Monday, May 14, 2007


They keep this secret to themselves but there will be a hard core group of Long Beach fans gathered at Blair Field this weekend that think that neither the visiting UC Riverside Highlanders nor the Long Beach State 49ers should be in the Big West Conference.

Oh yes, these two teams are set to battle for the BWC baseball championship with games Friday night, Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Both teams are in the NCAA Top 25 and both are fresh off of weekend sweeps of lesser confernce opponents. The Beach hard core however have always thought that considering the whole menu of sports, especially basketball, their instituion ought to be playing on the bigger stage of the WAC or Mountain West and that UCR is too facility and fan-challenged to stay in the Big West. That future argument won’t be resolved this weekend but the present baseball business will.

Riverside completed its three-game sweep of Northridge with a modest 7-4 victory Sunday after scoring 18 runs in the each of their first two contests. The Highlanders (33-17, 12-3) have won four straight and 11 of their last 12 games.

Top that you say, okay the Never Say Die Dirtbags have won 12 in a row, 21 of 24, (including a fistful of stunning late inning comebacks) and improved to 34-14, 13-2. Evidence, at UCSB the Beach boys answered an 8-4 deficit with a six run inning Saturday and then down 3-0 Sunday they tied the game at 4-4 before an 8 run effort in the 14th. Against Cal Poly LB was in a 4-0 hole and rolled 10 in the sixth.

Last add, at Pacific the homeboys were losing 6-4, tied it up and then in the 14th put up a five spot. All that hard work and the polls just inched the Niners up from 19 to 16 in Rivals and from 22 to 18 in Baseball America. UCR checked in at 24 and 21 respectively.

GAMETRACKER DUST—As the college baseball season gets down to the final couple of weekends there is a great temptation to become a mouse potatoe and use that nifty CSTV product Gametracker. So there I was last weekend on the home computer chasing not only the Dirtbag-UCSB progress but Fullerton, Pacific, Irvine, and Riverside in the BWC and national powers that rank just above or just below the Beach. Mix in the various web braodcasts and I was more worn out then those guys trying get a dry golf ball on that island green at Ponta Vedra Beach.

More golf. Getting better every day in at the NCAA West Regionals, Niner Kay Hoey tied for 10th place with a 220 (77-73-70) this week but best of all she lives to swing another day by qualifying for the NCAA Championship May 22-25 in Daytona Beach. That event may be her last in 49er colors since the talented junior has said she will take next year off to prep her game for the LPGA tour
Complaint Dept. The Big West has seven teams that play softball and one of them was 0-18 in conference. That would leave six contenders for post-season. The champions from Cal Poly were 14-4. Long Beach finished third at 11-7 but won the series over the second place team Fullerton, the fourth place team Pacific, fifth place Northridge and the sixth place team UCSB. So NCAA selectors you take five from the BWC and pass on LB because a tough non conference schedule left them with a mere 28 wins?

Now the bad news and good news from LBSU Track and Tennis. The bad was that after wining the Big West title last year the men finished fourth and the women third. The good news is again the Beach has a van full of first place winners and the two programs once again finished ahead of UC Irvine to keep the Black and Blue Rivalry Trophy.

The bad news for 49er women's tennis is that the Pepperdine depth wore out the Beach 4-2 in their NCAA first round but the good news is that a high-powered mix of admins and boosters are putting together a plan to totally redo the tennis complex which now has more active termites than places for fans to sit. The good news for everybody, Jewels of the Night is Saturday and you can eat, drink and bid merry for a good cause.--DR. DAN


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