Friday, March 14, 2008


Unless you are a college baseball purist, or the parent of a pitcher, don’t you honestly mumble under your breath, “Somebody turn off the fan!” If you believed our Tuesday’s word—Timing-- then you will enjoy our weekend word—Strikeout. I actually swiped the fan idea from the Hawaii TV announcers who were frustrated by the way the guys in the Beach shirts kept breezing baseballs past the Rainbow hitters. As poorly as the Niners (9-3 and ranked 7th) have hit thus far this season (.232), the 2008 mound crew might be the best ever at least in terms of depth. Twelve games into the season the team ERA is 2.12 and the opponents batting average is just .222 and, as you know, that includes the free swingers from Rice, Wichita State and that UH crew.

So far the Beach hurlers have recorded 124 strikeouts, that being just a hair over ten per game, which is a lot of outs to give away, especially to a team that is averaging only four runs per game. Interestingly tonight’s visitors from downtown (9-5 and unranked) pride themselves as being very selective, fanning only 5.5 times per game, .302 batting average and scoring almost 7 runs per game. Both LBS and USC were unlucky on Tuesday. SC swept Winthrop (now 10-3) in Rock Hill, SC and on the Beach was on the big Rock, aka Hawaii (now 7-9). LB then lost to Western Illinois 3-0 while USC lost to UCI 11-3. The ‘Eaters took advantage of five SC errors, six walks and eight hit batters.

As usual 49er Friday nights start with the Devil from Damien, Andrew Liebel (0-0, 1.16). The devil is what the hitters see and the Damien is Andrew’s alma mater, ironically a private catholic high school in LaVerne. From his stat line you wouldn’t think that Liebel had no decisions in his 23.1 innings but it just has been that kind of season. ‘Drew does have an impressive 32 strikeouts and with the mop up men behind him giving up virtually nothing, skipper Mike Weathers ain’t about to complain. His opposite number tonight will be Trojan Tommy Milone, a hard throwing lefty with fancy numbers of his own, 2-0, and 2.00. The Saturday matchup, down there at 1:30 p.m., will see Vance Worley (2-0, 3.38 and in his own K groove with 11 in his Hawaii win) facing SC’s Kevin Couture (1-0, 2.84). Meanwhile the parent moment on Sunday's will be our guy Jake Thompson who skipped his senior year of high school, facing USC’s catcher and early enrollee Robert Stock. Stock’s mom actually helped the Thompson family agree with the idea of kids forgoing mystery meat in the cafeteria, PE classes and senior proms for college.

HOOPLESS DUST—While the Trojan faithful will have to keep one eye on tonight’s 6 p.m. Pac 10 basketball biz, the Niners and super fan Perry Moore have packed up all that March sadness…alternate destination tonight is the Mid where men’s volleyball faces IPFW, who played for the NCAA title last year…tomorrow is more fan friendly, an evening contest against #1 Penn State…history lesson on the frequently used term “dose" as in getting hit by a pitch from John Manuel of BA and Professor George Horton, now of Oregon U…John first, “The strategy started with Wally Kincaid” (Horton's old coach at Cerritos College) where the Falcons invented the small ball strategy…in that program was a young Dave Snow who took his ideas to LA Valley JC before finding fame and fortune at LMU then LBSU…Horton picks up the story, “Coach Snow had Doug Baker (at L.A. Valley), who was a great fielder, base-runner, but he couldn't hit his way out of a paper sack," Horton recalled. "Times were a little different then, and Coach Snow was trying to figure out a way to get this valuable player into his lineup, so he was kidding around with Baker. He says, 'Hey Bake, if you get hit by a pitch, I'll buy you a Dos Equis beer every time.' So that's how it started. It's not 'take a dose' like medicine, it's 'take a Dos' like the beer."…oh yes Baker set his team’s HBP record…guess compliance people would frown on that now, but as we know, sometimes stuff slips by them

Closing quote from SC’s Chad Kreuter who may be a bit nervous coming into Blair with a team that has committed 25 errors, including five at home on Tuesday..."Long Beach State relies mainly on their pitching and defense to get their wins," Kreuter said. "They've done a great job not just this year, but their history shows Blair Field is a great place to pitch."…let’s hope the fans see something more than fans, maybe some hitting—DR. DAN


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