Tuesday, March 11, 2008


After burning rubber all around town last week, tires and sneakers, I have decided that the word of the week is Timing. For the passionate homecoming crowd that shot clock excitement, plus or minus one second, may have altered the men’s basketball season record but after digesting the very mild NCAA penalties nobody that I spoke with was really complaining.

That same Saturday also included a run up to Mayfair Park where the softball side of the Beach sports portfolio had a very fine weekend themselves with their own over-time battle with #2 UCLA. The Sweethearts of Swat (15-8) are off to San Diego this weekend but have made a nice dent in the national polls. Tennis was the second stop of Saturday and the net set enjoyed a 6-1 romp over their rivals from UCI and that sets the stage for another Big West title run.

And you know I would eventually get around to baseball where timing was really important last week. On Tuesday the Dirtbags (a legit Top Tem team with a bottom ten batting average of .240) were no-hit for five innings by lowly LMU and then had to scramble back from a one run deficit to escape with a W. At Hawaii on Friday the Beach was down 3-0 going into the eighth before winning in 12, had to hold on for a 4-2 victory Saturday and was behind 4-2 before a five run seventh led to the Sunday win. The team ERA is still a stunning 2.12 but that batting average won’t impress this weekend’s dance partner USC.

The Trojans traveled themselves last weekend to play and sweep the Winthrop Eagles. Now 9-4, USC features Roberto Lopez with his 12 game hit streak and a chip on their shoulder for the spanking the Beach gave them last year. For the Niners you just aren’t sure anymore who will take the lead. Chris Nelson and Jason Corder drove in three runs in the Sunday win, but Espy (another great glove weekend) went a miserable 2-14 at the plate. Freshman catcher John Hill saw his first action and went 3-6 in Hawaii with three RBIs. The bullpen was brilliant as usual and has yet to give up an earned run. Even with Manny McElroy scratched for the year with a bad back, the pitching staff is arguably the best in the USA.

DUST UPS—The NCAA report did leave administrators with concerns over how watchful their compliance department was. The coaches will be able to recruit normally this summer and the incoming class looks excellent.

More timing, in the victory over Stanford the 49er volley lads got the win despite being out hit because they won the serving war, 13 aces to three. The other note from MVB is that officially Coach Alan Knipe has squashed the rumor that the Gold Mine has been recently haunted. “It isn’t so much that we don’t play well in the Gold Mine but that other teams feel more comfortable in that setting than in the Pyramid”

Knipe as a player won a lot of matches in the old gym during that 1991 NCAA title run. Ironically that year the biggest crowd was a fire-marshal-looking the other way packed house of 2,091 in a loss to USC. This weekend all the action is in the Pyramid including Saturday’s feature match with top-ranked Penn State.

Last add blood, sweat and tears. Donovan Morris won the 2008 BWC scoring title but when some blood got on his #4 jersey Saturday he switched to a clean #55. The Niner gunner, inspired by the last occupant of that jersey (Aaron Nixon) proceeded to nail a wild off-balance three just like last year’s Big West MVP. This time, however, the Niners lost.—DR. DAN


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