Dedicated to fans of Long Beach State Dirtbags baseball (well, okay, officially the 49ers).

Dirtbag's 2006 Rankings

15th in ESPN/Sports Weekly
15th in NCBWA
16th in Collegiate Baseball
16th in Baseball America
1st in Non-Conference "Intended" SOS -
21st in Overall "Intended" SOS -

Posted Articles [View Selected Article Only]

Prognostications Following Sweep By Miami

Dirtbags Backs Against The Wall - Lose 5th In A Row

Jered Weaver Named USA Today Sports Weekly All-American

Palm Beach Post: [A]re The Hurricanes Good Enough To Beat The Country's Top Pitcher?

Miami Herald On Today's Game

More Regional Prognosticating

Dirtbags Off To Miami

Miami's Website Article On Series With Dirtbags

Long Beach State and Seven Other West Coast Schools Place Bids For Regional Hosting

Big West All-Conference Team

On Deck - 3 Game Series With Miami at Coral Gables

More On Post Season Seeding From Will Kimmey Of Baseball America

Boyd Nation's Seeding Projections

Clean Sweep For Jered Weaver In All NCAA Pitching Stats

Thursday Game Against Miami On CSTV

The (A Stanford Sports Site) On Regional Projections

College Baseball's Take On Big West Teams Making The Regional Field

NCBWA Drops Dirtbags To 26th

Regional Host Hinges On Miami Series

Dirtbags Drop to 11th in ESPN/Sports Weekly Poll

Padres Ponder Whether To Select Jered Weaver Or Jeff Niemann With First Pick In Draft

Dirtbags Fall To 14th in Baseball America Poll, 17th in Collegiate Baseball Poll

My Thoughts On A Tough Weekend

Dirtbags Swept At Blair By Fullerton

Jered Weaver A Finalist For Roger Clements Award

Brad Davis Named Semi-Finalist for Johnny Bench Award

LA Times On Dirtbags Series With Fullerton

More From The Press-Telegram On The Big West Title Series

Titan Senior P.J. Pilittere on Jered Weaver: "...Every Guy In Our Lineup Thinks They Can Beat Him"

Where the Dirtbags Stand

More On The Showdown At Blair Field With Fullerton

Baseball America: Weaver Top Pick, Vargas No. 33

Baseball America Tracker Draft - Weaver and Vargas Listed

Three Major Polls Explained

Baseball America Features Jered Weaver

Biggest Series Of The Year At Blair Field Set For This Weekend

Showdown at Blair: Titans Coming to Town

College Baseball On Big West Teams In The Regionals

For What It's Worth - My Opinion On the Dirtbags Seeding

Paul McAnulty Progressing in Padres Organization

Dirtbags 8th in Baseball America and ESPN Polls, 11th in Collegiate Baseball

Dirtbags Bats Move Up NCAA Ladder

Bob Keisser Musings on Dirtbags-Titan Series and the Post Season

Sunday Starter For Riverside An Open Question

Power Pitching Dirtbags Open Series With UC Riverside

Fightin' Words - Boyd Nation's Prognostications On Post Season Chances

Riverside Press-Telegram Compares Jered Weaver to Sandy Koufax

Daily 49er: Dirtbags Back on Track Long Beach State Dirtbags a Lock For NCAA Tourny

Dr. Dan - Man of Letters

Dr. Bob Maxson - LBSU Athletics No. 1 Fan

Dirtbags Move to No. 6 in ESPN/Sports Weekly Poll

Jered Weaver is National Player and Big West Pitcher of the Week

Dirtbags Move Up in Polls

One I Missed Last Week

Coach Mike Weathers Elated

Dirtbags Complete Sweep of UOP Tigers

Dirtbags Shut Down Pacific Tigers

Baseball America Revised Regionals Projections

A Look at the Pacific Tigers

Dirtbags to Host University of the Pacific Tigers


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Welcome to Dirtbags Baseball blog! I was introduced to Long Beach State baseball in 2002 when my nephew, Neil Jamison, joined the team (and university) as a freshman. I started the blog in March of 2004, and generally discuss the team, current players and those that have moved on to professional baseball - as Neil has done in the San Diego Padres organization. Living in San Diego County, and with Neil moving to the next level, I won't be attending as many Dirtbags games. But, mostly from a distance, I'll remain a Dirtbags fan. I welcome tips on stories and information concerning the Dirtbags (current, past and future). I can be contacted at


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This website is not affiliated with Long Beach State University or its NCAA Division I baseball program. All original material copyright 2004-2006 by Jeffrey A. Agnew.

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Sunday, May 30, 2004

Prognostications Following Sweep By Miami

First, here are links to stories on the series loss:

Long Beach Press-Telegram
Long Beach
Miami Hurricanes Team site

In a previous post I excerpted an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune, quoting David Worlock, College World Series media coordinator for the NCAA on which western schools had bid for regional sites. According to the article, this included Arizona State. I e-mailed Mr. Worlock whether this was correct, given that every other source I have seen refutes this. He replied that he was quoted incorrectly, and that Arizona State has NOT bid for regional, but HAS bid for a super regional.

In a few hours, we will learn the 16 regional sites. If, as seems likely, UC Irvine makes the field, a regional at Long Beach remains a strong possibility. Here's why:

Stanford and Fullerton will host, both as #1 seeds.

Arizona State will be a #1 seed, but will not host.

The Dirtbags, Fullerton and Irvine cannot, under the rules, be placed in the same regional since they are in the same conference (2002 was an exception under travel restrictions post- 9/11).

Besides Stanford and Fullerton, the western schools bidding for a regional are: Long Beach, San Diego State, BYU, Oregon State, and UC Riverside. San Diego State is out of the tournament. They lost the Mountain West Conference tournament to UNLV, and have an RPI over 100. Oregon State is unlikely to make the tournament with a 62 RPI. Brigham Young is out (also in the Mountain West, and has a 218 RPI). Finally, UC Riverside will not make it to the tournament. Its RPI is 69. As a result, if there is to be a third western regional site, it is likely to be at Long Beach.

The alternative, having only two western regionals, leaves Arizona State and Long Beach (or Irvine) travelling at least half way across the country. While I certainly have no doubt that the committee would send one on a plane trip, with the need to site two teams from the west a third regional becomes a real possibility. We'll see today.

Finally, neither the Dirtbags (nor we fans) have anything to hang our heads about on the Miami series. Our guys have no quit in them. They kept battling to the end in every game. Despite, in all probability, having to take the more difficult road route (above possibility excepted), I will not be surprised to see the 'Bags in Omaha. The guys haven't given up, and neither have I.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Dirtbags Backs Against The Wall - Lose 5th In A Row

Stories on the loss yesterday to Miami, 8-5, can be found here:

Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Long Beach State site.
University of Miami site.
Tallahassee Democrat.

The door is still open for the Dirtbags to host a regional at Blair Field as a number 1 seed, but it's now the 11th hour. The only hope is that they win today and tomorrow. To state the obvious, to do so they must pitch well and score some runs. There have been a number of upsets in conference tournaments the last two days which have made it more likely that they would host if they take 2 of 3 from the Hurricanes. Like Houston Bob says, it's time to "Git 'er done."

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Jered Weaver Named USA Today Sports Weekly All-American

In naming Jered Weaver to the USA Today Sports Weekly All-American team, the publication writes:

"Weaver is the brightest star of the 2004 season and the clear favorite to sweep the postseason Player of the Year honors after going 14-0 with a 1.25 ERA and 182 strikeouts through Sunday. Weaver's unhittable stuff and pinpoint control (just 14 walks) have earned the 6-7 right-hander acclaim from the national media and comparisons to Mark Prior's once-thought-incomparable 2001 season at Southern California. Weaver has 12 games with 10 or more strikeouts and twice struck out the first 10 batters he faced. Not surprisingly, Weaver has broken a slew of Long Beach State single-season and career records."

Read the story here.

Palm Beach Post: [A]re The Hurricanes Good Enough To Beat The Country's Top Pitcher?

From the Palm Beach Post this morning (here's the link):

CORAL GABLES -- The University of Miami is ranked as high as third and has the nation's highest Ratings Percentage Index (RPI).

But are the Hurricanes good enough to beat the country's top pitcher?

UM (41-11) will find out tonight when it faces Long Beach State right-hander Jered Weaver at Mark Light Field in the opener of a three-game series that ends the regular season.

Weaver, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound junior, enters tonight's game with a 14-0 record and a 1.25 ERA. In 122 innings, Weaver has struck out 182 batters and walked just 14. He leads the nation in wins, ERA and strikeouts per nine innings.

"You just don't see those kinds of numbers normally," said UM shortstop Ryan Braun. "They're amazing."

Weaver, the brother of Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Jeff Weaver and a cousin of former Dolphins tight end Jed Weaver, could be the first player selected in the Major League Baseball draft next month. He beat the Hurricanes in Long Beach last season by allowing two hits and no runs in seven innings.

Weaver will be pitching with a purpose tonight. The 49ers, ranked 11th with a 36-16 record, are fighting to secure a top-eight seeding for the NCAA Tournament. The 16 NCAA Regional sites will be announced Sunday and the 64-team tournament field set Monday.

"This series helps prepare you," said UM coach Jim Morris. "We're going to see really good pitching and an outstanding coached team. That's what you want to see going into the tournament."

The Hurricanes are assured of hosting an NCAA Regional next week but can strengthen their case for a possible No. 1 national seed with an impressive showing against Long Beach State.

"This series is going to have an impact on seeding, there's no question about that," Morris said.

Morris hopes to have Braun in the lineup for an entire series for the first time in two months. Braun, the Hurricanes' regular shortstop, missed 16 games with a rib-cage strain before returning last week. He's started two of UM's past four games at designated hitter but may get a shot to play defensively against the 49ers, Morris said.

Starting center fielder and leadoff hitter Paco Figueroa remains out after undergoing surgery on his hand and right fielder Richard Giannotti is struggling with a shoulder problem. The Hurricanes also are trying to cope with the loss of setup reliever Shawn Valdes-Fauli and closer George Huguet, who were kicked off the team.

Still, the Hurricanes continue to win as the post-season approaches.

"We're not exactly where we want to be because we have a few guys down," said senior pitcher J.D. Cockroft, who will start tonight's game for UM. "We're limping, but guys have stepped up all year."

Miami Herald On Today's Game

From the Miami Herald this morning (here's the link):

The best pitcher in college baseball will unveil his right-armed wizardry tonight at Mark Light Field. He's 6-7, 205 pounds and has a 94-mph fastball, 14-0 record and 1.25 ERA.

He has struck out 182 batters and walked 14 in 122 innings.

Marlins fans might remember his older brother, former Yankee Jeff Weaver, who gave up the winning homer to Alex Gonzalez in the 12th inning of Game 4 of last season's World Series.

