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]

Another Bobby Crosby Interview

Here's The Tipsters Round Up On Dirtbags In Pro Ball

Honors Pile Up For Cesar Ramos

Dirtbags To Host Highlanders To Open BWC Play

Tulo In BA's Draft Notebook

2005 Dirtbags Compare Well With 2004 Team

Dirtbags Move Up In RPI, ISR And Strength of Schedule

I Didn't Know They Ever Left

I Guess Will Kimmey Was Impressed

Dirtbags Ranked 20th By Collegiate Baseball

Baseball America Ranks Dirtbags No. 22

Dirtbags Win Fifth Series In A Row, Best Titans

Baseball America's College Weekend Preview

What A Night!

Will It Rain Today?

Bob Keisser On The Dirtbags v. Titans Series

Great OC Register Piece On Brian Anderson

Fullerton Series Previews

Daily 49er Feature On Evan Longoria

Ramos Co-Pitcher of the Week In Big West

Dirtbags Surge In ISR/RPI, Strength of Schedule Now 6th

Elephants Coming To Town

Press-Telegram Update

Baseball America's College Weekend Recap On Dirtbags

Ho-Hum....Not Ranked In Sports Weekly/ESPN...Again

What Gives Baseball America? Here Is Their Answer

Long Beach State Re-enters Collegiate Baseball Rankings

Baseball America Snubs Dirtbags Again

Dirtbags Take Series From Wichita State

Ramos Out Duels Pelfrey 1-0

Now This Is Unusual

29.2 Innings....4-0....7 Saves....8 Hits Allowed....0.00 ERA....Opponents Batting Average, .084

Baseball America On Dirtbags-Shockers Series

Former Dirtbag Steve Trachsel To Have Surgery

Next Up: Wichita State Shockers

Nice Feature On Evan Longoria

Dirtbags Dropped From NCBWA Poll

NCBWA Ranking

Observations On The Houston Series

Still Unranked, Dirtbags Continue Surge In RPI & ISR

Dirtbags Take Series From Houston Cougars

I'll Be Back!

Dirtbags Move Up In RPI and ISR

The Good Word In Baseball America's Weekend Recap

I Guess He's No Scott Boras Fan


Will Kimmey On Dirtbags In The Ranking

I'm 0 for 2....Dirtbags Remain Unranked By Baseball America

Baylor Dropped From Collegiate Baseball Ranking, Dirtbags Remain Unranked

Huge Series Win Over Baylor At Waco

Angels and Weaver - Another View

Dirtbags Head To Waco For Showdown With Baylor


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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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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Another Bobby Crosby Interview

Here's a couple of interesting Q&As from this interview of former Dirtbag Bobby Crosby:
Q: You were college roommates at Long Beach State with (Mariners rookie center fielder) Jeremy Reed. Did you give him any advice about life as a rookie in the majors or did you lie to him because he plays for Seattle, a division rival?

A: I gave him real advice. He knows that if he plays the way he's capable, he's going to have an unbelievable year. I'm telling you. He's amazing. He's an unbelievable player.

Q: You are good friends with another Long Beach State product, Jered Weaver, who was a first-round pick last year and still hasn't signed. The Angels have cut off negotiations with him, and he'll probably re-enter this year's draft. What's your advice to him?

A: If I had any advice, I would say "just sign." But I know there's a lot more factors that go into it. I think that if he would have signed right away, he might have pitched in the big leagues last September and been a starter in the majors this year. But that time has passed. I wish him well. But I would have handled it differently.

Here's The Tipsters Round Up On Dirtbags In Pro Ball

Bobby Crosby Interview And Injury:

Here's a great interview of former Dirtbag (and Oakland A's Rookie of the Year) Bobby Crosby by Larry Krueger on KNBR Sports Radio in the Bay Area (scroll down and click the Bobby Crosby link). Running time is 6:33. Part of the interview is about playing at Long Beach State, who Bobby give a lot of credit to. Hat tip to Hank from the 49ers Sports Message Board for e-mailing the link.

Unfortunately, Bobby has been injured. From
Not more than a few hours after manager Ken Macha expressed his pleasure with the health of his club as it prepared to break camp in Arizona, shortstop Bobby Crosby was hit on the left wrist by a pitch in the team's Cactus League game Wednesday against Milwaukee.

Crosby, the reigning American League Rookie of the Year, was removed from the game shortly after reaching first base and left the clubhouse wearing a soft cast. X-rays of the wrist will be taken Thursday in the Bay Area.

"I can move my finger and wrist, so that's a good sign," Crosby said. "I'm just hoping it's not broken."...

Asked how long Crosby might be out if he does have a broken bone, athletic trainer Larry Davis was vague.

"It depends what's broken," he said. "We'll address that issue if it happens."

Said A's ace Barry Zito: "We're all concerned. He's a key player for us."...
Hat tip to reader Rhonda for e-mailing this link.

Jeremy Reed Has Strong Spring:

This from Peter Gammons at
Jeremy Reed has had a solid spring and is set to be the Mariners' center fielder. Count on the 23-year-old to be a leading candidate for AL Rookie of the Year award. If Reed, who had a 66/58 walk/strikeout ratio in Triple-A and Seattle last season, goes on to win the award, it would mean that Long Beach State roommates won it in consecutive years, as Reed's roomie Bobby Crosby was the AL's top rookie in 2004.
Now, wouldn't that be something! The nod goes to reader Scott for his e-mail with this one.

Baseball America Writes Up Chad Bentz and Brad Davis:

Each year Baseball America publishes it's Prospect Handbook, writing up scouting reports on the 900 prospects, in it's opinion. In this piece, they give scouting reports on players who just missed the cut for inclusion in the book. Among them are former Dirtbags Chad Bentz and Brad Davis. Here's the report on Chad:
Chad Bentz, lhp, Marlins

Born: May 5, 1980. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 210. Bats: R. Throws: L. School: Long Beach State University. Career Transactions: Selected by Expos in seventh round of 2001 draft; signed June 10, 2001 . . . Released by Nationals, Dec. 15, 2004 . . . Signed by Marlins, Dec. 18, 2005. Signed by: Robby Corsaro (Expos).

