Thursday, April 01, 2010


Pacific skipper Ed Sprague--Stockton bred, Stanford raised and MLB famous--pondered the beginning week of the Big West season and offered this observation. “We still have to go out and do it because nobody is going to fear us and nobody is going to be surprised by us." I say ditto for the roller-coaster riding Dirtbags, come Monday nobody will fear and nobody will be surprised.

We say all this because one of the great spring pairings is youth and baseball. Last weekend the short memories of the LBSU youth were served and on Sunday the Niners (11-11, 0-0) moved from a lowly RIP epitaph to an almost glossy RPI. Given up for dead after melting down in losses to Hawaii and Oregon State on Wednesday and Friday, the Beach won twice on Saturday afternoon and emerged with a lofty RPI of #31 based on key victories and a terrific strength of schedule. It was LBSU’s fourth series win in five tries this season, vics over Arizona, UNLV, Wichita State and OSU. Ironically Pacific (16-7, 0-0) are winners of all five of their weekend series. The Tigers are an interesting mix of good hitting (.346) and opportunistic defense. With a combined ten double plays in their San Jose finale, the Tiger D was spectacular combining with SJSU to tie a 21 year old NCAA record. Pacific hitters are organized by legendary and original Dirtbag Don Barbara who took the team from offensively toothless free swingers on top of the Big West. The Tigers combined to hit .a best ever .322 in 2009 and are already at .346 this season but a fat team ERA of 5.01 puts some interesting salsa on the chips. The pitching plan is UOP’s Marcus Pointer (5-0, 3.92) vs. Andrew Gagnon (3-3, 3.13); lefty David Rouse (5-0, 4.07) vs. Jake Thompson (3-0, 3.69) and either Hummel or Carnevale for the Tigers versus improving Branden Pinder (2-3, 4.15).

HIDDEN EGG DUST--The rotation of Gagnon, Thompson and Pinder have eight of the team’s 11 wins but the offense (.286), fielding (.967) and base running (23 of 45 stolen) has been erratic…Where are theys, you can’t call him Mr. Misty May but now you can call him Matt Treanor, Texas Ranger. Making more moves than Misty on Dancing with the Stars, Matt has gone from Florida to Detroit to Milwaukee and now to catching-poor Texas…we are not sure if he will go pro or go Dirtbag but Jake Stassi out of Yuba City is a fantastic left-hander who went Jake went 9-1 on the mound with 93 strikeouts in 2009…but his older brother Max went pro ball instead of college…turnstile tales…La Tech Minnesota drew 30.056 fans to the new Target Field in Minneapolis…national crowd counts have LBSU as the 41st best home draw with an average of 1,208 for their first dozen dates…at Oregon State, LB picked up 28 hits and 15 runs in their two wins…LB marketers have scheduled special upcoming games for various good causes: Autism Awareness Weekend April 23-25, 500 free Troy Tulowitzki tee-shirts on April 24, Breast Cancer Awareness weekend May 7-9 and Leukemia Awareness day on May 15…perspective on Andrew Gagnon’s Friday night loss…it was a nine-run fifth that gave Oregon State the cushion in that 16-4 beat down…that came after an hour plus rain delay when OSU led just 3-1… the Tigers are riding a four-game win streak and Coach Sprague is three wins shy of 150 and, he hopes, has solved team discipline issues that hurt them in recent years…the Bags have beaten UOP 14 straight dating to 2005 and 32 of 33 games going back to 2000…it may be game time before the Beach knows if shortstop Devin Lohman has recovered sufficiently from his groin pull…Mark Singer is a good sub and the Weatherman is shuffling Juan Avila, Jonathan Jones, Tre Dennis, and T.J. Mittelstaedt in a lineup anchored by Steve Tinoco (.381 with 16 RBIs) and Joey Terdoslavich (.310 and 21 RBIs)…still puzzled by a rash of illegal pitch calls, softball also opens their conference schedule this weekend playing the Lady Tigers of Pacific on campus in a Friday double header with a single 2 p.m. game on Saturday…the rest of the baseball BWC this weekend features Cal Poly at Riverside; Davis at Fullerton; Irvine at Northridge; and UCSB at Sac State—DR. DAN


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