. Choi…oh yes, unless he chats with umps, he’s in the third base dugout all weekend as the Mats head coach—DR. DAN


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