Like Jim Abbott, Bentz didn't let being born without a complete right hand stop him from reaching the major leagues. He didn't pitch well for the Expos last year, in part because he wasn't used regularly. After returning to the minors, he was shut down in August with a nerve problem in his right foot that required surgery. The newly transplanted Nationals released him in mid-December, but the Marlins quickly snapped him up and reunited him with roving minor league pitching coordinator Wayne Rosenthal, one of Bentz' first coaches as a pro. He relies heavily upon his 91-93 mph fastball and his curveball can be an out pitch, though he struggled with it in the majors. He's a very aggressive pitcher with a tough demeanor, but he needs to tighten his breaking ball and work on his slider. That should make him more effective against lefthanders, who batted .411 against him in his first taste of the majors. His lack of command also gets him in trouble at times. Farmed out in mid-March, Bentz will open 2005 at Triple-A Albuquerque. His ceiling is as a lefthanded specialist.
And on Brad Davis:
Brad Davis, c, Marlins

Born: Dec. 29, 1982. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. Bats: R. Throws: R. School: Long Beach State University. Career Transactions: Selected by Marlins in fifth round of 2004 draft; signed July 9, 2004. Signed by: Robby Corsaro.

Just 42 games into his pro career, Davis already has made an impression as an intense on-field presence with obvious leadership qualities. He has strong hands and good receiving and throwing skills, but he needs to add 10-15 pounds of muscle to do more damage with the bat. He's very athletic and runs better than the typical catcher. He projects to have slightly above-average power, and if that comes he could be an everyday catcher in the majors. Marlins area scout Robby Corsaro and West Coast supervisor Scott Goldby liked Davis early on stayed on him through draft day. He signed for $165,000 after going three rounds after Florida took fellow Long Beach State product Jason Vargas. Davis reminds some of a young Dan Wilson in the way he can handle a staff, and he showed that ability in college with the way he caught Vargas and celebrated staff ace Jered Weaver. In 2003, Davis spent most of his time at first base and right field for the 49ers in deference to Todd Jennings, who became a Giants second-round pick that June. But there's no question Davis' future lies behind the plate.
Hat tip to reader Kurt for sending this along.

posted on 3/31/2005 by Jeff Agnew

Honors Pile Up For Cesar Ramos

For the second week in a row, Cesar Ramos was named the Big West Conference Pitcher of the Week. Two Fridays ago, he pitched a complete game, 1-0 shutout against Mike Pelfrey and the Wichita State Shockers. Baseball America lists Pelfrey as the #3 college draft prospect at mid-season. Then against Fullerton, Cesar pitched another complete game gem, beating the Titans and Ricky Romero 3-2, (BA's #14 mid-season college draft prospect, and in that publication's opinion the top southpaw amoung collegians in the June draft). Cesar is listed as the #20 mid-season college draft prospect and 3rd amoung left handed pitchers.

Cesar has also been named's National Player of the Week. Hat tip to poster NinerDave in this thread on the 49ers Sports Message Board for this one.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Dirtbags To Host Highlanders To Open BWC Play

The Long Beach State Dirtbags will host the UC Riverside Highlanders at Blair Field this weekend as the Big West Conference opens play. The release is here in html, and here in pdf. Riverside's site doesn't have a story up yet. Here's the Beach site synopsis on Riverside:
Riverside enters Big West play at 12-12 on the season, having won four of six games... last weekend they dropped two of three to UC Davis, losing the opener 13-1 before rebounding with a 16-2 win... Sunday’s rubber game resulted in a 6-2 loss... 1B/C Nick Salotti is batting a team-best .367 with eight doubles and 19 RBIs, while outfielder Aaron Grant is batting .349 with 18 RBIs... UCR is batting .256 as a team for first-year Head Coach Doug Smith... the Highlanders are posting a .947 fielding percentage and 4.80 team ERA... Hayley Winter (1.58) leads the Big West in ERA, while righthander James Simmons is solid at 3-1 with a 2.95 ERA... righthander Anthony Claggett has three saves out of the pen.
The starting pitchers are:
Friday - LHP Cesar Ramos (5-3, 1.70) v. TBA
Saturday - RHP Marco Estrada (5-0, 2.08) v. RHP Hayley Winter (4-3, 1.58)
Sunday - RHP Jared Hughes (2-2, 3.55) v. RHP Taylor Bills (2-4, 5.32)
Riverside's Friday starter is likely to either RHP James Simmons (3-1, 2.95) or LHP Jose Shaw (1-1, 4.35). In his last outing, Shaw was victimized by the Highlanders porous defense. He pitched 6.1 innings against UC Davis last weekend, giving up 8 hits, and striking out 6. But Riverside committed 4 errors (3 while Shaw was on the mound). Shaw was charged with 6 runs, only 1 of which was earned. Here's the box score. Simmons last start was against Sac State on March 11, earning him a win. He went 7.1 innings, gave up 8 hits and 2 earned runs. Here's that box score.

More later.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Tulo In BA's Draft Notebook

From Baseball America's Draft Notebook published today:
The '05 crop also offers two premium shortstops: Greene and Troy Tulowitzki of Long Beach State. Tulowitzki is favored on most clubs' lists and draw comparisons to former Dirtbags shortstop Bobby Crosby, though he could be better defensively. Scouts give Greene's bat and glove mixed reviews; his best asset is his track record with wood bats, as he led Team USA in batting in 2003 and hit .296 with 11 extra-base hits in the Cape Cod League last summer.

Tulowitzki has missed most of the season with a broken hamate bone in his left hand...
And this:

Three shortstops are projected in the top half of the first round this year, so the 2005 draft shapes up as a banner year for middle infielders.

“It appears to be a solid middle infield group—for the first time in many years,” an American League scouting director said. “But in almost every case, there are issues that will need to be resolved.”

Virginia high school shortstop Justin Upton is the consensus top talent in the draft, but scouts are becoming increasingly concerned that he may not remain at shortstop in the long term because of concerns about his arm. Center field becomes his next logical position.

“Upton has been having some problems with throwing accuracy, but that’s a moot point,” an AL scouting director said. “His kind of talent will play anywhere.”

It’s a strong year for college shortstops but there’s debate whether Troy Tulowitzki or Tyler Greene will be the first one selected. Tulowitzki beat out Greene for the starting shortstop job on Team USA’s college national team last summer, and a number of scouting directors say Tulowitzki will be picked ahead of Greene in the draft—even though he’d missed all but five games of the 2005 season with a broken hamate bone. He was expected back in early April.

2005 Dirtbags Compare Well With 2004 Team

The Dirtbags struggled in mid-February, losing 5 straight (2 to USC, and 3 to Cal.). Other than this streak, they have gone 18-3, for a 18-8 overall record. They have won 13 of 17 since the losing streak. How does that compare with the 2004 team at this point?