He's Long Beach State's Jered "Dream" Weaver -- next month's projected No. 1 pick in the Major League Baseball amateur draft - and his presence is expected to pack the University of Miami stands to begin the No. 4 Hurricanes' final regular-season series.

"Jered Weaver is putting up arguably the best numbers in the history of college baseball," said UM shortstop Ryan Braun, who knows Weaver from high school in California and played with him last summer on Team USA. 'He's very confident, very emotional and hates to lose. Last year he struck out [UM center fielder] Brian Barton and yelled, 'Sit down' afterward. Most pitchers don't have that kind of intensity."

It's not often the Hurricanes (41-11) face a team this highly ranked with a pitcher this good.

The 49ers, also known as the Dirtbags (36-16, 14-7 Big West), dropped from No. 8 to No. 14 in the Baseball America poll and from eighth to 11th in the Sports Weekly/ESPN coaches poll after being swept by Cal State Fullerton in a three-game series last weekend. They have four consecutive losses, their longest losing streak in three years, and need to do well this weekend to secure an at-large berth in the NCAA regionals. [Giving the writer the benefit of the doubt, he meant to say they need to do well to secure a #1 seed in a regional]

The Hurricanes, ranked third in three polls and fourth by Baseball America, have won four straight and could use a good showing to ensure a seeding in the top eight when the NCAA postseason field is announced Monday.

"It'll be a very tough series for us," UM coach Jim Morris said. 'We want to maintain our status in the polls and our [No. 1] RPI. Long Beach did drop in the polls, and I'm sure that puts a little bit more fire in them."


The sparks will begin with Weaver, the junior from Simi Valley, Calif., who twice this season struck out the first 10 batters he faced. He has been named National Pitcher of the Week six times by Collegiate Baseball and last summer had 45 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings and a record 0.38 ERA for Team USA.

"This is definitely an important game," said Weaver, 21, who lost to UM at Mark Light during his freshman year and gave up two hits to Danny Figueroa in seven innings during the Dirtbags' 7-3 victory at Long Beach last season. "We didn't expect that Fullerton would sweep us. That was really hard on us."

Weaver has an unorthodox, three-quarters release, described by Morris as a "slinging" motion.

Weaver said his pitching repertoire consists of a "fastball, slider, changeup and curve.

"The fastball is pretty much what I pitch with, and if I'm in a strikeout situation or trying to get somebody off-balance I go to my slider. I usually use my changeups more to lefties than righties. And my curveball I just kind of drop in for a first strike about two or three times a game."

Said Barton, who leads UM hitters with a .381 batting average: "He hides his pitches well. He has a little twist and he short-arms it, so you really have to zone in or the ball will sneak up on you."

Barton struck out, walked and flied out against Weaver last season. He said the strikeout was preceded by a full count and then at least five foul balls.

"He was kind of mad at me because I called timeout a lot and it was kind of messing up his rhythm." Barton said. "Hey, if I'm not comfortable, I'm not comfortable.

"I've been waiting to meet him again."


Each inning, after his warmup throws, Weaver goes through a long leg-stretching and arm-shaking routine that ends with his carving the initials of deceased grandparents Edwin and Helen Hamlin -- "EHH" -- into the dirt near the rubber.

"I was really close to my grandparents . . . and it's just a remembrance," he said. "They never got to see me pitch in college, and it's kind of nice knowing they're still looking down on me, rooting me on."

Big brother Jeff, now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, told last week that Jered "is doing something we've all hoped for. He's handled it better than we've expected and the sky's the limit."

The only thing that could complete his already extraordinary career would be a berth in the College World Series -- and, naturally, being chosen No. 1 by the San Diego Padres.

"I came here to play for the Dirtbags and the season is not over yet," Weaver said. "I try to fade everything else out. The season has been exciting, but there's no telling what can happen down the road."

More Regional Prognosticating

This from Baseball America (read the rest here):

"No. 4 Miami, an independent, faces No. 14 Long Beach State. The first game of the series comes Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, and CSTV switched off televising the Friday game for this one because junior righthander Jered Weaver will be starting for the Dirtbags. Weaver and Co. might have lost a shot at serving as a regional host by getting swept at home by Cal State Fullerton last weekend to end Big West Conference play. Taking two or three on the road against the Hurricanes could force them back into that discussion. Miami views the series as a chance to work its way up the ladder of national seeds."

Dirtbags Off To Miami

From the Long Beach Press-Telegram this morning (here's the link):

"Mike Weathers spent most of Monday anchored horizontally to the couch in his living room.

"That's what three losses will do for you,' the Long Beach State baseball coach said Tuesday evening, only half facetiously.

It wasn't seeing his team swept by Big West Conference rival Cal State Fullerton at Blair Field that had him down for nearly the count Monday even though that Lost Weekend cost the Dirtbags a shot at a conference title and, very possibility, strong hopes of playing host to any NCAA regional games.

The cold/flu bug that had pretty much run its course through his players and staff finally caught up with him late Sunday night. But he was feeling chipper the day before his team was to depart for Florida and a three-game series with the No. 3-ranked Miami Hurricanes starting today.

He's counting on his team being as resilient as he was this week.

"We had a good practice (Tuesday) and everyone is healthy now and that's a good sign,' he said.

"The guys understand that we could have easily won the first two games (referring to consecutive 2-1 decisions).

"(Jered) Weaver was just one out away (from a 1-0 victory Friday night) and (Cesar) Ramos had a no-hitter for six innings.

"Sunday's loss (in which Fullerton led, 7-0 and 13-4, before Long Beach rallied to make the final score 13-11) would have been tougher to take if we wouldn't have made such a heck of a rally. I think we took some positives from that (comeback) which we can build on for Miami.'

The Dirtbags, 36-16 and having slipped to No. 14 (Baseball America) in the national ratings after their four-game slide, including a May 16 loss at UC Riverside, open the series against the No. 3- ranked and 41-11 Hurricanes at 4p.m. PDT. The 14-0 Weaver will be on the mound for them in a game that will be nationally televised by College Sports Television (CSTV).

The slim remaining hopes of playing host to first-round NCAA regional action next week and if they survive that a "Super Regional' will dissipate into oblivion minus a sparkling performance against the Hurricanes, Weathers believes.

"We're going to need a strong showing to have a shot at (hosting) the first week (regional),' he said. "And you usually have to be a top-eight seed to get a Super Regional, so we may need to sweep (to be in the running).'

The Hurricanes' best players were all freshmen and sophomores a year ago, when Miami advanced to the College World Series and split four games in Omaha to finish 45-17-1.

So Weathers and his team will be looking at most of the same guys who won two of three games against the Dirtbags in Blair Field 12 months ago.

"This is going to be a tough road trip for us,' he said. "Miami is definitely a threat to win the national championship.'

Sites for the 16 opening-round regionals will be announced by the NCAA on Sunday on ESPN at noon, with the entire 64-team field and bracketing to be revealed Monday on ESPN2 at 9 a.m."

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Miami's Website Article On Series With Dirtbags

Here's what the Miami Hurricanes website has to say about the upcoming series with the Dirtbags (read it here):

CORAL GABLES, Fla. ( -- The third-ranked Miami Hurricanes conclude the 2004 regular season and wrap up their 22-game home stand with 11th-ranked Long Beach State beginning Thursday, May 27, through Saturday, May 29.

Thursday's game is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast nationally on College Sports Television (CSTV). UM's flagship radio station, WQAM (560 AM), and Spanish partner, WNMA (1210 AM), will also carry the game.

Friday's game time is set for 7 p.m. and the Saturday game will begin at 1 p.m. All three games will be broadcast on UM's student radio voice, WVUM (90.5 FM). You can also listen to all Hurricanes games over the internet at

The Hurricanes are 41-11 and have won four straight games after a three-game sweep of Ball State and a win over Florida Atlantic last week.

Long Beach State enters the series on a four-game losing steak after being swept at home by Cal State Fullerton last weekend.

The 49ers boast one of the nation's top pitchers and possibly the No. 1 overall pick in next month's MLB Amateur Draft in right-hander Jered Weaver. The junior is 14-0 on the season with a 1.25 ERA in 122 innings and will get the start on Thursday. He has struck out 182 batters while walking only 14. UM's lefty J.D. Cockroft will start opposite Weaver for the Hurricanes. Cockroft is 7-4 on the season with a 2.76 ERA and is 1-0 in his career against Long Beach State.

Friday will match a pair of Cesars as Miami's RHP Cesar Carrillo (9-0, 2.62 ERA) faces off with Long Beach State's LHP Cesar Ramos (10-4, 2.09 ERA). Saturday's regular-season finale has UM's left-hander Brandon Camardese (5-2, 3.48 ERA) pitching for the Hurricanes. The 49ers will counter by sending their best hitter - LHP Jason Vargas .353 batting average - to the mound. He is 7-6 on the season with a 3.94 ERA

Long Beach State and Seven Other West Coast Schools Place Bids For Regional Hosting

From the San Diego Union-Tribune this morning:

"David Worlock, College World Series media coordinator for the NCAA, confirmed that SDSU was one of eight schools on the West Coast to submit a Regional bid. Arizona State, BYU, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, Oregon State, Stanford and UC Riverside were the others..."

Read the entire article here (mostly about San Diego State's run for the Mountain West Conference title).

This is interesting. It has been widely speculated that Arizona State would not place a Regional bid because of construction on-going at its facility that would limit its ability to accomodate four teams at the same time. They were expected to bid for a Super Regional. Also, despite the fact that Washington is in the hunt for a #1 Regional seed, the Huskys have apparently not placed a bid to host. The deadline for submitting bids was May 21.

Big West All-Conference Team

Click here for the Big West All-Conference Team release from the Big West Conference site. (In pdf, Adobe Acrobat Reader required).

On Deck - 3 Game Series With Miami at Coral Gables

From the weekly release (read the rest here):

"Regular Season Ends in Miami: The No. 11-ranked Dirtbags (36-16, 14-7 Big West) will close out the regular season this week, when they travel to No. 3-ranked Miami (41-11) for a three-game series beginning on Thursday at 4 p.m. PST. College Sports Television will nationally televise All-American Jered Weaver's (14-0, 1.25 ERA) last regular season start against Miami ace LHP JD Cockroft (7-4, 2.76). On Friday, LHP Cesar Ramos (10-4, 2.09) will try to win his 11th game of the season, against RHP Cesar Carrillo (9-0, 2.62) at 4 p.m. In the regular season finale, LHP Jason Vargas (7-6, 3.94) will duel against RHP Brandon Camardese (5-2, 3.48). Regional bids will be announced on May 30 at noon on ESPN with the NCAA Bracket announced at 9 a.m. on ESPN2 on Memorial Day. All games can be heard live at

Scouting the Hurricanes: Miami enters the weekend with a 41-11 record, as they are coming off a sweep of Ball State... Brian Barton leads the club with a .381 average, along with a team-best 47 runs, while Jim Burt is batting .361 with a team-leading 11 homers and 58 RBIs... Jon Jay is batting .364 with 37 RBIs... On the mound, Cesar Carrillo is a perfect 9-0 with a 2.62 ERA, while JD Cockroft is 7-4 with a 2.76 ERA... Danny Gill is 7-0 with a 3.48 ERA, while Dan Touchet is 5-1 with a 3.86 ERA out of the bullpen... the Hurricanes have a combined Miami is hitting .327 (10th in the nation) as a team and have the 15th-best ERA (3.48) in the country... Jim Burt ranks 18th in the country with 22 doubles.

