Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Even though both schools were founded in 1949, in this mid-major sporting landscape there is not much to compare a small, elite, religious school like the University of San Diego (pop. 7,200) and CSULB, or LBSU (or heavens forbid, Dirtbag U) and their 37,891 students. However tonight when the lads step, skip or scuffle over chalk you will see programs more similar in a baseball sense then they are different.

For the record both teams used early seven run outbursts to avoid a broom job. USD (7-6) got a huge crooked seven-run lead early and beat San Diego State 10-7 Sunday afternoon at Tony Gwynn Stadium and the Bags (3-7), jumped out 7 zip and beat South Carolina 10-7 deep in the heart of Dixie.

Admittedly the Beach may still be too green to make a big run this year but a series of little runs would be nifty. The Toreros dropped from 16th to 23rd have a ton of talent and seemed ready to make another post season run and jet lagged or not LB has to be ready for this one and then again for the weekend visit from Washington State.(1-8 with their mid week exhibition against British Columbia weathered out).

Getting philosophical, intercollegiate athletics--or debate, or drama, or dance—all represent the intellectual value of cultural enrichment and socialization, etc. Until Sunday night I was clinging to that concept because of serial disappointments with the two game losing streaks for baseball, volleyball and softball teams, a first place buzzer beater loss in men’s basketball and just another beat-down for women’s basketball. Sunday however buoyed my spirits with Dirtbag baseball long balling their way to a win on the road over previously unbeaten South Carolina, softball small balling their way over seldom-beaten UCLA, tennis keeping their Big West record perfect and the recognition that a bye to the semi-finals of the conference tourney is truly something to celebrate.

In baseball the weekend featured a lot of grits and biscuits, more doubles than a twins’ convention and more homers than refs at a Big West basketball road game. Reading the chat rooms made me realize that if being a pessimist was an Olympic sport there would be a lot of gold medalists in Niner-ville. In the stands tonight will be a bunch of other Niners (ready to vote yes on Beach Legacy tomorrow and Thursday) softball’s Sweethearts of Swat. Sunday (again) it was Sophomore Brooke Turner tossing a gritty two-hitter to lead LBSU to a 2-1 victory over No. 3 UCLA (23-3). She was followed by her freshman “trainee”, Taylor Petty (10 Ks), who snuffed Syracuse, 4-1, in the nightcap. Oh yes, and when parents run the snack bar it is always worth the wait in line. The Beach is now 15-9 and off to the National Invitational Softball Tournament in San Jose this weekend.

The big deal for the Dirtbags on Sunday was a breakout game by outfielder Steve Tinoco. Enjoying the southern hospitality, Stevie T went five-for-five with three home runs in support of talented freshman Andrew Gagnon who collected his first win of the year, striking out seven in five innings of work with closing arguments from Charlie Ruiz and the lad the Long Beach Post likes to call, Dustin “The Dirty Little” Rasco. LB got the early lead in every game against the Gamecocks who can swing very well. Please note, that isn’t a crack on their “bandbox” ball park but it won’t remind anyone of the wide open spaces of Blair Field.

Last adding--Almost 21,000 for the three game set at the other USC. I guess having well known opponent like LBSU is good for the cash box. Weather by the way, not the manager of the same name, was clear and sunny all weekend and former LBSU SID Steve Janisch, now in the restaurant business in Ft. Lauderdale, came up to see the team…LB hoops is on ESPN U this weekend and later they will broadcast the Long Beach at Fullerton baseball game on May 22…last ball note, kudos to the Slash, Shane Peterson, who is now a two-time Big West Scholar-Athlete of the Year…he was drafted in the second round by St. Louis and heads to camp this week or last week, parents are always so shy with details… a final note about a super kid named Miranda who shares her snacks with me…she is a huge Espy fan and has a signed card coming soon…her favorite sport, AYSO soccer?—DR DAN


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