Friday, April 06, 2007


On the surface the game was sort of the way the press reported it. “Andrew Liebel (5-2) and Vance Worley combined on a two-hitter as No. 23-ranked Long Beach State (15-11) shutout visiting Oral Roberts (15-13) 4-0 on Thursday evening.” That report however forgets the mystery that still surrounds the up and down Dirtbags as we head into ORU game two on this Good Friday evening.

Normally split games occur when the starter goes six or so and you get exceptional relief for the final three or so. Last night starter Vance Worley couldn’t answer the bell for the fourth and Reliable Liebel found yet another way to contribute as the really long relief. He got the all the hitting help he would need from guys like Shane Peterson, two RBIs and a 2-for-3 effort, and Brandon Godfrey, three hits, two runs scored and a pumped up batting average of .342. Of course when an ace disappears from the deck of pitchers speculation runs around Blair faster than kids chasing foul balls. The theories in no particular order were “Buckley is saving him for Pepperdine on Tuesday,” “they are still trying to stretch Liebel out”. “I think I heard something pop.” Faced with that mixed bag of conspiracy theories we asked the aforementioned Mr. Troy Buckley who classified the move as “strictly precautionary”. “Vance had an arm injury in high school (elbow strain at McClatchy HS in Sacto) and the last pitch he threw in the third was a curve ball. He said that it didn’t feel right and reminded him of his high school injury. The trainer examined him and we sent him to the bull pen for a couple of throws but when a player has discomfort and apprehension we take them out.” Buck said the trainer did not see any post game swelling or tingling or other indicators of the dreaded UCL, the Tommy John thing.

Ironically today is the day that MIA Manny McElroy returns after missing most of February, all of March and this much of April. He will face ORU’s hard throwing righty Jeremy Hefner, Jr. (4-1, 3.68). Tomorrow ORU sends returning All American and conference Pitcher of the Year Chris Ashman who has struggled so far (2-3, 5.45) against Omar Arif. Back to our side Liebel was almost perfect down the stretch nailing the last 13 batters of the game, pitching the final six shutout innings and giving up just one hit with four strikeouts. More T-Buck, “he did a great job and was getting more strikes with his fast ball.” The Worley/Liebel opposite number, ORU's Chance Chapman, didn’t get the support he deserved. A National Pitcher of the Week following 17 strikeouts against Arkansas nine days ago, he gave up four runs (three earned) on 10 hits over six innings but the offense put more goose eggs on the scoreboard than the kids will find in the park tomorrow. More misery for the Eagles came from the position of catcher, LB’s Brian Capon threw out two and ORUs Brian Van Kirk allowed the Beach to enjoy a season high four stolen bases. Bit player in the Orange County Housewives, Steve Tinoco, got LB on the board with an RBI single before Peterson made it 2 zip with his single RBI and three zip with the same in the fifth. Godfrey, on base all day, scored from second. The last nail came from freshman TJ Mittelstaedt's who squeezed in Peterson after his second heist of the contest.

THE DUST OF THE STORY—down on Nutwood, Register writer Janis Carr noted, “Maybe because “Survivor” is on at 8 p.m. and “Grey’s Anatomy” at 9 p.m. Maybe this isn’t as big of a series as expected. Whatever the reason, Goodwin Field is not even half full for the opening Big West game between No. 12 Fullerton and No. 23 Irvine.”…at Blair the announced gathering of 927 can be misleading since all crowd counts start with season ticket sales of 524…in the crowd however (and getting free advice) were the LB Big Three, President Alexander, AD Vic Cegles, and his new chief Lt. Dave Benedict…irony part two…ORU just averted a basketball coach crisis themselves when their talented young hoop skipper Scott Sutton was on the short list for Creighton until the Creighton guy did a quick U-Turn from Arkansas…lots of Eagle followers in town in part because they have nine Californians…irony part 3…back in the early eighties the Houp brothers (who had the house next to mine) split up with Ken playing at ORU and Scott at LBSU...around the Big West last night it was Northridge 8, Cal Poly 7; Pacific 12, UC Davis 10; Irvine 2, Fullerton 1; Riverside 9, UCSB 0…and around the I wish I was in the Big West it was California 0 @ Arizona 1 (11); Fresno State 7 @ Nevada 6; Hawaii 9 @ Sacramento State 6; LMU 1 @ Pepperdine 3; New Mexico 3 @ San Diego State 6; San Diego 4 @ Saint Mary's 2; Santa Clara 4 @ San Francisco 3; Southern California 5 @ Oregon State 9; Stanford 4 @ Arizona State 5; and Washington 5 @ UCLA 6… bonus Titan misery…the Nutwood Nine had the bases loaded, nobody out in 9th—then a runner is caught at home, followed by a strike out, ground out—DR. DAN


Post a Comment

<< Home