After 28 games last season, also just before the first conference game, the Dirtbags were 20-8. Long Beach State is currently 19th in RPI as calculated by BoydsWorld, for games through March 27, 2005. Last season, at the same point, the Beach was 24th in RPI, and ranked 7th in the Baseball America poll, 8th in the coachs' poll (ESPN/Sports Weekly) and 11th in Collegiate Baseball (Long Beach State pdf with RPI and rankings). Today, they are 20th in the Collegiate Baseball rankings, 22nd in Baseball America and 24th in ESPN/Sports Weekly. Another measure of strength, compensating for bias against western teams in the RPI due to the relative scarcity of Division I schools, is BoydsWorld's Iterative Strength Ratings (ISR) (explained here). Currently, the Dirtbags are 6th in ISR. BoydsWorld doesn't list the 49ers ISR for the exact same point in the 2004 season, but one week earlier they were 6th in ISR, and one week later 5th.

The strength of the Dirtbags schedule is virtually identical, year to year. For the 2004 season, they played the 7th most difficult schedule in Division I. Currently, they have played the 4th most difficult schedule. And as a conference, the Big West has collectively played the most difficult schedule of any Division I league.

Bottom line, though the human polls have failed to recognize it (yet), the 2005 Long Beach State Dirtbags are in a virtual tie with the 2004 team. The RPI and ISR measure results compared against the results of other D-I teams. Both RPI (2004, 24th; 2005, 19th) and ISR (2004, 6th/5th; 2005, 6th) are nearly a dead heat. Though it would be difficult to say that the raw talent on the current Dirtbags matches up with the 2004 team, the current team has good depth and has appeared to have come together pulling all oars in unison.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Dirtbags Move Up In RPI, ISR And Strength of Schedule

For games through March 27, according to BoydsWorld, the Dirtbags have moved up to 6th place in Iterative Strength Rating (ISR) [from 10th], 19th in Ratings Power Index (RPI) [from 27th], and 4th in Strength of Schedule (SOS) [from 6th]. The ratings are explained here.

I Didn't Know They Ever Left

According to Baseball America, "Long Beach is back." The Top 25 tracking article is here. And there are a couple of nice pictures of Cesar Ramos here and here. Be sure to check the pictures out - they will change within a few days.

I Guess Will Kimmey Was Impressed

From the Baseball America chat this week:
Q: Jeff from Long Beach asks:
Will, with the return of ss Troy Tulowitzki (putting the Dirtbags at full strength for the first time since week 2 of the season), and Jared Hughes finding his control in the 4 hit victory over CS Fullerton, what's your take on Long Beach State from here on out, and how their pitching staff matches up in D-I?

A: Will Kimmey: Remember Fullerton's offense mauling Tulane's pitching a few weeks ago? Well, Long Beach shut those guys down, holding them to a .144 average this weekend. Sure, Blair Field is more a pitcher's park than any in the nation, but that's still impressive. Seemed Tulo came back a tad early, as he was 1-for-12 in the series, but his presence seemed to give those Dirtbags a lift. Great pitching beats anything, and LBSU has that kind of staff, one of the nation's best especially with two senior studs at the end of the pen. Give Marco Estrada a hand as well, he's been great this year.

Dirtbags Ranked 20th By Collegiate Baseball

Collegiate Baseball upped the Dirtbags ranking from 30th to 20th this week.

Baseball America Ranks Dirtbags No. 22

The ranking is out, and Baseball America has ranked Long Beach State No. 22 on the strength of their 2-1 series victory over CS Fullerton.

Dirtbags Win Fifth Series In A Row, Best Titans

Here are the links:
Thursday - Dirtbags 3, Titans 2

Friday - Titans 5, Dirtbags 4
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Daily Breeze
Cal. State Fullerton website
Box Score

Saturday - Dirtbags 3, Titans 1
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Orange Co. Register
Cal. State Fullerton website
Box Score
First, the loss on Friday...

...Entertaining game in the back and forth. But one of the worst played by two good teams, and just about equally bad. Hit by Pitch - CSF 4, Dirtbags 6. Errors - CSF 2, Dirtbags 2. Pass Balls/Wild Pitches - CSF 3 (1PB, 2WP), Dirtbags 1 (WP). Left on Base - CSF 12, Dirtbags 10 (could be wrong, but I think the Dirtbags left more on in scoring position). This game was either teams to lose! Enough said!

And the series winning victory on Saturday...

...Jered Hughes displayed the potential we have all been waiting to see. With his mid-90s fastball, if he pitches like he did in this game the rest of the way, combined with the other leaders on the Dirtbags pitching staff, this team could have one heck of a second half - and conference record.

...Here's the take away quote from Fullerton coach George Horton (of all people) in the OC Register:
"They were on a mission to make a statement to everybody that they deserved a little more credit," Horton said. "None of us thought coming into this that they were an (unranked) team ... We think they're a top-10 team."

Friday, March 25, 2005

Baseball America's College Weekend Preview

Baseball America is out today with its College Weekend Preview, and had this to say about the Dirtbags v. Titans series:

It's one of the best rivalries in college baseball, and the schools are kind enough to let us enjoy it twice. No. 1 Cal State Fullerton travels to Blair Field to face Long Beach State this weekend in a series that doesn't count toward the Big West Conference standings. The teams have met twice a year since George Horton became Fullerton's coach in 1997.

The games are always close, and should things come down to the late innings, each bullpen is well prepared. Long Beach State senior righthanders Neil Jamison (seven saves) and Brian Anderson have yet to allow a run between them this year. Fullerton closer Vinnie Pestano (1-1, 2.45), a sophomore righthander, has recorded four saves already after the Titans staff combined for six a year ago.

What A Night!

Here's the links on the Dirtbags' series opening 3-2 victory over the No. 1 ranked Cal. State Fullerton Titans last night: Story
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Daily Breeze
Orange Co. Register
L. A. Times
Fullerton website
Box Score
Cesar Ramos pitched another gem for the win, throwing 108 pitches in the complete game victory. Cesar, now 5-3 with a 1.70 ERA, struck out 8 while walking 2 and allowing only 2 hits...the last quite a feat against a team with a team batting average now standing at .345. This is the second week in a row Cesar has triumphed over a preseason 1st team All-American. Last week it was Mike Pelfrey of Wichita State, and this Ricky Romero of the Titans. Cesar has now tied Abe Alvarez for the most wins in Long Beach State history by a left handed pitchers (23).

