Tuesday, May 25, 2010


It is hard to put a handle on what’s happening with Long Beach State baseball. Is it redemption week? After all tonight’s starter Branden Pinder will be on the mound trying to rid his taste buds of Saturday’s nasty Northridge outing (knocked out in the second inning). Is it the battle of the Beaches? I mean there is a Malibu sea view at Pepperdine and with the series tied at one game a piece and both squads have identical 29 loss seasons to date. Or is it welcome back Houston Bob night in honor of the all star Dirtbag booster who has been taking his BP, as in British Petroleum, hacks down on that oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? You figure it out.

The last time Houston Bob worked on an underwater cement job he planted a mouthy Fullerton fan in a drainage ditch. Not sure that they have a fix for that deepwater drill rig but I do know that Weathers-Buckley, or is it Buckley-Weathers, need somebody to eat some innings after a number of his Tuesday children were used up on the weekend. Ironically Pinder is also set to work on Senior Sunday but the judge and jury on the return of Jake Thompson is still out, hence the front end of the weekend rotation is on hold. Normally a model baseball citizen, Jake did open his last start with a “purpose pitch” against Fullerton and broke a “team rule” but bad guys on the Mean Streets and Wall Street have done less penalty time than Thompson. For the Waves it will be lefty Aaron Gates who will get the start and both teams will be breaking out some lightly used reserves to get a snap shot of what will send them back to NCAA heaven in twenty eleven.

REST OF THE DUST—The Bags finish their season hosting UC Irvine…and right now Ditka is excited that the Beach has a 20-18 lead over the marsupials in the Black and Blue rivalry series for the 2009-2010 season…four points are on the line this weekend so the sur4fboard ain’t exactly safe…Sunday marks the final game for five seniors, including three who have spent four years with the program, Jason Markovitz has worked out of the bullpen for four years, compiling a 3.11 ERA and a 5-3 record over 68 appearances, while Tinoco has hit .329 over his career and Mittelstaedt has played in 189 games as a Dirtbag, seventh-most in program history…Pepperdine enters their final week of play with nearly an identical record as Long Beach State, sitting at 21-29. Zach Vinzej leads the team with a .313 batting average, and the team overall is only hitting .278, but is balanced somewhat by a 4.87 season ERA. Last weekend, the Waves took one out of three games from San Diego, winning on Friday behind their latest all star Matt Bywater…looking ahead next year’s turn around will depend on those returnees but also some talented recruits, Austin Boyle (El Modena High School), Jeff Yamaguchi of Lakewood, Matt Balliet of Mission Viejo, Jonathan Maciel out of Esperanza and Tony Amezcua from Bellflower…of course the MLB draft may interfere as it did last year when super prospect Jon Singleton from Millikan took the cash call…Other than sending a handful of his freshmen and sophomores to play in summer leagues (expect Drew Gagnon to go to the prestigious Cape Cod wood bat league) new Head Coach Troy Buckley is ready to pack this year away. Nothing can stop the end-of-season slide that has the Dirtbags with a losing record and quite possibly their first last place finish since Coach John Gonsalves pre-Dirtbag teams of 1986, 1987 and 1988. The other cellar dweller possibility is UCSB who travels to Pacific this weekend. Neither team will finish first but one or both could finish, well, you know where…The puzzling part of the Beach baseball story is that all of this is happening when the Dirtbag alums are so successful in major league baseball. On Sunday the combination of Jason Giambi and Troy Tulowitzki combined for five RBIs in Colorado’s 11-7 win at Kansas City. A pretty nice Niner connection and certainly pleasing to Rockies scout and LBSU Hall of Fame Coach Dave Snow—DR. DAN


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