Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Officially tonight we are offered another cross town rivalry featuring teams and coaches with a lot in common. Both teams are on four game win streaks, both coaches have been or will be head coach of the prestigious USA baseball program, both feature an Elvis in a starring role and most of the guys in the dugouts know each other pretty well. And on April 17 at least, the players, coaches and fans are convinced that, records aside, if they can put together a string of wins they will have an opportunity to get on that road to Omaha.

For LMU they dodged the showers and then drowned St. Mary’s up in Moraga 8-0 and 8-2 to improve their record to 17-22-1, and 5-4 in the West Coast Conference that has nationally ranked Pepperdine but a playoff between the West and Coast divisions in late May where anything can happen. The resume for the Beach is clearly more impressive. Ranked #23 in the Rivals poll, #25 in the USA/ESPN poll and continuing a home stand that has upped their record to 21-12 and 4-2 in the Big West the Dirtbags will bring out the smoke and mirrors again trying to hide the crowd in the training room while giving all sorts of guys more playing time than was planned at the first of the year. For example freshman lefthander Adam Wilk (2-0, 4.24) gets the LB start this evening but will be able to see a lot of other first and second year men around him. LMU’s will send Xavier Esquivel (0-2, 4.54) into the circle with his variety of fastballs and sliders. Both guys will be on short leashes and must keep their pitches down to stay around long. Now to the Elvis tease. You know the Long Beach Elvis, aka Joe Ballsinger, but the LMU Elvis is WCC royalty this week. He is Elvis Herrera West Coast Conference Player of the Week after hitting .556 (10-for-18. Against Saint Mary's on Friday, Herrera drove in five runs, the first time a Lion tallied five RBI since March of 2006. Last of these parallels, the Beach also had Player of the Week honorees, two of them. Shane “Slash” Peterson and closer Bryan Shaw got the BWC good words this week. Peterson batted .562 last week around his mound chores and Shaw got a win and a save to lower his ERA to a team leading 1.78.

MIDWEEK DUSTING—the weekend waxing of Northridge (W 11-2, W 4-2, W 7-2) featured a variety of heroes, including the Cal connection, Jason Corder on Saturday with 2 RBIs and Travis Howell on Sunday with four in a three-hit afternoon...the roster for the LB MASH unit as of press time wasn’t known…maybe Espinosa comes back and maybe Brandon Godfrey, the latest training room citizen…McElroy looks on the mend but Whorley has a long way to go…As a team LMU is hitting better than the Beach (.287 to .274) but the pitching and defense is below LB standards, a 4.92 team ERA (LB is 3.26) with a .961 fielding percentage (LB is ..967)…Eric Farris has the biggest numbers for the Lions, .367, is in his third season with LMU baseball and is off of an all star summer in the Cape Cod League where he had a top-10 batting average...LMU Coach Frank Cruz was The USA coach in 2004 and Weathers runs that team this summer…if Espinosa stays out again coaches are feeling better about the defense of Jason Tweedy at short…but his bat is still a struggle...up next for LB is conference trainee UC Davis. On the weekend the Aggies lost all three to Fullerton, twice on Sunday 6-3 and 9-8…for the F word it was Evan McArthur day in game one (he went 3 for 4 and drove in two runs) but in the second contest UC Davis (12-21) had a five run sixth inning and closed to a one run deficit but with a time curfew for Titan travel home the Nutwood Nine held on to win…more road news, Beach softball is at UCR this weekend after winning their series over Fullerton…on the post-season dreaming front Barry Faulkner of the Daily Pilot reported that UCI has bid to host an NCAA regional June 1-4…that requires a $25,000 commitment which the Eaters hope will be recouped by ticket revenues…let’s see…Anteater Ballpark has 901 permanent seats and a lovely grass berm behind the first-base dugout…their brag figure, grass and seats, is 3,500 spectators…more on the newest Dirtbag fan, Vic Couch, who will assist the second newest fan, Dan “Perpetual Motion” Monson…some of the big names he has worked with Aaron Robinson and Brent Lawson, key guys in Minnesota’s 2005 NCAA Tournament team…at Anaheim Servite his team won the state championship in 1991…and if you dare to think that defense was missing from last year’s 49er squad you might like to know that from 1983-1985, this VC was a two-year starter at forward for Santa Clara and the defensive leader for the Broncos…including guarding guys like John Stockton, Reggie Miller, Kevin Johnson and A.C. Green...and maybe best of all Vic and his wife Sherry have a son named…drum roll…Juston Kace…last add on Baseball America dissing the Dirtbags…not so says BA’s Aaron Fitt… “the final discussion was between LBSU and NC State…it's tough to overlook Beach's 12-10 record vs. top 25, but their 5-4 record in weekend series hurts them.”…sounds like work to be done.—DR. DAN


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