But the big surprise of the evening was the return to the lineup of ss Troy Tulowitzki, who was not expected to be activated until April 1 against UC Riverside. In fact the starting lineup included Danny Mocny at 3rd base, and Sean Boatright in center field, in addition to Tulo, putting the team at full strength for the first time since the 1st game of the season on January 28 against Arizona State. Apparently, Tulo's return came as something of a surprise to Coach Mike Weathers. This is from the Press-Telegram article:
Dirtbags head coach Mike Weathers didn't come to Blair expecting Tulowitzki to play.

"I drew up five lineups and he wasn't in any of them," Weathers said. "He hit off the tee well yesterday and was good in the cage today, and he wanted to play. All I said was, 'Don't kid me."

"You could tell he gave us a lift. Everything was a different situation. If you had been here in the dugout, you would have seen how the team fed off his presence."
This team performed remarkably well with so much of it's offensive talent on the sidelines with injuries, going 16-9 against the 6th toughest schedule in Division I, and sitting at 27th in RPI. Now everyone, including the 'Bags preseason 1st team All-American shortstop, is back and well positioned to make a heck of a run as they finish up their non-conference schedule.

But first, mark down game 1 as a win over the Titans. Tonight, let's get game 2!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Will It Rain Today?

Don't ask me! But here's Long Beach weather from Weather Underground. And here is animated Dobbler radar from the National Weather Service - be sure to click the refresh button on the page (works best with a high speed connection).

Bob Keisser On The Dirtbags v. Titans Series

From the Long Beach Press-Telegram:
Dirtbags play host to No. 1 Titans

By Bob Keisser
Staff writer

Years ago, back when New York considered itself the capital of baseball, the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants used to meet in a few exhibition games before the start of the regular season, often to benefit a charity.

The Dirtbags and Titans now have their own pre-Big West Conference series just like those old New Yorkers, the only difference being no one is in a charitable mood.

The three-game series opening tonight at Blair Field may not count in the conference standings, but it's a war nonetheless in one of the best rivalries in college baseball.

The rivalry got its birth in 1989 when Dave Snow became the Dirtbags head coach, and it intensified in 1997 when the conference season featured six games between its members, giving each rival a home series. The Dirtbags won 13 of those 24 games during that four-year period.

When the conference in 2001 slimmed down and cut the schedule to one series per season, the schools decided to keep the second series as a nonconference affair on the eve of league play.

"Every series we play against Fullerton is important, because we're rivals and the fans are into it," said Dirtbags senior second-baseman Chuck Sindlinger.

"It's hard to say what makes it different. I don't think we're any more intense, but there's a feeling in the air when we meet them. Both teams want it. You can sense the desire to not get more amped than we should, but it's hard to ignore who's across the field."

Tonight's starting pitchers have a connection. The Dirtbags' Cesar Ramos and Titans' Ricky Romero grew up in the same area, Ramos in Pico Rivera and Romero in East Los Angeles, and while they didn't meet in high school Ramos starred at El Rancho High School, Romero at L.A. City school Roosevelt they crossed paths in youth baseball.

They were teammates last summer on the U.S. National team and the left-handers bring minuscule stats into tonight's game. Ramos (4-3, 1.65), the Big West Pitcher of the Week, has posted a 0.96 ERA in his last five starts, and his three losses were all by one run. Romero is 5-1 with a 1.70 ERA.

Last season, the Dirtbags won two of three in the non-counting series and left the Titans a game over .500. Looking back, the Titans consider the win in the third game of that series as the start of their return to form that led them to a national title.

Both teams come into the weekend warm. Fullerton has ascended to the No. 1 spot in all three college baseball polls with a 16-4 record that includes series wins over No.6 Stanford, No.1 Tulane and No.9 Arizona.

The Dirtbags (16-9), ranked 29th in one poll, have won 11 of their last 14 games and also taken series wins against three ranked teams, Arizona State, Baylor and Wichita State.

Fullerton is hitting a robust .355 as a team, led by second baseman Ronald Prettyman (.442), and have hit 26 home runs compared to the Dirtbags' lonely one.

The Dirtbags hope to return third baseman Danny Mocny to the lineup. He's made one appearance since jamming his left shoulder in a loss against Cal. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki remains out while recovering from his broken left hand, but his cast is off and he started taking ground balls last week and light hitting this week.

DIRTBAGS NOTES: Game 2 Friday will match the Dirtbags' Marco Estrada (5-0, 1.94) against Titans left-hander Ryan Schreppel (4-0, 1.86), and Jared Hughes (1-2, 4.34) will start Game 3 Saturday for the Dirtbags against a Titan to be named. Fullerton's Scott Sarver has struggled with a 10.07 ERA in six starts as the No. 3 man in the rotation. ... The Dirtbag bullpen continues to blank opponents. Closer Neil Jamison has allowed one unearned run in 12 appearances and opponents are hitting .132 against him, and Brian Anderson has extended his two-season shutout string to 241/3 innings while foes flail at an .077 average. He's closing in on Rocky Biddle's 331/3 innings school record. The Dirtbags are 13-0 leading after six innings, and the team's season ERA is 2.31. ... Zach Barger is hitting .348 since entering the starting lineup, and Evan Longoria is hitting .327 with a team-high 12 runs scored, six doubles and seven multihit games. ... Last year's series at Blair against the Titans drew 7, 241, the second-highest all-time for the Dirtbags. Fullerton has a 42-39 edge in the series since 1989.

Great OC Register Piece On Brian Anderson

From the Orange County Register (take a look at the article...nice picture of Brian):
Long Beach St. pitcher on learning curve

Experience is paying off for Anderson, who has thrown more than 24 consecutive scoreless innings.

The Orange County Register

LONG BEACH - Brian Anderson wasn't totally doing it with smoke and mirrors a year ago, but he acknowledges there was a kind of blind magic to his pitching.

He achieved success even though his mechanics were off, and he would often just try to muscle the ball past hitters instead of thinking his way through a game.

"I would have it in the back of my head, 'I hope this pitch is a strike,'" he said.

This season, Anderson has figured out the tricks of his trade. The Long Beach State senior enters tonight's three-game series against top-ranked Cal State Fullerton at Blair Field as one of college baseball's most effective setup men.

Anderson, a Laguna Hills High graduate, is on a 241/3 consecutive scoreless innings streak dating to last season. He has allowed just five hits in 201/3 innings this year with and 19 strikeouts.

