Monday, May 18, 2009


Jordan Casas along with the rest of the 300 plus 49er student athletes played student this week with final exams. Casas and his Dirtbag team mates have one more appointment left, a Friday until Sunday series at Cal State Fullerton in a rivalry that is often both surprising and serious. With no conference tourney in the Big West, the Beach boys are mathematically eliminated from the post season but Jordan has studied his Dirtbag-Titan history.

In the ashes of Sunday’s loss to Cal Poly, Jordan pointed out that in the past two seasons Long Beach won their season ending series with the foe that lives behind the Orange Curtain. The Titans look a cinch to make the tourney and even host the first round. Having their super regional at home, well, the Dirtbags could be the spoiler in that scenario and it’s a business the team and coaches want to undertake before they put up the “Wait until Next Year” banner.

When they do unfold that 2010 game plan, the cupboard could look as full as it has in years, especially if the MLB draft doesn’t scoop up every junior in sight with their miniscule mid to late round bonuses. Casas leads the talented sophomores which includes hitters Devin Lohman, John Hill and Jonathan Jones, catcher Kellen Hoime and pitcher Jake Thompson. The fire tested freshmen are led by Derek Legg and Andrew Gagnon and there is a U of Miami transfer Joey Terdoslavich who will be a sophomore in eligibility. Until last weekend we would have ended our list right there but when defensive specialist Kirk Singer was penciled into the line-up, because of the rash of injuries, had an eight RBI weekend and pumped his batting average up a hundred points plus.

The great unknown of course is what the juniors do. The Friday night pitching ace is junior lefty Adam Wilk who has flourished this season after his first two years in the pen (the bull pen not the place where USC athletes reside). Wilk, 7-3, 2.77 ERA along with Charlie Ruiz is now very draftable. Ruiz has 11 saves but has seemed more mortal of late. Hitters on the “go or stay” junior bubble are Steve Tinoco (.348), Taylor Krick (.321) and TJ Mittelstaedt (.318.). Mix in some new recruits and the glitter may return to the black and gold.

DUSTING UP--After softball valiantly battled in the Westwood Regional, everybody else, except for a scattering of track and field folks, have turned in their uniforms .With no pro draft, Kim Sowder’s softballers have a ton of talent returning on the mound, Brooke Turner and Taylor Petty, but have Big West hitter of the year Jennifer Griffin moving on as well as sluggers Danielle Linke and Jonae Perez.

If you think that the Titan-Dirtbag game needs a national stage, well ESPN-U agrees. It’s on the telly Friday night at 7 p.m., but unless you have kettle corn and funnel cakes in your living room you might need to fight the freeway and go on down. CSUF will also be auctioning items for the Jon Wilhite Fund. Jon was a former Titan pitcher who was seriously injured in the accident that killed Angel pitcher Nick Adenhart. Autographed items by former Titans and 49ers Major League baseball players include collectables from Kurt Suzuki, Bobby Crosby, Jason Giambi, and Mark Kotsay. Last add, the CSULB alumni will party like it was 1989 in the parking lot pre-game on Saturday, reserve at 562-985-1606.

Our closing quote is from LBSU links legend Paul Goydos, who took a one-shot lead to Sunday’s 16th hole in the Texas Open then missed career win No. 3 with back-to-back bogeys. He did win $353,800 but fell apart on the 70th hole. "Unfortunately we play 72," I do like the consolation prizes in the PGA.--DR. DAN


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