Tuesday, March 11, 2008


They got their nickname from an old Marine who was the football coach back in 1927 and are the only public school in the U.S. that has permission to use the U. S. Marine Corps official seal, mascot (the bulldog) and nickname. Not a household name in college baseball, WIU suprises somebody every year. For example in 2007 they collected three Big Ten scalps--Northwestern (13-9), Purdue (5-2) and Iowa (9-2). Now do I think that Leathernecks will beat Long Beach? No, but my job is to increase tension and apprehension among the Blair Field faithful so forget the facts that the Niners have swept the last two weekends and are numbers 7, 7, 7, and 9 in the polls while the visitors are 0 for ‘08 (0-6) and won’t play their first home game until March 28.

The Leathernecks are on a prolonged spring break having already traveled to Alabama, Missouri and Oklahoma, not exactly Cancun, Palm Springs or Ft. Lauderdale. They don’t play at home until March 28 but the good news for Mid-Continent Conference Coach of the Year Stan Hyman and his lads WIU sports info reported to me that Macomb (sort of on the Iowa side of Illinois) has its first non-fast foods chain restaurant, drum roll please, Wild Wings. And now back to your regularly scheduled Diamond Dust.

LBSU is now is the only team in the Top Ten with a team batting average (.240) in the bottom ten. The secret is to parlay brilliant pitching (2.12 team ERA) with timely hitting for a seven game win streak and Juco import Tyler Topp (0-0, 0.84) expects to continue that streak leading up to the weekend of here, there, and here with Southern Cal. While the Bags brought back three wins and a suitcase full of macadamia nuts from Hawaii, the former batting leader Danny Espinosa brought back Excedrin Headache #49 going 2-14. The good news was the discovery of catcher John Hill who debuted with a 3-6 weekend and three RBIs, Jason Corder who missed the two weekends with a knee injury is now batting .462, and third baseman Taylor Krick upped his average to .417.

DOW JONES DUST—after a mild decline, half my net worth, the DJIA was up 300 plus at deadline…next up for WIU is a trip to the U with a View Pepperdine tomorrow and two other nice yards, San Diego and Point Loma…they lost twice by one run to Alabama State and scored a lot but lost four to Oklahoma…their best bats are catcher Cooper Stewart (.467), third baseman Drew Laidig (.462) and outfielder Jared Wolf (.438)…bad number--a team ERA of 7.96…this weekend look for our pal Pat West who is the proud grandma of one of our favorite sons, Maine hockey standout Travis Ramsay who today has gone pro with the Manitoba Moose in the AHL, top farm team for the Vancouver Canucks….for the fantasy baseball crowd ESPN came out with the list of the top 10 MLB shortstops for 2008 and ex Bag Troy Tulowitzki checked in at number six. They are in order: 1. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins; 2. Jose Reyes, Mets; 3. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies; 4. Derek Jeter, Yankees; 5. Carlos Guillen, Tigers; 6. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies; 7. Rafael Furcal, Dodgers; 8. Miguel Tejada, Astros; 9. Michael Young, Rangers and 10. Orlando Cabrera, White Sox….as much as I like live baseball at Blair, after midnight I loved the ten buck live TV feed from Honolulu’s Channel 5…I saw players close up, replays, the lush green domo fake grass and dirt, real Hawaiian shaved ice and great graphics featuring the inter-locking LB and not that old Pyramid logo…all that and no jet lag

Meanwhile Hawaii stays busy…they play a two game mid week set against Alabama-Birmingham tonight and Wednesday, travel to UC Irvine for a three-game series on the weekend...meanwhile our weekend dance partner USC used a 7-1 victory over the Winthrop Eagles on Sunday to earn their own sweep…Trojans play UCI at home tonight, trying to crawl back into the national picture with their 9-4 record… the Big West on this Tuesday--UC Riverside at Loyola Marymount; Pacific at Sacramento State; UC Santa Barbara at Cal Poly; and San Diego at Cal State Fullerton…our closing quote from WIU’s Stan Hyman after getting beat at Oklahoma, “This was a very frustrating loss,…we out-hit them 14-to-10, we made one error while they made four and we end up losing by five runs….we left 14 guys on base and have to start getting the big hit when we need it” ..we all know the feeling skipper. –DR. DAN


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