Series with the Hurricanes: Miami leads the all-time series 13-8... Miami has won five of six three-game series overall... LBSU took the 1993 series and went on to play in the College World Series... In 1998, during the College World Series, The Beach knocked off their third No. 1 team of the playoffs, when they eliminated the Hurricanes...."

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

More On Post Season Seeding From Will Kimmey Of Baseball America

Will Kimmey, in his College Baseball Chat today answers a question as follows:

"Q: Dave from Fullerton asks:
Big West questions here.... What do you think the chances are for Fullerton hosting a regional and being a number one seed at their regional? What do you think the chances are that Long Beach will host a regional? What do you think the chances are that Irvine will get into the field with an RPI of 27 despite their 10-11 conference record? What do you think the chances are that an 11-10 3rd place Riverside team will get into the field with an RPI of 66?

A: Will Kimmey:
I think Fullerton's sweep of LBSU last week, combined with its 19-2 conference record and 21-4 mark in its last 25 games puts it ahead of LBSU as a host No. 1 seed out west. LBSU to me is really on the fence now as a host; it might need two wins at Miami this weekend to secure that. Irvine has a good RPI but likely needs at least one win at Washington this weekend--and maybe two--to feel more secure. Riverside made a good late run but probably needed two wins against Irvine to get it. For me, that series last weekend was going to produce one regional bid. It goes to the 'Eaters.""

Read the transcript of the chat here. Hit your refresh button to get the complete transcript.

Boyd Nation's Seeding Projections

Boyd Nation of's projections on national #1 seed, and non-national seed #1 seeds (read the entire article here):

"Here's my best guess for the national seeds...:

#1 Miami, Florida (ISR #11, RPI #1)
#2 Texas (#2, #2)
#3 Louisiana State (#8, #4)
#4 Stanford (#1, #15
#5 South Carolina (#14, #5)
#6 Rice (#4, #8)
#7 Mississippi (#13, #6)
#8 East Carolina (#9, #10)

Similarly to Washington's from last year, Stanford's RPI is so obviously wrong that the committee will have to ignore it. That won't get them to ignore Miami's, which is probably just as wrong. I keep thinking one of these cases will be the one that gets them to toss the thing, but it won't happen this year. Nonetheless, the Cardinal get a high seed.

Many of the top 8 RPI teams are facing each other this weekend. Somebody's got to lose in Birmingham, and Florida's got a vaguely tougher bracket, but any of USC East, Ole Miss, or Florida could end up on this list; for that matter, if Arkansas or Georgia win the conference or look good in reaching the final game, they may end up here instead. Likewise, if Arizona State wins the series at Stanford this weekend, they're here, probably displacing ECU.

Virginia or Georgia Tech could play themselves onto this list.

All the national seeds will host. All of these teams will host unless Mississippi or East Carolina goes 2-and-q.

Now, the non-national #1 seeds:

Arizona State (#3, #3)
Florida (#18, #7)
Virginia (#22, #9)
Georgia (#20, #11)
Georgia Tech (#21, #13)
Arkansas (#16, #14)
Cal State Fullerton (#7, #20)
Notre Dame (#29, #21)

If Long Beach State beats Miami this weekend, they move in here. Otherwise, they get sent back to Stanford, and life is unfair once again."

Clean Sweep For Jered Weaver In All NCAA Pitching Stats

Jered Weaver is now first in all three starting pitcher statistics among all NCAA Division I players. He ranks first in ERA at 1.25, first in wins at 14, and first in strikeouts per nine innings at 13.4. Might as well send the National Pitcher of the Year trophy out for engraving now.

Cesar Ramos and Neil Jamison also rank among the top pitchers, with Cesar at 17th in victories (10) and 23rd in ERA (2.09), and Neil sixth in saves (12).

Dirtbags fielders have moved up to fifth place in fielding percentage at .976. And the team ERA remains number 3 in the nation at 2.83. The Beach's win loss percentage is 28th, at .692.

Thursday Game Against Miami On CSTV

This from the CSTV site:

"Likely top overall pick Jered Weaver leads...Long Beach State into Miami to take on the...Hurricanes. The unbeaten Weaver looks to extend his amazing season as the College World Series looms just over the horizon. Don't miss a pitch, Thursday at [4:00 p.m. Pacific time] on CSTV."

The (A Stanford Sports Site) On Regional Projections

Here are Joe Ritzo of The's picks for regional #1s as of today"

""Super Sixteen"

Record Pvs.
1. Texas 48-11 3
* Longhorns in the top spot after impressive 2-of-3 series win over Texas A&M.

2. Stanford 42-11 1
* Cardinal fall back after 3-2 week that includes losses to Arizona and USC.

3. Miami 41-11 2
* Hurricanes sweep Ball State at home over the weekend.

4. LSU 41-15 4
* Tigers may not have won the SEC (finished one game back in a crowded top six), but this team looks to have the best shot at a title of any team in the conference ... huge 2-of-3 series win at Mississippi last weekend.

5. East Carolina 47-9 5
* Pirates secure Conference USA title with impressive 2-of-3 series win at Southern Mississippi.

6. Arizona State 39-14 10
* Sun Devils move up after 4-1 week that includes series win at Arizona.

7. Rice 40-11 6
* Owls notch a big midweek win at Baylor, but then drop 2-of-3 at Fresno State over the weekend.

8. South Carolina 41-15 7
* Gamecocks fall back after losing 2-of-3 at SEC East champion Georgia (Bulldogs finished two games ahead of S. Carolina).

9. Arkansas 37-19 14
* Hogs win the SEC West (one game ahead of LSU and Mississippi) after winning 2-of-3 at home versus Auburn.

10. Virginia 42-11 13
* Cavs win a pair of midweek games over Radford and then take the weekend off.

11. CS Fullerton 36-20 NR
* Titans back in the top 16 after sweeping Long Beach State on the road to win the Big West.

12. Long Beach State 36-16 8
* 49ers swept at home by Fullerton ... huge series at Miami on tap for this weekend.

13. Tulane 38-17 9
* Green Wave lose 2-of-3 at Houston in a hard-fought series.

14. Washington 34-18-1 11
* Huskies fall back after dropping 2-of-3 at home to UCLA.

15. Georgia Tech 38-17 15
* Jackets claim ACC title after easily sweeping Maryland (finished 1/2 game ahead of Virginia although the Cavs swept GT back in March).

16. Mississippi 39-17 12
* Rebels lose 2-of-3 at home to LSU (blown out in the two losses).

Dropped Out: Notre Dame (46-10, 4-1 last week)"

Joe Ritzo goes on with this analysis:

"As for projecting who could be sent Stanford's way for the regionals, I see a few possible scenarios....

The third and final team seems to always be from the Big West. In 2003, UC Riverside was sent to Sunken. In 2002, both Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton were sent here. Fullerton should host a regional, so they are out of the picture. One very dangerous possibility is Long Beach State as the #2 seed at Sunken Diamond. The Beach were a top 10 team and a legitimate national seed contender before getting swept by Fullerton last week. Now even just hosting a sub-regional is very much in question for them. It wouldn't be shocking if LBSU is again sent our way and I would imagine Jered Weaver would be held out of their Friday first round game for a potential matchup with Stanford in the all-important Saturday contest.

Stanford fans should hope that Long Beach takes care of business (i.e. wins 2-of-3) at Miami this weekend to get a nice RPI boost and further strengthen their chances of hosting a regional."

We hope so too Joe! Read the entire piece here.

College Baseball's Take On Big West Teams Making The Regional Field

Here's College Baseball's Sean Ryan and Phil Stanton's opinion today on Big West teams in the post season regionals:

"Big West (4) - Cal State Fullerton (19-2, 36-20) and Long Beach State (14-7, 36-16) are in, but the rest is up in the air. UC Riverside (11-10, 33-24) is still in third but has an RPI of 66. UC Irvine (10-11, 34-18-1) is tied for fourth and is looking good with an RPI of 27. Cal Poly (10-11, 38-23-1) and UC Santa Barbara (10-11, 33-21) are tied for fourth but have RPIs lower than 70. We think the Mustangs and the Gauchos get left out in a close call. But Irvine would be wise not to lay an egg against Washington this weekend."

Read their entire article, including opinions on the entire field, here.

NCBWA Drops Dirtbags To 26th

The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Assn. poll drops Long Beach State from 10th to 26th this week. As a Dirtbags fan, I know I am not objective. But there is a reason this poll does not have the respect that the three major polls (Baseball America, ESPN/Sports Weekly, and Collegiate Baseball newspaper) have. These guys are just plain flipped out loco. The writers rank Lamar ahead of the Beach. Long Beach State's current RPI is 22nd and ISR 5th. Their strength of schedule is 7th in the nation. Lamar's current RPI is 43rd, and their current ISR is 32nd. Their strength of schedule ranks 84th. The Dirtbags play in the Big West, the 5th ranked conference in RPI. Lamar plays in the Southland Conference, which has the 21st ranked RPI of the 31 Division I baseball conferences. Give me a break!

The Dirtbags deserved a hit in the polls after last weekend. They got it, dropping three spots in ESPN/Sports Weekly, and six spots in both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. But a poll that thinks on May 24, 2004, that Lamar is better than Long Beach State is so flaky that it must be dismissed as irrelevant.

Regional Host Hinges On Miami Series

Picture: Hey NCAA - The Welcome Mat is out!

The Dirtbags hopes for a national seed are likely gone after this weekend. But a regional #1 seed at Blair Field is still reasonably within their grasp.

In light of the Dirtbags position in the subjective polls, and their number 22 RPI, and without help from other teams on the borderline for the last two or three #1 Regional seeds, Long Beach State probably needs to win the Miami series to clinch a #1 seed. Fortunately, Miami's first place RPI adds great value to each Dirtbag victory over the Hurricanes.

