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Bob Keisser On The Aztecs


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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, February 25, 2005

Bob Keisser On The Aztecs

Here's an feature on the Dirtbags opponent this weekend, San Diego State, from the Long Beach Press-Telegram today:
Aztecs aren't hiding out

SDSU has already faced tough preseason schedule.

By Bob Keisser
Staff writer

Despite his team's record, Tony Gwynn is enjoying himself.

His transition from baseball star with the San Diego Padres to baseball coach at San Diego State has essentially been what he expected it to be a lot of hard work but the chance to make an impact in college baseball at his college alma mater.

He also knows who to blame for his team's 2-8 record coming into tonight's three game series with the Dirtbags at Blair Field the head coach.

The former Poly two-sport star booked an adventurous 2005 schedule after winning the Mountain West Conference (MWC) regular season title in 2004 but not getting a bid to the NCAA tournament. The tournament selection committee, historically biased against West Coast baseball, said the MWC was weak by its standards.

So Gwynn went to work adding powerful nonconference games to the schedule College World Series runner-up Texas, a series at North Carolina State last week, the Dirtbags this weekend and a trip to South Alabama next weekend.

Texas swept the Aztecs in San Diego, and they were swept last weekend in Raleigh. They've also played USC and Santa Clara, will have a series against the University of San Diego in March, play USC once more and have two midweek games with defending national champ Fullerton.

"We probably bit off more than we can chew," Gwynn said. "It's just been disheartening the past three years to play in the toughest part of the country and only get one (MWC) team into the tournament, especially when you see the Southeastern Conference send nine teams to the tournament.

"It's tough to travel 3,000 miles and get spanked, but there's no question playing quality teams early in the schedule helps your confidence later. I'm not second-guessing myself. I know down the road we'll benefit."

Gwynn lost 13 seniors from last year's team as well as a few recruits who decided to sign pro contracts. He lost his entire starting rotation from 2004 as well as his closer. But thus far, his pitching has been a little better than expected and the hitting (.289 average) a little worse.

"We haven't hit at all, and we'd made a lot of errors," he said. "There have been some games we could have won, but good teams make you pay for your mistakes. The good thing is that we can see improvment in these areas."

The Dirtbags (5-6) will be looking to snap a five-game losing streak that is most notable for opponents taking advantage of Dirtbag errors. Cal scored 13 runs in last weekend's rain-soaked sweep and nine of them were unearned.

The Dirtbags have already allowed 18 unearned runs this season after allowing 22 all last season.

They'll also likely play with [errata: should be "without"] outfielder Sean Boatright, who has been slow returning from a hamstring injury, and third-baseman Danny Mocny, who injured his left shoulder last weekend diving for a ball. Including shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who is out for another month after hand surgery, that makes three returning starters missing from the lineup.

DIRTBALLS: Mike Weathers will start the same trio as last weekend against Cal, Cesar Ramos (2-2, 2.74) tonight against Bruce Billings (1-1, 5.87), Marco Estrada (1-0, 2.21) Saturday against Alex Hinshaw (0-2, 9.98) and Jared Hughes (0-0, 0.00) Sunday against Andres Esquibel (1-2, 5.27). … Closer Neil Jamison is day-to-day after taking a ground ball off his forearm last week...Hughes has not allowed an earned run in 11 innings of work, and reliever Brian Anderson is holding opponents to a .077 batting average....All six Dirtbag losses have come on days when it rained. When in doubt, blame the Doppler.
If only!

posted on 2/25/2005 by Jeff Agnew

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