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Trip To Omaha On The Line


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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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Friday, June 11, 2004

Trip To Omaha On The Line

The following article, from the Orange County Register, is published in the San Jose Mercury News (read the article here, free registration required):

Long Beach State ready to host first super regional


The Orange County Register

LONG BEACH, Calif. - (KRT) - The pings from Long Beach State's baseball practice field echoed a little louder Wednesday afternoon, and it had nothing to do with the fact that school is out and the campus is empty.

Jered Weaver hit slow ground balls to infielders. Coach Mike Weathers leaned against the cage to take in batting practice under a June-gloom sky.

It was just like any other practice, except the 49ers historically are on the road this time of year.

History changes Friday night at 7 when Long Beach State plays host to its first super regional at Blair Field against Arizona in a weekend expected to galvanize a city steeped in baseball tradition.

"I would expect the town to explode with excitement," said UC Riverside coach Jack Smitheran, who grew up in the area and played at Long Beach Wilson.

The best-of-3 series continues Saturday at 4 and, if necessary, Sunday at 3 or 6. The winner advances to next week's College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

More than 1,800 all-session passes already have been sold, according to Long Beach State officials, who are advising fans arrive early. It will be the first time the 49ers will play at home with a shot at Omaha on the line, and it gets started with Weaver on the mound tonight on ESPN2.

"It's good for our program, our school and our community," Weathers said.

Long Beach State has been eliminated by Stanford the previous two seasons, including last year's super regional in Palo Alto.

The 49ers slain the Cardinal dragon last week when Weathers gambled and won by saving Weaver for Stanford, which lost twice to Long Beach State on its own field as the No.5 national seed.

"It's absolutely huge for the team and the morale of the team," 49ers catcher Brad Davis said of beating Stanford. "I can't even explain."

The super regional sets up well for Long Beach State, which has the large confines of Blair. Only three teams defeated the 49ers at home this year, although they have been swept there the past two series.

Still, Long Beach State has a team ERA of 2.33 at home and 3.91 on the road. Weaver's ERA goes from 2.58 to 1.04 when he pitches at Blair, and Saturday starter Cesar Ramos is nearly a run lower (1.84 from 2.60) at home.

Opponents hit .203 at Blair compared with .251 at home against Long Beach State.

"You go to pretty much any other park in the nation and you have a chance of having a home run hit off you every (at-bat)," Davis said. "But you come into Blair Field and there's big-time home run hitters who can't even hit it out of there. It's a real graveyard."

Home teams have won 30 of 40 super regionals since the current format was implemented in 1999. Long Beach State swept a three-game series against Arizona at Blair in March, including a three-hit shutout by Weaver in the opener.

Arizona, which makes it first super-regional appearance, did Long Beach State a favor by upsetting top-seeded Notre Dame to give the 49ers home-field advantage. A 7-6 victory by Arizona in the final kept Long Beach State from having a plane ride to South Bend, Ind.

Weathers, a former assistant who seeks his first trip to Omaha since he replaced Dave Snow two years ago, likes the situation, but he doesn't put much weight into the "d" word: destiny.

"This is a team that has to work for it," he said. "If they get away from that, if they get caught up in, 'This was meant to be,' it's not going to happen."

posted on 6/11/2004 by Jeff Agnew

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