Here's where we sit with the competition:

BA    ESPN  CB    RPI   Team

1 1 1 2 Texas
2 2 2 15 Stanford
3 5 11 4 LSU
4 3 3 1 Miami
5 4 6 8 Rice
6 6 4 10 East Carolina
7 9 8 21 Notre Dame
8 14 9 14 Arkansas
9 19 16 20 Cal. State Fullerton
10 17 5 13 Georgia Tech
11 18 10 11 Georgia
12 7 18 5 South Carolina
13 12 12 6 Mississippi
14 11 17 22 Long Beach State
15 22 14 36 Oral Roberts
16 8 15 3 Arizona State
17 NR 21 23 Oklahoma
18 13 7 9 Virginia
19 16 27 39 Tulane
20 24 13 28 Washington
21 21 25 7 Florida
22 NR 26 25 Texas Tech
23 10 29 16 Texas A&M
24 23 28 29 Southern Mississippi
25 NR 20 32 Central Florida

BA = Baseball America poll
ESPN = ESPN/Sports Weekly poll
CB = Collegiate Baseball poll
RPI - Psuedo RPI as calculated by

Monday, May 24, 2004

Dirtbags Drop to 11th in ESPN/Sports Weekly Poll

The Dirtbags fell to 11th from 8th in the ESPN/Sports Weekly poll. In dropping the Beach three spots, their Top 25 College Coaches' Poll as selected by 40 Division I coaches representing the American Baseball Coaches Association treated Long Beach State more kindly than either Baseball America or Collegiate Baseball newspaper (which both dropped the Dirtbags six spots).

Padres Ponder Whether To Select Jered Weaver Or Jeff Niemann With First Pick In Draft

Here is a column in the San Diego Union-Tribune by Tim Sullivan discussing the Padres first pick overall in the draft set for June 7. A few excerpts:

"Though Gayton says there is not yet unanimity within the Padres' front office on which pitcher is preferable, the consensus in the sport says [Jered] Weaver has more polish and Niemann more possibilities.

"Weaver's stats blow away anybody else in the country," said Padres General Manager Kevin Towers. "They're probably even better than (Mark) Prior's when he was at USC.

"Niemann's got the higher upside . . . He's almost like a Randy Johnson, right-handed. My only (Padres) comparison I could put on him was Andy Benes, and he would dwarf Andy Benes. He's some kind of big.""

Dirtbags Fall To 14th in Baseball America Poll, 17th in Collegiate Baseball Poll

After being swept at home by Cal. State Fullerton, the Dirtbags fell from 8th to 14th in the Baseball America rankings, and from 11th to 17th in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

My Thoughts On A Tough Weekend

I listened to the game on the Dirtbag's internet radio Friday night, and attended the games on Saturday and Sunday. Perhaps somewhat random, here are some of my observations and opinions:

The game on Friday featured Jered Weaver, by leaps and bounds the best pitcher in college baseball this year, against Jason Windsor. This may well have been the best matchup of pitchers in all of Division I baseball this season. For the entire year, Windsor is 8-4 with a 2.12 ERA. But in Big West play, he is 7-0, with a 1.14 ERA. The Beach came within one out of beating him 1-0. Though we always hate losing to the Titans (especially in our house), Friday's loss was not a crushing blow. Both starters pitched more than well enough to win.

Jered Weaver once again showed why there is no contest in deciding who is college baseball's pitcher of the year. He clearly was not on his best game. On the evening, he stranded nine Titans on base, including four at third. Fullerton finally got a run with two out in the ninth. In my opinion, the biggest improvement in Jered's game over last year is his performance when he doesn't have his best stuff.

Saturday was the most frustrating. By far, this was one of Cesar Ramos' best games in a Dirtbags uniform. Through six innings he no hit Fullerton, yet the game was tied 1-1. And that was only thanks to a solo home run by John Bowker. In the end, over 7.2 innings, he would give up two runs (one earned) and only two hits. But the Dirtbags bats were dead as door nails, despite the fact that the Titans' Ricky Romero was no Jason Windsor. I did not count, but I would guess that Romero bounced at least 10 pitches in front of home plate during the game. In addition to six hits by the Beach, Romero walked one and hit two Dirtbags with pitches. Long Beach stranded eight runners. Romero was very beatable, but to paraphrase Houston Bob, we did not "Git 'er done."

On Sunday, Beach pitching was off its game. Starter Jason Vargas lasted only three innings, giving up five runs on seven hits, three walks and a hit batter. Over the next 3.1 innings, Scott Juneau, Brandon Villalobos and Brian Anderson would collectively give up another eight runs. In the fourth, with the 49ers down 7-0, hope sprang to life when Sean Boatright drove a grand slam over the left field wall. But by the end of seven, Fullerton had scored another six unanswered runs, leaving the score at 13-4. As Coach Mike Weathers was quoted in the Long Beach Press-Telegram, "If we'd have walked out of here with a 13-4 loss, I'm really afraid of where this team might have gone." But then the improbable happened. The Beach jumped all over Fullerton's relievers, scoring four in the eighth, and three in the ninth. The comeback was fueled by John Bowker's three run blast in the eighth. The game ended on a popup by Mike Hofius, who represented the winning run with two on base. As an aside, on senior day, Mike Hofius was clearly a leader. He went 2 for 5, with an RBI. Watching him on the field, he played with amazing determination. And repeatedly he bucked up his team mates to keep battling. Mike finishes his career at Long Beach State as a true Dirtbag.

There is no question in my mind that had the Dirtbags knocked Fullerton's starter out of the game an inning earlier, they would have come away with the victory. There was no quit in the Dirtbags! Though it was painful to be swept, it ended on a positive note. Hopefully, that will carry over to what is now a critical series against the Miami Hurricanes at Coral Gables next Thursday through Saturday. The result there is likely to decide whether we will host a regional at Blair Field as a #1 seed, or travel to another regional as a #2.

Dirtbags Swept At Blair By Fullerton

OUCH! That post title hurt.

Below is what Gordon Verrell writes this morning in the Long Beach Press-Telegram. Before the game yesterday Gordon, who is retiring, was honored at Blair Field...complete with Mike Weathers supplying him with a rocking chair.

Here's the excerpts (the complete article is here):

"After stirring pitching duels dominated the first two games of their season-ending Big West series, Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton hauled out the heavy metal Sunday at Blair Field, between them battering four home runs and amassing 31 hits.

It didn't work any better for the Dirtbags than the first two games.

They lost again, this time, 13-11, before a crowd of 3,168. [This must be a typographical error. The attendance, I believe, was 2,168].

The Dirtbags never really recovered from a nightmarish first inning, but they came close.

Despite trailing by nine runs after seven innings, remarkably, the Dirtbags had the tying runs on base in the bottom of the ninth.

"We needed that to happen,' coach Mike Weathers said of the oh-so-close comeback, who'd been waiting for some thing to happen all weekend. "If we'd have walked out of here with a 13-4 loss, I'm really afraid of where this team might have gone.'

Where it's going next is Miami for a three-game nonconference series to wrap up the regular season, then sweat out the NCAA selection committee's decisions.

Will the Dirtbags host a regional for a second year in a row? Or was the 0 for 3 over the weekend against the arch-rival Titans the end of the line at Blair Field for 2004?

"We'll have to wait and see,' Weathers said.

A good showing at Miami is a must. The eighth-ranked Dirtbags (36-16 overall, 14-7) have lost four games in a row, their longest losing streak in three years, and another series loss would definitely jeopardize their chances to host...

As for the Dirtbags' late splurge, in which they scored four runs in the eighth inning and three more in the ninth before reliever Ryan Schreppel finally got Mike Hofius to pop to second for the final out with runners at first and third...

The Titans jumped on Jason Vargas (7-6) for four first-inning runs on five hits, two of them infield singles, one of of Vargas' foot, the other off Troy Tulowitzki's glove, a misjudged fly ball and a double by Bobby Andrews.

The Titans were breezing, 13-4, and starter Mike Martinez (7-2) had retired 11 Dirtbags in a row entering the eighth.

That's when the Dirtbags erupted for four runs, three on John Bowker's team-leading sixth home run. In the ninth they got three more, two on a double by Vargas.

But that's all.

DIRTBAGS NOTES: Attendance for the three games was 7,241, the second-best turnout for a regular- season Dirtbags series at Blair Field. No. 1 is the 8,035 that attended the 1996 series between the Dirtbags and Titans.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Jered Weaver A Finalist For Roger Clements Award

The 10 finalists for the inaugural Roger Clements Award, given to college baseball's best pitcher, were announced today. They are:

Jered Weaver of Long Beach State
Matt Fox, Central Florida
Phillip Humber, Rice
Wade Townsend, Rice
J.P Howell, Texas
Huston Street, Texas
Justin Hoyman, Florida
Nate Moore, Troy State
Mike Pelfrey, Wichita State
Justin Verlander, Old Dominion

Brad Davis Named Semi-Finalist for Johnny Bench Award

This from

The Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission announced the 15 semi-finalists for the Johnny Bench Award. The national voting panel will select the three finalists at the end of May, and they will be announced on June 3, 2004. Another vote will take place during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita, and the 2004 Johnny Bench Award recipient will be announced at the 7th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 30, 2004.

Brad Davis - Jr Long Beach State University
Jeff Clement - So University of Southern California
Tuffy Gosewisch - Jr Arizona State University
Aaron Hathaway - Jr University of Washington
Chris Iannetta -Jr University of North Carolina
Devin Ivany - Jr University of South Florida
Jason Jaramillo - Jr Oklahoma State University
Matt Liuzza - So Louisiana State University
Donny Lucy - Stanford University
Landon Powell - Sr University of South Carolina
Erick San Pedro -Jr University of Miami
Kurt Suzuki -Jr Cal State - Fullerton
Craig Tatum - So Mississippi State University
Taylor Teagarden - So University of Texas
Kiel Thibault - So Gonzaga University

Previously, Brad was on the watch list, which contained 52 catchers.

LA Times On Dirtbags Series With Fullerton

In the LA Times today (read the entire article here - registration required, which is free):

The teams aren't fond of each other, and neither are their fans. But that is what has helped make the Cal State Fullerton-Long Beach State baseball rivalry one of the best in the nation.

The archrivals meet again tonight at sold-out Blair Field in Long Beach with the Big West Conference title at stake. Fullerton, ranked 22nd by Baseball America magazine, needs one victory in the three-game weekend series to clinch. Eighth-ranked Long Beach needs a sweep.

Despite a number of starters returning from a team that reached the College World Series, the Titans (33-20, 16-2) stumbled to a 15-16 start. It was a 9-3 victory over Long Beach (36-13, 14-4) in a nonconference game April 4 that triggered a stretch in which they've won 18 of 22.

"When league started, there were a lot of people that didn't think this series coming up was going to mean the league championship," Fullerton Coach George Horton said.

Tonight's game may feature this season's best pitching matchup. Long Beach junior Jered Weaver, projected by some to be the No. 1 overall pick in the June amateur draft, will face one of the nation's hottest pitchers in Fullerton senior Jason Windsor.