The bridge to closer Neil Jamison, Anderson helped Long Beach State record series road victories against Top 25 teams Arizona State, Baylor, Wichita State and retired the final nine batters in a victory against Houston this month.

The key to his success?

"It's making a lot more sense now that I've had a lot of experience," Anderson said. "The mechanics part of it is just really coming to me. I've really been able to actually learn how to pitch this year."

Last year, Anderson hurled 21 consecutive scoreless innings to start the year but produced a 12.60 ERA in the final three regular-season series, against UC Riverside, CSF and Miami. There wasn't much intent behind his pitches, and hitters had him figured out.

Still, Anderson turned it around in a remarkable fashion when he got the final five outs at Stanford in the NCAA Regional to send the 49ers to the super regional, then got the final eight outs against Arizona to get his team to the tournament's championship game.

Said Long Beach pitching instructor Troy Buckley about Anderson's growth: "What you're seeing is a kid who's got a lot of experience."

Buckley added, "He has a passion for trying to learn."

Anderson corrected his tendency to swing his front leg open on his follow through for more extension, and the result is better velocity on his fastball, from 83-86 mph to 87-89 this year. He has above-average command on a slider and change-up.

Anderson's late-season heroics last year were not enough to get him selected in the amateur draft. Buckley likens him to Cal State Fullerton third baseman Ronnie Prettyman as a senior who is invaluable to a college baseball team.

Anderson and Jamison, also a senior, have an exact pregame routine. During stretching they lay their gloves down, and Anderson always has his face up with the ball inside. Jamison will not touch his glove until Anderson picks it up and tosses it to him.

It's intended to maintain their focus and has little to do with superstition.

Anderson doesn't pay much attention to his streak, the fifth longest in school history. He is nine innings shy of the school record 331/3 scoreless innings by Rocky Biddle in 1995.

"I need to know I'm going to give up hits, I'm going to give up runs," Anderson said. "I've got to be able to handle it mentally."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Fullerton Series Previews

You'll find series previews from in html here, and as a pdf here. And the Cal. State Fullerton release is here (html). There isn't a pdf release up on the CSF website yet...I'll update this post if and when there is.

It does appear that Fullerton will change starting pitchers in the 3rd game, as Scott Sarver (3-2, 10.07) has been ineffective. Right now Long Beach State has their starter as "to be announced," while Fullerton ain't sayin'. The Beach will stay with Jered Hughes (1-2, 4.34).

Daily 49er Feature On Evan Longoria

From the Long Beach State Daily 49er:
Longoria leads Dirtbags to victory at top of lineup

By Matt Pearson
Sports Editior
Daily Forty-Niner

The leadoff hitter is a spot that requires a leadership role because they have the responsibility for setting the tone for the rest of the offense. Sophomore third baseman Evan Longoria has done just that.

With his solid defense and his ability to get on base, Longoria helped lead the 49er baseball team to wins over Loyola Marymount University, and University of Houston. Against LMU on March 8, Longoria became the first Dirtbag to record five hits in a game since Brad Davis accomplished this feat in February of 2004.

Longoria went 5-5 with three runs scored in the game.

After losing the first game of the series to Houston Friday, Longoria and the Dirtbags came back with two wins to take the series 2-1. On Saturday, he went 3-5 at the plate with an RBI, one run scored, and a stolen base as LBSU won 5-1. In the rubber game on Sunday, Longoria collected two more hits as the Dirtbags prevailed with a 5-4 victory. Longoria recorded a batting average of .611 for the series as LBSU won three games in the four-game home stand.

This level of production is not new for Longoria. He leads the Dirtbags in hits (31), doubles (6) and walks (7). He is also second in runs scored (10), and is tied for second on the team in RBI (11). Longoria also has a .360 batting average for the season.

In his first season at LBSU, Longoria has proven to be an impact player. And looking at his history before putting on a Dirtbag uniform, it should come as a no surprise. As a freshman at Rio Hondo Junior College, Longoria batted .430 and earned All-Foothill and first team All-State honors. He also recorded 64 RBI, nine doubles, three triples and eight home runs with .683 on-base percentage.

Ramos Co-Pitcher of the Week In Big West

On the strength of his shutout win against Wichita State last Friday, Cesar Ramos has been named Big West Conference Co-Pitcher of the Week. Here's the story, and the Big West Conference release in pdf.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Dirtbags Surge In ISR/RPI, Strength of Schedule Now 6th

Long Beach State has jumped from 67th to 27th in Ratings Power Index (RPI), and from 21st to 10th in Iterative Strength Rating (ISR) as calculated and published by BoydsWorld. The Dirtbags Strength of Schedule has risen to 6th most difficult.

The RPI is one of the tools used by the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee to select at-large teams for Regionals, and to seed the field. The ISR is an attempt (a good one, in my opinion) by Boyd Nation, the proprietor of, to correct for bias against teams in the west. That bias, the ISRs and the psuedo-RPIs (Boyd's calculation of the RPI) are explained here. The official NCAA document on the baseball RPI is here (click to download it, it's a Word document...thanks to BoydsWorld for hosting it on their server). The following from the NCAA document describes the basic parameters of the RPI (there are some bonuses and penalties, but they are minor compared with the following):
An institution's RPI ranking consists of three factors that are weighted as follows:

1. Division I Winning Percentage - 25 percent of the RPI.
2. Opponents' Winning Percentage - 50 percent of the RPI.
3. Opponents' Opponents' Winning Percentage - 25 percent of the RPI.
From this you can see that the most important factor in the RPI is not a team's own record, but it's opponents' records. This explains the surge in the Dirtbags RPI, in large part. By taking the series from Wichita State, not only did Long Beach State improve its own winning percentage, but the 49ers benefited from WSU's 19-5 record. And the series win over Baylor continues to pay dividends. Baylor has improved its record to 15-7, and just swept a 3 game series over Texas (previously the #1 ranked team in Division I). Texas is now an "opponents' opponent," so the Dirtbags have the benefit of its 21-4 record. The upcoming series against Fullerton will further burnish the Beach's RPI (and ISR). Fullerton, now the #1 team in the country, is 16-4, #6 in RPI, #1 in ISR, and has the 17th strongest schedule.

