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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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Thursday, May 27, 2004

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."

posted on 5/27/2004 by Jeff Agnew

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