Weaver has thrown consecutive two-hit complete games and given up two or fewer hits six times en route to a 14-0 record, a 1.27 earned-run average and 171 strikeouts.

Windsor (7-4, 2.24) has thrown five consecutive complete games and is coming off a five-hit shutout of UC Irvine. In six conference starts, he is 6-0, yielding only seven earned runs.

More From The Press-Telegram On The Big West Title Series

Gordon Verrell writes in the Long Beach Press-Telegram (entire article here):

In examining the always entertaining, sometimes bitter yet rock-solid rivalry that is Long Beach State vs. Cal State Fullerton baseball one that since 1989 stands at 39-39 it has long been the theory of George Horton, the Fullerton coach, that the team most in need generally prevails.

"Typically, that's way it's been,' he said on the eve of yet another showdown between the two.

The desperate team this time around is Long Beach State.

The Dirtbags trail Fullerton by two games in the Big West race. Three games remain.

Do the math.

The Dirtbags need to sweep the Titans in order to successfully defend their Big West championship, the one they won last year when Fullerton was in a similar position. The Titans won two of the three games in that final regular-season conference series, but the Dirtbags won the one game they needed, and won the pennant.

It was one time Horton's theory didn't pan out....

The Dirtbags come in with a 36-13 overall record, 14-4 in the Big West and are ranked No. 8 by Baseball America. Fullerton is 33-20, 16-2 and No. 22.

"At least we have the opportunity,' Dirtbags coach Mike Weathers said, hopefully.

The pitching matchup for tonight is such that a sellout crowd is expected at 3,000-seat Blair Field. Only 200 tickets remained Thursday morning.

Jered Weaver takes his 14-0 record, 1.17 earned run average and Big West-leading 171 strikeouts to the mound for his seventh career start against the Titans. He's yet to lose to them, going 3-0 (plus three no decisions) with a 2.38 ERA, including a complete-game, four-hit, nine-strikeout performance in the Big West title clincher last May 17. Weaver has hurled complete-game two-hitters his last two starts.

"He's in a different league,' Horton said of Weaver. "But, we welcome the challenge.'

The Titans' starter will be right-hander Jason Windsor (7-4, 2.24), who has won six consecutive decisions, including a five-hit shutout last week at UC Irvine, since losing to Weaver and the Dirtbags, 6-2, in a nonconference game April 2 at Fullerton.

Fullerton catcher Kurt Suzuki leads the Big West in hitting with a .429 average, in RBI with 68, is second in home runs with 11 and third in runs scored with 59.

"I always look forward to facing Long Beach State,' Horton said. "It's great for the fans, for the media. Everyone who's who in Southern California baseball will be there.'

Weathers agrees, saying, "It's much different than playing Pacific, or (Cal Poly) SLO. The games are no less important, of course, but you see those teams only three days all year. With Fullerton, we play each other so much, everybody knows everybody. It'll be fun.'....

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Titan Senior P.J. Pilittere on Jered Weaver: "...Every Guy In Our Lineup Thinks They Can Beat Him"

From the Daily Titan (the full article is here):

"Think big.

Aunt Bertha is big, but not this big.

Cal State Fullerton versus Long Beach State in a three-game series this weekend at Blair Field for the Big West Conference that's big.

The Titans head into the series with a two-game lead over the No. 8 ranked team in the country.

"This is for the full bag of marbles," said first base coach Chad Baum. "We all thought it would come down to this weekend."

And it has.

"There were a lot of people when league started that thought this series coming up wouldn't mean anything because of [the team's poor start]," said head coach George Horton. "We worked awful hard to get back in this position and if anybody isn't looking forward to [this series] then there's something wrong with them."

Here's the Titans' scenario: win one game and their first conference title since 2001 is theirs. Simple, right?

Well, Fullerton will have to beat Jered Weaver, Cesar Ramos or Jason Vargas to do so.

The 49ers' big three have combined for a 31-8 record and a 2.24 ERA.

The toughest task for Titan hitters will come Friday night against Weaver, who is considered the best pitcher in college baseball.

He is 14-0 with a 1.27 ERA, 171 strikeouts and 14 walks in 113.1 innings pitched while allowing 16 earned runs and 55 hits. Weaver has held opponents to a paltry .142 batting average.

To put Weaver's season in perspective, compare it with Mark Prior's 2001 season, considered by many to be the best in college baseball history.

He went 15-1 with a 1.69 ERA, 202 strikeouts and 18 walks surrendered. Prior allowed a .201 batting average to opposing hitters.

"We're not intimidated at all [by Weaver]," said Titan senior P.J. Pilittere. "He has a good arm and we're going to have to be on our best game to win, but every guy in our lineup thinks they can beat him."

The 49ers will need Weaver's best performance to keep pace with the Titans.

"Our backs are to the wall and we have to sweep to win the conference," said Long Beach State first baseman Mike Hofius. "That was a big goal for us coming into the season. I like our chances. They feel that they can sweep us and we feel that we can sweep them also."

Hofius is one of the 49ers to look out for offensively. He leads the team with 42 RBIs and shares the team-high with four home runs.

The series should be a classic match-up between the teams' strengths. Fullerton comes into the weekend scoring 7.72 runs per game compared to Long Beach's 5.59, a difference of 2.13.

On the other hand, Long Beach boasts a 2.68 team ERA while the Titans own a 4.04 ERA.

"We're confident," said Ricky Romero, Fullerton's probable starting pitcher for Saturday night. "I'm positive we're going to bring the title back to CSUF."

That positive attitude may not last long amidst the negative atmosphere the Titans will be faced with this weekend at Blair Field. The crowds have been known to be raucous when Fullerton comes to town.
Comment: Awwwwwwwww. Like things are placid when the Dirtbags play at Fullerton!

"Any time these two teams come together the atmosphere should be great, but with the Big West title on the line and the potential No. 1 draft pick [Weaver] on the mound Friday night, it should be electric," said Chris Demaria, a former Long Beach State standout who is now in the Pittsburgh Pirates' minor league system.

Fullerton leads the all-time series 92-50 despite losing two of three to the 49ers earlier this season at Goodwin Field.

Everything seems to be leaning in the Titans' direction, but the team shouldn't start the celebration early.

"The biggest mistake we can make is assuming that it's over," Horton said.

Remember, it's not over until the fat lady sings."

Where the Dirtbags Stand

The Dirtbags are in the hunt for both a national seed and a regional #1 seed. Here's where we sit with the competition:

BA    ESPN  CB    RPI   Team

1 1 1 10 Stanford
2 3 2 2 Texas
3 2 3 8 Rice
4 5 9 5 LSU
5 6 16 4 South Carolina
6 4 5 1 Miami (Florida)
7 7 4 16 East Carolina
8 8 11 19 Long Beach State
9 10 12 7 Mississippi
10 11 6 25 Notre Dame
11 12 24 40 Tulane
12 19 15 13 Arkansas
13 15 18 6 Florida
14 21 13 22 Washington
15 9 30 17 Texas A&M
16 20 14 36 Oral Roberts
17 16 26 34 So. Mississippi
18 NR 21 23 Oklahoma
19 13 17 3 Arizona State
20 16 7 9 Virginia

BA = Baseball America poll
ESPN = ESPN/Sports Weekly poll
CB = Collegiate Baseball poll
RPI - Psuedo RPI as calculated by

More On The Showdown At Blair Field With Fullerton

This piece is by Eric Sorenson for Excepts are below, read the entire article here.

"This brings us to the last weekend of the regular season for most conferences, as the title chase winds down and the pursuit of conference tournament spots is heating up. So with that as a backdrop, we'll take a look at the top five matchups of the week, but also, the top battles on tap for each conference.

Let's start with the usual. Here are the five best games to watch in college baseball this coming weekend.

Top Five

1- LSU (38-14, 16-11) at Mississippi (38-15, 17-10)...

1A- South Carolina (39-13, 16-11) at Georgia (35-17, 17-10)...

2- Cal State Fullerton (33-20, 16-2) at Long Beach State (36-13, 14-4. Isn't this the way it's supposed to be in the Big West? The Titans have been a bit of a surprise after a 16-16 start. Nothing wrong with the offense as CSUF hits at a .328 clip, led by All American candidate Kurt Suzuki's .439 AVG. Long Beach has come around on offense as well, hitting .337 in its last 17 games. The Titans need just one win to claim the Big West crown.

3- Texas (46-10, 17-6) at Texas A&M (38-15, 13-10)...

4- East Carolina (45-8, 23-4) at Southern Mississippi (39-13, 20-7)...

5- Ohio State (31-20, 18-10) at Minnesota (33-19, 19-9)..."

Baseball America: Weaver Top Pick, Vargas No. 33

In Baseball America's Top 100 draft Prospects list, Jered Weaver is listed as the top pick, and Jason Vargas is at No. 33 (which would put him at the beginning of the second round).

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Baseball America Tracker Draft - Weaver and Vargas Listed

Baseball America has launched its 2004 Draft Tracker, listing those it projects as 1st round picks in the June, 2004, draft. And also whether they believe a player's position in the draft is holding, rising or falling. No surprise, they pick Jered Weaver to go first. And that his position is holding, stating: "A season's worth of dominance makes him the safest bet for the No. 1 pick." They also project the next 11 picks after the 1st round as "On the Bubble." Jason Vargas makes this list.

You can read this feature here.

Three Major Polls Explained

It's not about the Dirtbags, but here is an interesting article explaining the methodology of the three major NCAA Division I baseball polls put out by Baseball America, ESPN/Sports Weekly and Collegiate Baseball newspaper. The article begins:

"Like clockwork on Monday, three baseball publications released their college rankings. And once again, observers were scratching their heads.

South Carolina is ranked 16th by Collegiate Baseball, but fifth in Baseball America and sixth in the USA Today Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches' Poll. Essentially, two polls consider the Gamecocks good enough to be a national seed in the NCAA Tournament and one thinks they barely will be a regional host."

Baseball America Features Jered Weaver

Photo: Jered Weaver pitching at Petco Park, San Diego.

Baseball America has a long feature piece on Jered Weaver. Here are some excerpts:

"A handful of Long Beach State players and coaches made the short trip to Anaheim in mid-April to watch former Dirtbags shortstop Bobby Crosby play for the Athletics. Jered Weaver walked past his coaches' seats when a woman in her 50s tapped one of them on the shoulder and asked, "Is that Jered Weaver?" She wanted to have her picture taken with the 21-year-old.

Pitching coach Troy Buckley admits he was surprised Weaver got picked out of the crowd, but he figured she was a local fan. "I'm from Michigan," she replied. "But we've read all about him."

It was just another day in the circus that has surrounded the Long Beach State team this year, one that has drawn boys and girls and scouts of all ages to watch the junior righthander put up astonishing numbers in start after start...