Here are the Division I W-L records through March 20 for each of the Dirtbags opponents to date (with number of games against Long Beach State in parenthesis after the team name):
Team                Wins Losses W-L%
Arizona State (3) 16 12 .571
St. Mary's (3) 8 12 .400
USC (2) 13 6 .684
Cal. (3) 16 9 .640
San Diego State (3) 7 17 .292
Pepperdine (1) 14 8 .636
Baylor (3) 15 7 .682
LMU (1) 7 12 .368
Houston (3) 9 12 .429
Wichita State (3) 19 5 .792

Total 124 100 .556
The worst win-loss record in the bunch has been posted by San Diego State. SDSU is likely to help down the road. They play in the weak Mountain West Conference, where they are favored to win the title. They played a brutal non-conference schedule (currently 7th most difficult), given the relative strength of their team. They will end up with a winning record, and their opponents' records will also held the Dirtbags.

Elephants Coming To Town

Let the circus begin! The Cal. State Fullerton Titans come to Blair Field Thursday through Saturday for 3 night games, all beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Thursday should be a jewel of a pitching matchup...for the second week in a row after Cesar Ramos v. Mike Pelfrey at Wichita State. Here's the lines: Cesar Ramos, 3-2. 1.65 ERA. Ricky Romero, 5-1, 1.70 ERA. Cesar has not had much run support. The Fullerton offense is MUCH better than WSU's or Baylor's. Chances are, unless Romero is off, the Dirtbags will need at least 2 or 3 runs to be in a position to win.

Friday it's Marco Estrada (5-0, 1.94) against Ryan Schreppel (4-0, 1.80). Not the marquee headliner that Ramos v. Romero is, but still one of the better matchups you'll find in college baseball. Marco has been a very pleasant surprise. Not that it wasn't known he was good...he had a very good run at Glendale College.

Saturday could be very interesting. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if both teams go with a new No. 3 starter. Fullerton's Scott Sarver (3-2, 10.07) has been very ineffective. Jered Hughes (1-2, 4.34) has been great from the windup. Problem is, he has pitched from the stretch a 29.0 innings he has 14 walks and 9 HBP (and 7 WP). Opponents are hitting only .264 against him, so control is really the issue. When he is good, he's very good...great fastball, great stuff. But he now has 3 bad starts (out of 5) in a row (13 ER in 13.0 innings). If Long Beach State changes, which I wouldn't say is likely - just possible, my bet is they go with either Donnie Hume or Cody Evans. I would actually be surprised if Fullerton stays with Sarver.

Fullerton clearly has the edge in hitting - their batting average as a team is higher than the Dirtbags slugging percentage (.355 batting average, .544 slugging percentage, versus .283 and .338). After the great starting matchups in games 1 and 2, Long Beach has the edge in pitching (staff ERA 2.31 v. 3.88 ) with pretty good depth. This will, in my opinion, not be a sweep. I think it's 2-1 Long Beach, because it's at Blair Field, and because our guys are motivated, and because you all would have a heart attack if I said differently.

Press-Telegram Update

From the Long Beach Press-Telegram this morning:
Dirtbags fail to gain in the polls

Despite winning two of three games at No. 14-ranked Wichita State over the weekend, the Dirtbags are still having a hard time getting a national ranking.

They are ranked No. 30 in Collegiate Baseball, but are not ranked in the top 25 in Baseball America or the ESPN Coaches Poll.

This week's foe is No. 1-ranked Cal State Fullerton. The 49ers and the Titans will play nonconference games Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Blair Field. All three games will begin at 6:30 p.m.

For advance tickets, contact the 49ers Ticket Office at (562) 985-4949.

...LBSU begins a seven-game homestand this weekend, after spending two of the last three weekends on the road. The Dirtbags are 10-5 at home this year.

...Brian Anderson, with a shutout inning on Saturday, ran his scoreless streak to 24 1/3 innings, tying him with Gary Beare (1974) for the fifth-best scoreless streak in school history. His 56 career appearances is ninth-best.

...With Cesar Ramos, coming off a four-hit, complete-game shutout, and Marco Estrada, who gave up one run on six hits over seven innings, winning on back-to-back nights, it was the third straight weekend the duo has done so.

Last year Jered Weaver and Ramos did it 10 times.

...The Dirtbags continue to be without All-America shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who injured his hamate bone in his left hand and has been out of the lineup since the Saint Mary's series in early February.

Tulowitzki, who took grounders last week after getting his cast removed, is expected back in early April.

Third baseman/outfielder Danny Mocny missed his third weekend with a left shoulder injury.

...Ramos has been nominated for National Player of the Week for his efforts against Wichita State.

He outdueled fellow All-American and Team USA teammate Mike Pelfrey in a 1-0 win in the series opener. Ramos pitched his second career shutout and first since last year's shutout at PETCO Park. He struck out two and walked one.

The win brought Ramos within one win of All-American Abe Alvarez for the most wins by a 49ers left-hander (23).

Monday, March 21, 2005

Baseball America's College Weekend Recap On Dirtbags

From the Baseball America College Weekend Recap:
Long Beach State beat Wichita State 1-0 Friday in what might be the best-pitched game of the year. Dirtbags lefthander Cesar Ramos generated 11 ground ball outs and two strikeouts while throwing a four-hit shutout. Ramos hasn't allowed more than two runs over his last five starts, improving to 4-3, 1.65 on the year. Shockers righthander Mike Pelfrey allowed an unearned run in the first inning on a two-base error, a groundout and another error. He finished with 11 strikeouts, no walks and three hits allowed in a complete-game loss.

Speaking of Long Beach State, All-America shortstop Troy Tulowitzki got his cast off last week and fielded grounders for the first time. He still can't swing a bat after breaking the hamate bone in his left hand in early February, but the staff expects him back for the start of conference play in April. Teammate Danny Mocny, a senior outfielder/third baseman, missed his third straight weekend with a shoulder injury.

Ho-Hum....Not Ranked In Sports Weekly/ESPN...Again

Guess the Dirtbags will just have to beat the Titans!

What Gives Baseball America? Here Is Their Answer

From the Baseball America college chat today, here's the Q&A on why the Dirtbags remain unranked:
Q. Jeff from Long Beach asks:
Two weeks ago, after Long Beach State took two or three from Baylor in Waco, you indicated in the chat that the Dirtbags would have been back in your rankings but for the fact they lost two earlier to Southern Cal., which got USC the nod. Since then, the Dirtbags have won 2 of 3 from a decent Houston team, and this weekend won 2 of 3 from Wichita State (which was ranked in 2 of 3 polls - not including Baseball America). Why does Long Beach State remain unranked?

