Sunday, May 06, 2007


Forget your Spiderman 3, this is the weekend that the Long Beach Film and Baseball Festival debuts Batman 49, starring the suddenly sizzling Dirtbags who in the distant past, say March, were struggling to get hits let alone runs. Fast forward to Saturday afternoon and after a 15-4 laugher the Beach bashers once again scored early and often and as a result (thanks to Pacific and Santa Barbara for their Oscar-quality work as supporting actors) are all alone on top of the Big West Conference.

Breathless show biz analogies aside, these Niners, according to their regular critic coach Mike Weathers, “have become Bats Alive” and paired with upsets by UOP (over Riverside) and UCSB (over Fullerton) have at least temporarily cleared away some of the clutter on the road to the Big West title. The heroes were many but principally Andrew Liebel who shut down Cal Poly’s vaunted offense for six innings and often over-looked senior Robert Perry who collected a career-high six RBIs. Together they set up Long Beach State (29-14, 9-2 Big West) for a legitimate run at the 2007 conference title. Cal Poly, held in high esteem after beating Irvine two of three last month and sweeping Fresno State last weekend, fell to 24-22, 8-6 Big West. The Beach had crooked numbers in five of their eight innings with their seventh straight win with their clutch shortstop Danny Espinosa getting three hits and a pair of RBIs along with an assortment of almost expected web gems. Liebel upped his record to 7-2 although he was making only his second start and the only other time he began a game at Blair was in a Connie Mack summer league. Weathers liked the effort even though Andrew tired in the seventh. “He doesn’t strike many guys out but he gets the other teams bats going and that creates a tempo that the defense just loves.” Translated, it all looks good but really isn’t and nine fly ball outs and nine ground ball outs was all the Niners needed. Today the Mustang’s ace Thomas Eager (8-2, 3.08 ERA) will try to avoid the sweep when SLO faces LBSU sophomore lefty Shane Peterson (2-1, 3.96 ERA).

ABBEY’S ANGEL DUST—Liebel, who’s Mom Fran played a slick second base for the Santa Ana Lionettes some years ago, struggled early but then retired 15 of the next 17 with six scoreless innings...Red hot TJ Mittlestaedt got the day off but goes back to work again today and of course Mr. Peterson, who extended his hit streak to 19 games, does double duty on Sundays…even rookie third baseman Taylor Krick made all the hard throws and chipped in with a two-run double…switching topics my favorite tee shirt from the NCAA volleyball final last night was the one in the IPFW student section, “Where is Irvine???”… well, it is south of Fort Wayne, near John Wayne Airport and for the Mastodon fans UCI has a really silly mascot, an Anteater…back to the bases, catcher Travis Howell hit the ball hard for the second game in a row, adding two more doubles to his total and throwing out a SLO baserunner...if you remember volleyball ace Brittany Hochevar you will remember her brother Luke who went from Tennessee to the pros, well there is another baseball sibling Dylan…their dad says, "Dylan's starting to figure out his body and getting real comfortable with his arm slot. He had been struggling with his arm angle. But now it has really helped him with his tempo and lines to the plate."… he has attracted interest from Long Beach, Nebraska and Oklahoma, but the Vols likely have the best chance…look for some more Titan whine this week about missing David Cooper who bolted Nutwood for Berkeley…he was hitting .371/.443/.618 with 10 HRs and 46 RBI before the weekend

Next weekend are those D Bag killing Gauchos…UCSB has won seven of the last nine meetings and 14 of the last 21…in case you missed your Vic Cegles sighting that’s because he is playing poppa this weekend back east visiting both of his athletic offspring, Casey the football catching kid for Towson State in Baltimore and Vic Jr. on the Rutgers baseball team…our reporter, (Vic’s wife Bonnie) said Casey caught a couple of passes in the Spring game and the Scarlet Knight nine beat Cincinnati 16-6 and 7-3 to improve to 29-16 and a tie for first in the Big East…the Big West scores had a couple of whoppers especially Pacific 5, UC Riverside 3, UC Santa Barbara 11, Cal State Fullerton 9 and oh yeah, UC Davis 17, Cal State Northridge 12…Irvine has dropped baseball and just plays dungeons and dragons. volleyball and crew…or possibly they are off this weekend…word coming down that the Mets may promote Jason Vargas from AAA to an “interim” big league spot in their rotation…his numbers are ordinary, 5.23 2-3, but his stuff is impressive…and…he is a lefty…next up is a TV game from SDSU who is on a swoon…UNLV beat the Aztecs who dropped their seventh-straight game and are now 27-24, 11-9 in conference games...last Titan dig, when the F boys clubbed UCSB Friday why did the coaches leave Wes Roemer in for 110 pitches into the ninth?...the Titans were leading 12-0 after seven…our closing numbers come from Saturday where ranked teams continued to struggle with numbers 1,8,9,13,18, and 24 all losing…maybe the polls will notice, maybe not, enjoy the moment.—DR. DAN


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