"He's a cult hero in Long Beach," Buckley says. "He's brought more attention to our program than any one player ever has. People not involved in college baseball are getting excited at getting the chance to see one of the best pitchers in competition at the college level."

Weaver's a draw on the road as well, attracting season-high crowds for his starts at Cal Poly (3,279), Cal State Fullerton (3,317) and UC Riverside (1,082). Then there are the media requests. Five to 10 media members call the school each week to schedule interviews. Sure, there are the locals, but USA Today, Sports Illustrated and ESPN Magazine have also dispatched reporters to chronicle the Weaver Show.

"He handled it all well," his father Dave says. "He never lets anything bother him."...

It's easy to picture Weaver asleep on the beach, stretched out across his boogie board with his shoulder-length blond hair in his face. Then he wakes up from his nap, ducks into the clubhouse--because at 6-foot-7 he wouldn't fit into a phone booth--and emerges in his superhero garb: the pinstriped uniform with BEACH across the front, the one he always chooses to wear when he starts. The superhero doesn't see what the big deal is. He's just pitching, not saving lives. He's just another Dirtbag, not a star....

The impeccable command of an 88-94 mph fastball, two-plane slider and changeup that gets in on lefties also help, but focus is what separates Weaver from the other pitchers in college baseball.

"That is a tremendous advantage," says South Carolina coach Ray Tanner, who managed Weaver last summer with Team USA. "He does a tremendous job of preparing himself mentally. You have to give a player credit for having a plan and focus and making adjustments....

"He can really put his fastball to both sides of the plate," an AL scouting director says. "He can pitch with his fastball now and get out big leaguers. He can get guys out in the strike zone. In pro ball, that goes a long way."

As those who saw this post when I first put it up know, and I did not notice until later, the link to the full article was password protected. This article is in the paid subscription only area. Unfortunately, I can't get you there! I would recommend that you pick up the print version. The full article is in depth and fans will want to read it all.

Biggest Series Of The Year At Blair Field Set For This Weekend

This from the Long Beach Press-Telegram this morning (read the entire article here):

The last time the Dirtbags crossed the county line to get a look at their blood rival, Fullerton, they left the little team on Nutwood on the wrong end of a 2-1 series victory and with a very un-Titanlike record of 16-16.

To put that in perspective, Fullerton has lost 16 games or less in a season five times in the last decade, and the last time the Titans flirted with a .500 record, Bush the elder was in the White House (1989).

And as we all know when Titan baseball isn't winning, there's very little reason for their athletic department to unlock their doors.

But no one associated with Dirtbag baseball left Fullerton for dead after that series. Mike Weathers and friends knew Titans coach George Horton would find a way to turn the season around, and they're batting 1,000.

Fullerton has gone 19-4, including the last-game win in the non- conference series, has returned to the national rankings, and needs just one victory in this weekend's three-game series at Blair Field to clinch the Big West title.

That's not surprising, either. The two teams have finished first or second in league play a combined 22 times since 1989, so everyone knew they would collide for the title the last weekend of league play....

While the rivalry is the most intense you'll find in Big West sports, often bordering on hate, there's a strong current of respect among the coaches, current and past.

They're all connected. Dirtbag creator Dave Snow and Horton were teammates at Cerritos College. Horton played for Augie Garrido at Fullerton, and his first coaching job was as Snow's assistant at L.A. Valley College.

Horton would return to his alma mater as Garrido's top aide before his promotion in 1997. Meanwhile, Snow's top assistant was Mike Weathers, who also played at Cerritos, was an assistant at Fullerton College for two years, and was head coach at Chapman before Snow grabbed him. The Dirtbags, Titans and Weathers' Chapman teams would routinely scrimmage in fall and winter ball. This is Weathers' second year as head coach.

"We all have the same background and came from the same places,' Horton said. "That's what's unique about the rivalry, the mutual respect and friendship we have off the field. Whenever there's been a sour incident or some verbal warfare between the teams, we get it straightened out. We don't want to tarnish the quality of the rivalry and let it get bitter.'

It has teetered that way a few times. In the '90s, the two clubs took great pride winning a series on the opponent's field. Titan players are not enamored with the Dirtbags' dugout antics the shaking of the hats on deuces, for example and the Dirtbags think the Titans are arrogant.

Last year, Fullerton won the rubber game of the series on a pop- fly down-the-line homer, and there was a lot of on-field taunting and smack before the coaches intervened. But nothing on the field rivals the smack tossed by fans of the two teams, often shouted over 30 yards.

"It's been more negative in the stands than on the field,' Horton said. "There's that one (Dirtbag fan) who likes to call me Tubby, which is going overboard. I guess I wish fans didn't think they had to turn to that. They don't have to make the battle their own.'...

This weekend's series has the look of a classic.

The Dirtbags will toss Jered Weaver, Cesar Ramos and Jason Vargas against the Titans, arguably the best rotation in the nation not located in Houston (Rice University). The Dirtbags' team ERA of 2.68 is almost a full run better than the No. 2 team in the Big West (Fullerton, 3.63). Opponents are averaging a measly 2.95 runs a game against the Dirtbags, and the three starters and top two relievers all have opponent batting averages under .237, topped by Weaver's .142.

The Dirtbags have limited their opponents to four runs or less in 35 games and have a 32-3 record in those games. They've pitched seven shutouts, allowed just one run 15 times, and two runs in another seven.

Both teams have a lineup of all .300 hitters, but the Titans lead the Big West in hitting at .328 and have scored 135 more runs than the Dirtbags (409 to 274). They have their own All-American candidate, catcher Kurt Suzuki (.439), to swing against Weaver.

In the first game between the teams this season, Fullerton scored a pair of runs off Weaver early before frittering it away.

"We scored two runs and then threw a party,' Horton said. "Then he got better. He's having as good a year as any college pitcher I've ever seen. Mark Prior was dominant when he was at USC, but no moreso than Jered.

"If we're fortunate enough to score on him again, we all may step out of the dugout and do that Japanese baseball thing, bow and apologize for scoring on him.

"Make no mistake. I still think, even if we have a two-game lead, that (the Dirtbags) are the team to beat in the conference.'"

Okay, which one of you Dirtbags fans is going overboard?

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Showdown at Blair: Titans Coming to Town

This from the Big West Conference weekly release:

"Long Beach State Battles Cal State Fullerton for Big West Title. For the second straight season, the Big West championship will be decided on the last weekend between Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton. Last season, the Titans were in second place and needed a sweep at home against the 49ers. This year, the roles are reversed with LBSU needing a sweep to repeat as league champs. Earlier this season Long Beach State took 2-of-3 from Fullerton. The two teams have met in the conference series finale each of the past three seasons with the Titans holding a 3-1 edge during that span. The first game will pit to of the premier pitchers against each other in junior Jered Weaver and senior Jason Windsor. Weaver has pitched two consecutive complete games, including a 17-strikeout, shutout performance two weeks ago. Windsor has pitched five straight complete games, including a shutout against UC Irvine last week. The two have combined for nine Big West Pitcher of the Week awards this season with Weaver grabbing seven of them."

Get the full release here (pdf file - Adobe Acrobat is required).

College Baseball On Big West Teams In The Regionals

College Baseball has this in an article today speculating on which schools will get into the Regionals (the full article is here):

"Big West (4) - Cal State Fullerton (16-2, 33-20) and Long Beach State (14-4, 36-13) are in, but we're having issues figuring out who else should go. UC Irvine (8-10, 31-17-1) has two wins over Cal, two (and a tie) against Arizona, three over Baylor, two over Minnesota and is 2-3 against Long Beach - BUT THE ANTEATERS ARE TIED FOR FIFTH!!! We'll leave them in for now, but they have UC Riverside (10-8, 32-22) this week from last week might be in jeopardy. The Highlanders got one from Long Beach and have an RPI in the low 70s. UC Santa Barbara (9-9, 32-19) and Cal Poly (8-10, 36-22-1) are also right there, with the Gauchos hovering in the mid 60s and the Mustangs in the high 80s. While the sweep against Long Beach State is huge for UC Santa Barbara, this weekend's date with Cal Poly (21-11-1 away from home but at home this weekend) looms large. Simply put, if the Big West can get four, the final two spots are between Riverside, Santa Barbara, Irvine and Poly, making this weekend enormous (and Irvine's finale against Washington."

For What It's Worth - My Opinion On the Dirtbags Seeding

The next 6 six games are extremely important to the Dirtbags seeding in the NCAA tourney. Here's my opinion:

Because of UCSB's sweep of the Dirtbags at Blair Field, the next 2 series are huge. With our 19th place RPI, it is fortunate that our next two opponents have the 28th (Fullerton) and 1st (Miami) place RPIs. The D'bags have a great opportunity to get their RPI close to 10. I think if the Beach goes 4-2, a national seed is probable (but it depends on the play of other contenders). If the Dirtbags go 5-1, then we should definitely get a national seed. If Long Beach State goes 3-3, then a #1 seed in the regional is likely but the national seed will not happen. But if we do worse, then it is unlikely we get a #1 seed. That is not going to happen if the Dirtbags continue to play with the grit and determination they have shown throughout this season.

Paul McAnulty Progressing in Padres Organization

Paul McAnulty, the Dirtbags first baseman drafted by the Padres in the 12th round in 2002, is progressing well in San Diego's organization. In the rookie Pioneer League in 2002, he won the batting title with a .379 average, and had a .604 slugging percentage. Last year, in A ball at Fort Wayne, he batted .273, and led the team in hits, doubles, RBI and total bases, and was second in walks (67) and on-base percentage (.370).

This year, with Lake Elsinor in the California League, he is batting .297, with a .551 slugging percentage, and leads the team in home runs with 7. You can follow Paul at the Lake Elsinor Storm's webpage here.

Dirtbags 8th in Baseball America and ESPN Polls, 11th in Collegiate Baseball

The Long Beach State Dirtbags held their 8th place ranking in the Baseball America poll this week, but fell from 6th to 8th in the ESPN/Sports Weekly poll, and from 9th to 11th in the Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Dirtbags Bats Move Up NCAA Ladder

Photo: John Bowker

For games through May 16, 2004, the Long Beach State Dirtbags, known for great pitching and defense, have moved up to 81st in team batting average (at .304) among the 285 ranked Division I Baseball programs. In the UCR series, Dirtbags batters went 44 for 116, a .379 average, and produced 24 runs. Danny Mocny, Brad Davis, Jason Vargas and John Bowker are in a virtual dead heat for the team lead in batting average, with the first three at .342, and John Bowker at .341. Jason (.516), John (.514) and Danny (.505) have slugging percentages in excess of .500.

Pitching and defense remain dominant. The Beach remain 3rd in the nation in ERA at 2.68 (behind Rice at 2.30 and Texas at 2.44). Fielding percentage has improved to .976, and 7th best in Division I (from 11th last week). Winning percentage stands at .735, for 17th.