A: Will Kimmey:
The short answer is because there are only 25 spots. We like how the Bags are playing, but comparing them with the other new teams this week: Texas Tech and Mississippi State both beat ranked teams; Southern Cal has a head-to-head edge and Central Florida's 23-4 mark, albeit against a bit less rigorous a schedule, is just more impressive than 16-9 right now, even without an All-American at shortstop. The Beach is in the mix, but it's just a busy mix for the nation's best 30.
I'll say Central Florida's schedule is "a bit less rigorous." According to BoydsWorld, their non-conference schedule ranks as 199th "toughest," while the Dirtbags have the 15th hardest non-conference schedule. Gimme a break!

And what of the fact that two weeks ago Long Beach State took 2 of 3 from Baylor? That wasn't enough to get them into the poll, because USC had beaten the 49ers. Now Baylor sweeps Texas! It makes me wonder whether BA is looking at the whole season, or just one week at a time.

Long Beach State Re-enters Collegiate Baseball Rankings

The Dirtbags are back in the Collegiate Baseball rankings, at 30th.

Baseball America Snubs Dirtbags Again

After the Dirtbags won their series against Baylor (the same Baylor that just swept No. 1 Texas this weekend), here's what Will Kimmey at Baseball America had to say about why Long Beach State remained unranked by that publication:
Q: Jeff from Long Beach asks:
I was surprised that Long Beach State didn't make it back into the rankings after taking 2 of 3 from Baylor, and winning 6 of the last 7. The Dirtbags have started to have more timely hitting lately as injured players (except Troy Tulowitzki, due back April 1) have gotten back in there. And their team ERA stands at 2.25. How close are they to breaking back in to the top 25?

A: Will Kimmey:
The Bags are really close. Sweeping a ranked team on the road is a big deal. They could have crept back in if not for the fact that No. 25 Southern California beat LBSU two straight times this year and all of USC's four losses are to Stanford, A&M and Rice.
Well, the Dirtbags are still unranked by Baseball America, even though they have, since taking the Baylor series on the road, won the series against Houston at home, and Wichita State on the road. Both of these teams are strong, with Wichita State ranked in 2 of the 3 major rankings. Since the 5 game losing streak, the 49ers have won 11 of 14. What give, BA?

Dirtbags Take Series From Wichita State

Here's the links:
Friday's game.

Saturday - Dirtbags 5, Shockers 2:
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Daily Breeze
Wichita State website
The Wichita Eagle
Box Score

Sunday - Shockers 7, Dirtbags 0:
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Wichita State website
The Wichita Eagle
Box Score
...Marco Estrada is turning out to be one heck of a find after transferring from Glendale Community College. After the win Saturday, he sits at 5-0, with a 1.94 ERA.

...The Dirtbags now have 4 pitchers under 2.00 in ERA...most importantly it's the Friday and Saturday starters, and setup and closer. Here's their records:

Cesar Ramos, 4-3, 1.65 ERA, opponents batting .228
Marco Estrada, 5-0, 1.94 ERA, opponents batting .224
Brian Anderson, 2-0, 1 save, 0.00 ERA, opponents batting .077
Neil Jamison, 2-0, 7 saves, 0.00 ERA, opponents batting .132

Just for grins, here's their combined stats: 13-3, 8 saves, 1.36 ERA. And they have pitched 62% of the innings pitched by the staff (132.2 of 214).

...Brian Anderson took a line drive off his right forearm, according to the Wichita State radio guys. He stayed in to finish the 8th inning on Saturday, so hopefully he's fine.

...I wish would work on improving the quality of the internet stream. I listened to the games on the Wichita State website. The stream quality (using Real Audio) was excellent, as were their announcers. The Dirtbags have a great announcer in Rod Buska, but sound quality over the 'net has left a lot to be desired.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Ramos Out Duels Pelfrey 1-0

Here's the links:
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Wichita State webpage
The Wichita Eagle
Box Score
How do you win without run support? Cesar Ramos had the answer Friday night...shutout the other side. The only run in the game scored in the 1st inning, when Evan Longoria lead off and reached second base on the throwing error by Wichita State third baseman Brandon Hall. He later scored on another error by ss Nick McCoola.

It was the 1st time Wichita State has been shutout in 96 games, dating back to 2003.

Both pitchers were brilliant. The Shocker's preseason 1st team All-American Mike Pelfrey struck out 11 and walked none, allowing only 3 hits. Cesar, the Dirtbags own 1st team All-American, threw 108 pitches for 11 ground ball outs and 2 strike outs. He allowed only 4 hits. Cesar's ERA has dropped to 1.65, and his record has improved to 4-3.

This from the Wichita Eagle article:
[Mike] Weathers' knows about tough-luck defeats for his ace, who already has three losses despite having a 1.64 ERA for the 49ers (15-8).

"When you play Friday night games, you're going to face a team's best," Weathers said. "When you've got guys pitching like that tonight, it's going to take a break here or there to win."
One more note - Chuck Sindlinger had 2 of the Beach's 3 hits off Mike Pelfrey.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Now This Is Unusual

No Dirtbag connection on this one. But here's something you don't see every day. Creighton University has a switch pitcher. Freshman Pat Venditte is listed as both a right handed pitcher and a left handed pitcher. His bio on the Creighton site says he "[t]allied a record of 5-4 his [high school] senior season, pitching both left and right-handed"

Hat tip to poster haysdb on the ShockerNet board.

29.2 Innings....4-0....7 Saves....8 Hits Allowed....0.00 ERA....Opponents Batting Average, .084

Those are the combined stats for Neil Jamison and Brian Anderson. Bob Keisser writes them up in the Long Beach Press-Telegram today:
Oh, what a relief they are

Anderson, Jamison have combined to form imposing bullpen duo for LBSU.

By Bob Keisser
Staff writer

Some baseball fans are renowned for leaving games early, but anyone leaving Dirtbag games early in 2005 risks missing the best part of the game.

The last two-to-three innings of games have become the domain of Long Beach State's suffocating 1-2 bullpen punch of Brian Anderson and Neil Jamison. Heading into a three-game series at Wichita State starting tonight, Anderson and Jamison have become the Beach version of the Dodgers' 2004 tag team of Guillermo Mota and Eric Gagne.

They wear jersey numbers 48 and 10, respectively, but the common number for both is 0.00.

The closer, Jamison, has saved six games and won twice in his 11 appearances this season covering 101/3 innings, allowing four hits, a walk, one unearned run and limiting opponents to a .118 batting average.

