Sunday, February 24, 2008


First all the LB lads rolled out the tarp in the hopes that Mother Nature would do her thing quickly and their would be baseball again this weekend. With that chore accomplished, the vet and the rook gathered for the media throng (Abby of the campus paper, Bob K of downtown and me.) For the second time in as many games, the so called underdog Dirtbags beat #3 Rice (3-2) and did it with their patented little ball brand, pairing smothering pitching with just enough offense. The vet of course is the red hot Danny Espinosa, shortstop extraordinaire, and the rook, is surprising Devin Lohman, shortstop heir apparent.

“I think that last year I had some holes in my game,” Espinosa offered in self analysis, ”but right now I feel real confident.” Espy’s early season tale of the tape-hitting .556, and on Saturday scoring all three runs, cranking a double and a home run, and being the pivot point in three double plays. Add young Mr. Lohman, who played short in high school and “just enough second base to feel pretty comfortable” and you had the offensive heroes in the first two wins. “I love working out there with Danny and to be able to learn something every day.” And his secret to those productive at bats (hitting .500 with a team best .571 on base %), “I see my job as making their pitcher work harder, and to let my team mates see a bunch of pitches.”

Speaking of pitching, for the second day in a row the Beach kept the visitors in check until round two of the late inning magic. The Bags took advantage of a Rice fielding muff to strike first for a run in the bottom of the first inning. Espinosa doubled to right-center. Slash Peterson put the ball in play and the subsequent boot allowed Espy, green lighted by third base coach TJ Bruce, to score from second base. In the third Espy, big fly over the wall heading toward Big Rec’s #17 upped the LB lead to 2-0. Rice would chip away with single runs in the 4th and 7th but the winning margin was coming up Dirtbag in the 8th. Espinosa led off with a single to right and advanced to second on a nifty sacrifice bunt by Peterson and the wonder rookie Lohman singled and Espy found a space at home not covered by Rice’s catcher Adam Zornes. All that was left at that time was for closer “B” Bryan Shaw to bring the umbrellas out with a 1-2-3 top of the ninth. Vance Worley threw 88 pitches to get the Beach to new guy and closer “A”, Nick Vincent, in the eighth and his scoreless inning paired with Lohman’s GWRBI put the W in Vincent’s column and the S in Shaw’s.

DUST THAT FITS WE PRINT--The third-ranked 49er men's volleyball team said goodbye to Columbus with another win over Ohio State…30-27, 30-27, 30-23…the Niners are 12-1 and once again heavy hitters Paul Lotman,20 kills, and Dean Bittner, 16 kills, powered the Beach who next appear on retro night in the Gold Mine Friday, March 1 when they host Cal State Northridge at 7 pm …both hoops teams are at UCI on Thursday, ladies first at 5 p.m….New Mexico State crushed the Beach men 80-48 at the Pan American Center while the Beach ladies just barely avoided giving CSUN its first BWC win, surviving 49-48…as usual Karina Figueroa led the 49ers (24 points, and a career high five three-pointers.)

Back to the bases, another rookie will get the start for LB, freshman righty Jake
Thompson who passed on a senior year across the street at Wilson, and got Weather’s
nod over senior Manny McElroy…Manny will go on Tuesday against San Diego and Kyle
Blair (he had a fancy 9-2 record and 0.31 ERA)…Rice meanwhile heads home for six games in six days, starting with Texas A& M Corpus Christi Tuesday…in the fall the
Niners had UCD’s number in three games that did not count…SDSU won two of three
from USD over the weekend….BWC scoreboard, lots of double headers..
UCSB 8, Marist 4; UC Irvine 8, Nevada 7; Cal Poly 16, Alabama 7; TCU 4, Fullerton 2; Northwestern 3, Northridge 2; Pacific 4, Houston 3; Riverside 6, Washington 3;
Davis 3, Fresno State 1; Santa Barbara 13, Marist 4; Cal Poly 6, Alabama 2;
Washington 19, Riverside 4; Fresno State 7, UC Davis 0…with the two losses expect
San Diego to drop out of the top ten, but not far…around the basin UCLA split a DH with Oklahoma, as did Pepperdine with Wake Forest…USC had won two over FIU and will
employ a 10 a.m. Sunday start to try and fool mother nature—DR. DAN


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