Individually, Jered Weaver remains number one in wins (14) and strikeouts per nine innings (13.6). Jered is now 2nd in ERA at 1.27. Neil Jamison moves up to 3rd place in saves (12), and Cesar Ramos is now 9th in wins (10) and 25th in ERA (2.16).

Bob Keisser Musings on Dirtbags-Titan Series and the Post Season

Bob Keisser writes in the Long Beach Press-Telegram this morning:

"News: Dirtbags and Titans, once again and forever.

Muse: The only thing more de rigueur in baseball is that the Yankees will have the largest payroll in the major leagues. On a collegiate level, the annual showdown has the same kind of emotional investment as Yankees-Red Sox.

You start with the fact that since Long Beach State turned its baseball program around in 1989, the rivals have won or shared the Big West regular season title seven times each, and that doesn't include divisional titles won in 1997 and 1998, the only years the conference had postseason tournaments.

Then mix in the perfect 39-39 record between the two teams since 1989. Saute that with large crowds the three largest for a three-game regular season series in Blair Field history were turned in by the pair. Four of the top seven Blair single game marks were also Dirtbag-Titan scrums.

It may be hyperbole to say the 2004 showdown is any more meaningful than any other, but there are other a lot of issues for both clubs.

Fullerton (33-20) was 15-16 going into conference play and fell out of the rankings, but they've gone 18-4 since and bring a two- game lead into the series at Blair, meaning the 49ers need to sweep the series to claim the title and automatic berth. If the Titans win the title, they'll get an automatic bid to the postseason and will submit a bid to host a NCAA regional.

The 49ers (36-13), meanwhile, are looking for their first back-to- back Big West titles since 1993-94; are on a pace for the most wins since 1998 (43); and have a pitcher, the unbeaten Jered Weaver, who already has set multiple school records and is a candidate to be the national player of the year and first pick in the amateur draft.

It's a bit of oddity for the Dirtbags that there's an upside to Fullerton's resurgence. They took two of three in the nonconference series earlier and a credible Fullerton team improves the Dirtbag RPI, the formula that accounts for strength of schedule.

If the 49ers win two of three next week, their RPI will improve even though they didn't win the league title. And if Fullerton is a host, the West could wind up with four sites among the 16 sub-regionals (Dirtbags, Stanford and Arizona State being the others).

That could leverage the usual NCAA bias when it comes time to assign super-regional pairings."

Read the entire article here.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Sunday Starter For Riverside An Open Question

From The Press-Enterprise (Riverside) today (read the entire article here [registration required, which is free]):

"As UC Riverside continues its push for a spot in the NCAA baseball tournament, beginning tonight with an appointment against college baseball's most dominant pitcher, the status of their own staff ace is less certain.

UCR faces Long Beach State (34-12, 12-3 Big West) and 13-0 Jered Weaver, the nation's strikeout leader, in the opener of a three-game series at the Sports Center.

The Highlanders (31-20, 9-7) will send Jaymie Torres, last year's Friday pitcher, who is making only his second start of 2004, against Weaver.

Meanwhile, AJ Shappi (8-2, 3.54) is tentatively scheduled to pitch against the Dirtbags Sunday, but that could very well hinge on how well his sore right elbow responds to a scheduled bullpen session Thursday....

Weaver, who enters this start with a 1.29 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 104 1/3 innings, is 2-0 in his career against UCR.

He gave up five hits in five innings at the Sports Center and won 10-3 in 2002. Last season, he gave four hits in 7 1/3 innings and struck out 13 in a 6-2 triumph at Blair Field."

Power Pitching Dirtbags Open Series With UC Riverside

The following is from Baseball America's Weekend Preview today. (read the entire article here):

"Believers of the "good pitching beats good hitting" mantra get some ammunition from the fact that the nation's top five teams in ERA are all sitting in this week's Top 25: Rice, Texas, Long Beach State, Central Florida and Oral Roberts.

Perusing the rosters of at least the first four teams here turns up a handful of power arms per pitching staff--guys who can run fastballs into the low-90s and breaking balls in the low-80s or better consistently. So the college baseball twist might be that power pitching--not just guys who are good because they rely mostly on breaking balls--beats good hitting. That's because most college hitters have slider-speed bats, so lineups that feast upon thumbing control freaks during the regular season can run into trouble on the way to Omaha when a team trots out a few fireballers...

Long Beach State takes third with a 2.61 [ERA] mark, largely thanks to the increasingly stunning performances of junior righthander Jered Weaver (school-record 17 punchouts last week) and sophomore lefty Cesar Ramos, who was invited to tryout for Team USA this summer based on his Weaver-like command and 9-3, 2.01 record. The No. 8 Dirtbags travel to face UC Riverside this weekend, and junior righthander A.J. Shappi (8-2, 3.54) should be back on the mound Sunday for the Highlanders after missing last week's turn with some muscle soreness."

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Fightin' Words - Boyd Nation's Prognostications On Post Season Chances

Boyd Nation of has his column out on the post season chances of the top 25 teams in ISR. The whole article is a worthwhile reading here. Here is what he has to say about the Dirtbags, currently #4 in ISR:

"#4 Long Beach State, 34-12

Stop me if you've heard this one before: These guys really are this good, and they're at #18 in the RPI and 2nd in the conference at the moment, so there's not much chance they're going to be treated fairly at selection time. They did get swept at home a couple of weeks of by UCSB -- not a bad team at all, but not someone they should have feared -- so they do have some vulnerabilities, but they have a good bit of talent and the best pitcher in the country, so they have a shot."

I wish it weren't so, but like many fans in the west, I think all else being equal we have to be better than teams in the southeastern U.S. to get treated the same. It's not right, but it's happened too often to be ignored. The D'Bags need to finish strong to have a shot at a national seed, and the easier (though not easy) path to Omaha.

As an aside, I think Boyd Nation's take on Division I Baseball is interesting. Boyd is an Ole' Miss fan. The Rebels are in the Southeast Conference where schools usually get a bump up in RPI, rather than the shove down western schools get. But Boyd has been a champion for the NCAA Div. I Baseball Committee changing to RPI to element the bias caused by the fact that western schools play in a smaller pool of talent - so their W-L records are pushed closer to .500.

Riverside Press-Telegram Compares Jered Weaver to Sandy Koufax

Here are some excerpts from Jim Alexander's piece in the Press-Enterprise (Riverside) this morning:

"Some who watch Long Beach State junior Jered Weaver see a young Don Drysdale, with that funky three-quarters delivery and a release point that seems to come from somewhere behind a right-handed batter's left ear.

Others, sensing that the San Diego Padres will take Weaver No. 1 in next month's major league draft, compare him to the Cubs' Mark Prior, the No. 2 pick in 2001 after a similarly dominant junior season at USC.

But, at the risk of baseball blasphemy, maybe we should mention Weaver alongside Sandy Koufax - and not just because of record-shattering strikeout numbers or moments of near-perfection.

Koufax in his prime lured additional people to the ballpark. So has Weaver, on a smaller scale: an average of more than 700 extra fans per home start for a team averaging 1,496 at the gate, as well as huge crowds on the road at Cal State Fullerton (3,317) and Cal Poly (3,279). He's such a hot item, Long Beach's athletic marketing department built a mini-season ticket plan around his scheduled Friday night starts...

Friday, it's Riverside's turn to take a look. Trust us, it will be worth every penny to show up at the Sports Center - even if it means wedging yourself in among the phalanx of scouts and their radar guns behind home plate - to see if UC Riverside can solve Weaver.

No one else has. In 14 starts, Weaver is 13-0 with a 1.29 ERA, 163 strikeouts in 104 1/3 innings and an opponents' batting average of .147. He leads the nation in victories and strikeouts and is third in ERA...

Twice, against USC and BYU, he has struck out the first 10 men in a game. Against UCLA, he struck out eight of the last 10 men he faced. Against seventh-ranked Wichita State, 13 of the first 14 outs and 16 of the 18 he recorded were strikeouts...

Friday night, you have a chance to say you saw him when."

Dirtbags fans, it would probably be a good idea to get there early! The full article is worth reading. Get it here. Registration is required, which is free.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Daily 49er: Dirtbags Back on Track

Michael Bower writes in the Daily 49er today:

"The Dirtbags may have hit the lowest of the lows after being swept at home against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos a week ago, but the team has rebounded with four-straight wins.

The Dirtbags produced a three-game sweep over the Pacific Tigers last weekend at Blair Field and a 13-10 victory over the Pepperdine Waves last Tuesday.

The Dirtbags (34-12, 12-3) have now won four Big West Conference series and 14 overall. The team is one game out of first place after the Cal State Fullerton Titans (13-2) took two out of three from UC Riverside (9-6).

The final six conference games will be crucial to the Dirtbags' chances at defending the Big West Conference Championship and they won't be easy. The Dirtbags will travel to third place UC Riverside this weekend and then host a three-game series against the Titans beginning May 21..."

Read the rest of the article here. Long Beach State Dirtbags a Lock For NCAA Tourny

Sean Ryan and Phil Stanton writing for today have picked their likely field for the NCAA Division I Baseball post season tournament. The entire article is here. Below are some excerpts:

"...Similar to last season, we have what we call a "locks" list - teams we feel confident will make the field, even if they don't win their conference tourneys. These teams can and do change, and it's very possible to go from a lock to out of the field altogether.

Our locks to date include (in no particular order): Virginia, Clemson, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Texas, Long Beach State, East Carolina, Oral Roberts, Wichita State, Florida, South Carolina, LSU, Arkansas, Rice, Stanford, Washington, Arizona State and Miami....

Big West (3) - Long Beach State is in, and its old pal Cal State Fullerton should be there alongside. And then it gets interesting. UC Irvine has two wins over Cal, two (and a tie) against Arizona, three over Baylor, two over Minnesota and is 2-3 against Long Beach. That gets the Anteaters the nod over UC Riverside, which lost three tight ones to Arizona and doesn't have the quality wins."

Dr. Dan - Man of Letters

Dr. Dan's Diamond Dust this week hits the mark:

"...Clearly Troy Tulowitzki has the glove skills to follow the Niner Dirtbag shortstop tradition that already includes major leaguers Chris Gomez and Bobby Crosby. But now is bat and his head are coming around. Benched against UCSB for not running hard to first (the hard nineties) he said, "It was a wake-up call and I respect the game too much to not always hustle." Recent evidence--a batting average now over .300 with 12 doubles and two triples. Mix in the recent power surge from Danny Mocny and Sean Boatright and the suffocating mound work of the three tremblers--Weaver (13-0), Ramos (9-3) and Vargas (7-5) -- and you can understand why opposing coaches get queasy. Let the games continue. - DR. DAN"

Indeed! Read the entire Dr. Dan Diamond Dust here.

