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


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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

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."

posted on 5/27/2004 by Jeff Agnew

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