Dr. Bob Maxson - LBSU Athletics No. 1 Fan

Sports columnist Doug Krikorian's piece in the Long Beach Press-Telegram today about the amazingly supportive Robert "Bob" Maxson, President of Long Beach State University, is well worth a read. Here are some excepts:

"I don't know for sure if Long Beach State's Dr. Robert Maxson is the most popular college president in the country, although I doubt there is one at any other campus who's on a first- name basis with more students than Maxson..."

"What I do know for sure about Dr. Robert Maxson is that there isn't a college president in the entire U.S. Of A. who is more passionate about his school's athletic teams, and the frenetic schedule he pursued last weekend was a graphic reflection of it.

If you were at the 49ers' baseball game Friday night at Blair Field against Pacific, you saw Maxson there from the first inning through the ninth, applauding Jered Weaver's 17-strikeout performance and schmoozing with the Dirtbags' boosters.

And, if you happened to be at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu Saturday night for the 49ers' men's volleyball NCAA championship match against Brigham Young University, you saw the tireless Maxson up there in the stands cheering loudly for the local heroes.

It turned out that Bob Maxson was the only college president to make an appearance at the Hawaii event, even though for him to do so resulted in a grueling 24-hour regimen in which he spent 11 hours on an airplane during the 6,000-mile round trip..."

""I simply enjoy going to our student functions,' says Maxson, who was unable to scurry over to Hawaii on Friday because he had several important budget meetings, as well as a gathering of the graduating President Scholars at the school's Japanese Gardens. "Earlier in the week, I went to a concert put on by the dance department. I always try to get out and see the events put on by our theater and music performers. I guess it's well-known I have a great fondness for athletics, but I also try to attend all our other student functions.'..."

""My favorite sports are those played by my students at the school,' he says. "I go to about one Angel and one Dodger game a year. The rest of the time I go to games played by my students. It is these that inspire my passions.'"

Read the entire column here. I have adopted Long Beach alma mater is the southern most California State University campus, which will remain unnamed. In my tenure there, I never saw the university President until my graduation ceremony. Since I began attending Dirtbags games, I have been amazed by Dr. Maxson's personal involvement with LBSU students. His caring approach can do nothing but instill confidence in students, athlete or not.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Dirtbags Move to No. 6 in ESPN/Sports Weekly Poll

Photo: Dirtbags dugout at Cal Poly

The Long Beach State Dirtbags moved from 8th to 6th in the ESPN/Sports Weekly poll on the strength of their 4-0 week, including the sweep of Pacific.

Jered Weaver is National Player and Big West Pitcher of the Week

Jered Weaver was named today as Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's National Player of the Week for an unprecedented sixth time this season. The paper writes:

"RHP Jered Weaver, Long Beach St.: Weaver struck out a career-high 17 batters over nine innings in a 3-0 win over Pacific. Weaver retired the last 18 Pacific batters, including 12 on strikeouts. He only gave up two hits in the game and walked none in a complete game, 115-pitch outing."

From the Big West Conference website:

"Long Beach State junior Jered Weaver (Simi Valley, Calif.) was named Big West Pitcher of the Week for the seventh time this season. The 49er ace hurled his second shutout of the season while striking out a team-record 17 batters. Weaver allowed just two singles in the ballgame and faced just 29 batters (two over the minimum). He retired the final 18 batters of the game (12 by strikeout)."

Dirtbags Move Up in Polls

On the strength of their 4-0 week, the Dirtbags have moved from 9th to 8th in the Baseball America poll, and from 11th to 9th in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

One I Missed Last Week

On May 4 Eric Sorenson wrote for (read the rest here):

"Long Beach State: Somehow the Dirtbags, who had been rolling along lately, lost all three games at home to UC-Santa Barbara, thus losing their chance to cement their national seed status. Like a scolding father, you can just hear the NCAA selection committee saying, "Another weekend like that and we'll send you to Palo Alto for the Supers again.""

The sarcasm is aptly directed. It does seem that unless your team is one of the big money, "in the club," programs, you have to go the extra mile.

This weekend the Dirtbags got back on track in a big way. It is hard to emphasize too much how big the final three series are...against UC Riverside on the road, Fullerton at home and Miami in Coral Gables. As head Left Field Loonie Houston Bob says, its time to "git 'er done."

Coach Mike Weathers Elated

This from the Long Beach Press-Telegram this morning:

"The typical college baseball coach would have to feel pretty good if his defense committed just two errors and his pitching staff allowed just one walk and one run in a game.

But Long Beach State's Mike Weathers isn't the "typical" college coach, not with a staff and defense that surrendered those numbers over three games while sweeping a weekend Big West Conference series with the University of Pacific.

So "elated" is a more apt way to describe his post-series disposition.

"It was an exceptional weekend for us," Weathers said Sunday afternoon at Blair Field, after a Mother's Day gathering of 868 watched his team knock off the Tigers, 6-1, to improve to 12-3 in the Big West a game behind first-place Cal State Fullerton and 34-12 overall."

Read the rest of the article here.

Dirtbags Complete Sweep of UOP Tigers

The Long Beach State Dirtbags decisively completed a sweep of the University of the Pacific Sunday, beating the Tigers 6-1. In his best start of the season, Jason Vargas went 8.0 innings, allowed just six hits and struck out six (while walking one). Brian Anderson pitched a perfect ninth.

The bats came alive for the Beach as they pounded out 15 hits. Troy Tulowitzki led the way, going 3 for 4, including a triple and a double. Troy batted in two and scored a run.

For the series, the Dirtbags batted .342, including five doubles. The season batting average stands at .298.

The biggest story of the weekend was pitching, as the Beach allowed only one run all weekend and just 12 hits. The Dirtbags team ERA dropped from 2.77 to 2.61, and on the season opposing batters are "hitting" just .213.

The 49ers picked up a game on Cal. State Fullerton in the Big West standings as the Titans went 2-1 on the weekend against UC Riverside (who are now three games behind the Beach).

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Dirtbags Shut Down Pacific Tigers

Friday night, Jered Weaver slammed the door shut on the Univ. of the Pacific Tigers, shutting them out in a complete game victory. Jered gave up only two hits, while setting a new personal best at 17 strikeouts. The Beach scored 3 runs on 5 hits.

The Tigers faired no better on Saturday against Cesar Ramos. Through eight innings he allowed just two hits, striking out eight. Cesar allowed a leadoff hit in the ninth, but promptly got a double play. Pitching Coach Troy Buckley then went to the mound and called for closer Neil Jamison. Neil allowed a lead hit, but then struck out the next batter to end the game, and complete the 5-0 shutout.

When Buck called for Neil, the home plate umpire was apparently irritated. One in my group in the stands thought the umpire said "you've got to be kidding." That set off Coach Mike Weathers who had a heated "discussion" with the ump. Some in the stands were also irritated with the decision to pull Cesar, wanting the see a complete game shutout, and let it be known with their boo's. The Long Beach Press-Telegram explains what happened (read the entire article here):

"It seems you can't please all of the people, all of the time.

Even, apparently, when a baseball team plays as well as Long Beach State's did against its University of Pacific counterpart Friday and Saturday at Blair Field.

With sophomore left-hander Cesar Ramos just one out away from finalizing the Dirtbags' second consecutive complete-game shutout against the Tigers on Saturday afternoon, pitching coach Troy Buckley came to the mound.

And there were a smattering of boos amongst the gathering of 1,113 when Buckley took the ball from the El Rancho High graduate and signaled to the bullpen for closer Neil Jamison.

Two batters later, after Jamison was touched for a single before getting pinch-hitter Mark McLaughlin to stare at a third strike to wrap up the 5-0 victory, Ramos seemed a lot less upset about being pulled than did some seated behind the Dirtbags' dugout.

"It's tough for Neil to get work on weekends,' Ramos said, after striking out eight, giving up just three singles and not allowing a walk to help the Dirtbags improve to 11-3 in the Big West Conference and 33-12 overall. "If a closer doesn't get his work it's tough for him to keep his rhythm.'

So he didn't mind missing out on his second complete-game shutout of the season?

"Nah, not at all,' he said, smiling after running his record to 9-3 and two-year mark to 15-7.

Dirtbags coach Mike Weathers understood why some might have been befuddled by his and Buckley's decision to lift Ramos.

"We wanted to work Jamison a couple of times this weekend,' Weathers said. "The crowd wanted the (complete-game) shutout but we want what is best for the team. Jamison has gone some weekends when he didn't pitch and when he does that, he loses his edge, like any closer would.'"

Friday, May 07, 2004

Baseball America Revised Regionals Projections

Baseball America has revised its Regionals projections today. BA predicts a Long Beach Regional with seeding as follows: 1. Dirtbags, 2. Washington, 3. UNLV, and 4. Loyola Marymount. They also project UCI going as a 2 seed to Stanford, and Arizona State hosting as a No. 1 with Fullerton as the 2 seed.

They do not project the eight national seeds.

See their projections here.

A Look at the Pacific Tigers

The Pacific Tigers come into Blair Field this weekend at 18-25, and 3-9 in the Big West. Last weekend they won their first Big West series of the year, taking 2 of 3 from UC Riverside at home. The Tigers won Friday 10-9, lost Saturday 9-8 and won on Sunday 5-1. Sunday starter RHP Andy Willick (5-5, 5.50 ERA) comes off a great start against Riverside. In his first complete game of the year, he gave up only one run on five hits.

The 7th place Tigers are hitting .255 as a team, with a 6.29 ERA. Second baseman Aaron Harper is their leading hitter at .307, also leading the team in home runs (6), RBI (29), runs (33), triples (3), doubles (tied at 12) and slugging percentage (.528). Closer Josh Schmidt is a respectable 3-3, 3.56 ERA with 7 saves.

While Pacific has struggled, their weekend against Riverside, and the Dirtbags weekend against UCSB, point out that no opponent can be overlooked!

Dirtbags to Host University of the Pacific Tigers

This from Baseball America's College Weekend Preview (read the entire article here).

"No. 9 Long Beach State welcomes Pacific to Blair Field over the weekend while the Titans play host to UC Riverside just 30 minutes down the road. Also in Big West play No. 22 UC Irvine visits Cal Poly. Where a few weeks ago it appeared both had a shot at regional bids, both teams have stumbled to 5-7 records in league play, and the loser of this series would have a tough time convincing the selection committee that the fifth- or sixth-place team in the Big West should get a regional bid.

Long Beach State heads into the weekend two games behind Cal State Fullerton after getting swept by UC Santa Barbara last week. Dirtbags coach Dave Weathers isn't worried about his team suffering a late-season slide. "We lost three games, but we're going to be fine," he said. "There was no panicking, bickering or fighting. If there was, then it might be something more.""

Perhaps the next time John Manuel of BA speaks with Coach Mike Weathers he'll remember his name?