The setup man, Anderson, has been even better. He's pitched 191/3 scoreless innings in 14 games with two wins and a save while allowing four hits and striking out 19. Opponents are hitting .066 against him.

Anderson now has a scoreless-inning streak of 231/3 innings going back to last season, and it's the second time in his Dirtbag career that he's thrown 23-plus innings without allowing a run.

"We have the luxury of two guys we can trust to shorten the game up," said Dirtbags pitching coach Troy Buckley. "They're well-established veteran kids. It's a real confident feeling."

The Dirtbags have had great closers before all-time saves leader Gabe Gonzalez, Ryan Brannan, Ara Petrosian and Josh Alliston all won Big West honors but having two makes for shorter games. The Dirtbags (14-8) are 11-0 in games they led after six innings this season.

Their paths to this point are different, but both young men exemplify the way college baseball can develop a youngster into a Division I star and major league prospect.

Jamison began contributing to the Dirtbags as a freshman, throwing 30 innings and posting a 2.70 ERA to earn an honorable on Collegiate Baseball's freshman All-America team. He became the closer last season, posting 12 saves, and was an eighth-round selection by the Mets in the 2004 draft.

Jamison decided to return to school for his senior season for a variety of reasons his family's emphasis on getting an education, his love for college life and college baseball, and the chance to work an other year for head coach Mike Weathers and pitching guru Buckley.

There's also unfinished business. In Game 1 of the NCAA Super Regional against Arizona last season at Blair Field, Jamison had an uncharacteristic performance, allowing two hits and two walks in a third of an inning. In Game 3, he allowed just a walk in 22/3 innings of relief but was victimized by an error that cost the Dirtbags the game, series and season.

"I still think about it," he said after a recent game. "If we get that (Game 1) win we probably go to Omaha. I'll probably think about it a long time. All I can do now is learn from it."

Buckley told Jamison that coming back for vengeance shouldn't be part of his decision-making process. "But he's that type of kid," Buckley said. "He hates to lose and he felt he let the team down.

"But he made his decision for all of the right reasons. His family is very educational oriented (Jamison's father is a teacher) and that's been instilled in him. Plus, he loves college, and he did his homework and figured out (the Mets) weren't the right fit.

"He's really one of the most mature guys around college baseball."

Jamison discussed his decision with his parents, but they told him the decision was his to make and that whatever decision he made would be the right one.

The career of Anderson, a three-sport star at Laguna Hills High School, began slower. He made just 14 appearances in his first two seasons before starting 2004 with 14 straight scoreless appearances. He retired the last five outs in the NCAA regional-clinching win against Stanford last season, and the last eight outs in the Game 2 super regional win against Arizona.

Anderson's improvement has come thanks to improved mechanics that has made him look like a power pitcher even though his fastball tops out in the high 80s.

"I have my best velocity when I stay over the ball and it also makes me more consistent, more even-keel with my stuff," Anderson said. "Credit goes to coach Buckley. He's kept working on my mechanics and it's finally clicking."

Anderson wasn't recruited out of high school, Buckley remembering him as "a great athlete with a bad delivery," he said. "But he was a great kid who wanted to learn. We didn't even get him until the summer after his graduation.

"It's a great testament to a kid who pitched three innings as a freshman, someone who stayed with it and wanted to improve."

Baseball America On Dirtbags-Shockers Series

From Baseball America's College Weekend Preview:

With plenty of other conferences beginning league play this weekend, let's all be glad the Big West and Missouri Valley have yet to do so. Otherwise, we'd miss out on Long Beach State (14-8) at Wichita State (18-3), and Friday's game offers an All-America pitching matchup between Dirtbags lefty Cesar Ramos and Shockers righty Mike Pelfrey.

The records of the two teams might be a tad misleading. Consider that Long Beach State has faced a much more difficult schedule thus far and is 4-2 against ranked teams while Wichita State has enjoyed an easier slate and posted a 1-2 mark against the Top 25 and things look a bit different.
Hey, Baseball America, remember the last point come Top 25 time Monday! But first, the Dirtbags need to "Git 'er Done" this weekend (nod to Houston Bob).

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Former Dirtbag Steve Trachsel To Have Surgery

From the Long Beach Press-Telegram:
New York Mets pitcher and former Long Beach State star Steve Trachsel will have surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back and is likely to miss a major portion of the season.

Trachsel will be operated on in Los Angeles by Dr. Robert Watkins.
Steve played for the the Dirtbags one season, 1991, the year of Long Beach State's 2nd trip to the College World Series. The team finished 44-20, and went 1-2 in Omaha. Steve holds the all-time 49er single season record in innings pitched, hurling 148.2 innings. He's also 5th all-time in strikeouts for the Beach at 139, and was selected 2nd team All-American by Baseball America, and 2nd team All-Conference.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Next Up: Wichita State Shockers

Here's a snapshot:

Current record - 16-3. Their losses have been at the hands of Louisiana-Lafayette, UC Irvine and Southern Cal. Significant wins (with current RPI in parenthesis) have come (single games) against UC Davis (91), Hawaii (25), Texas Tech (39), and three wins against Northwestern State (30). Five of their wins were against Hawaii-Hilo, with its #223 RPI, and three against Southern Utah, with a #227 RPI.

This season preview gives a good overview on the team.

#14 in Collegiate Baseball.
#21 in NCBWA.
#22 in Sports Weekly/ESPN.
Not ranked in Baseball America.
#12 in Iterative Strength Rating (ISR) - (BoydsWorld).
#29 in Ratings Power Index (RPI) - (BoydsWorld).

Starting pitching:
Friday: RHP Mike Pelfrey, 3-1, 2.25 ERA, and preseason 1st team All-American.
Saturday: RHP Jereme Foster, 2-0, 4.78 ERA. Opponents are batting .294 against him.
Sunday: RHP Travis Banwart, 1-0, 1.65 ERA.

The staff ERA is 3.36. Nine saves are spread around 4 pitchers. Nine pitchers have ERAs of 2.25 or better, 5 of whom have 8.2 innings or more.

The Shockers currently have a .305 batting average, with a .395 slugging percentage. They're fielding at a .972 clip.

Given the fact that half of their wins (8 of 16) have come against Division I bottom dwellers Hawaii-Hilo and Southern Utah, it's difficult to gauge just how good Wichita State is from either its record, or it's hitting and pitching stats. In those 8 games, they held opponents to 22 runs (2.75 per game). But Hawaii-Hilo scored a total of 14 runs in just two losses. So in the other 6 wins, they help opponents to 8 runs (1.33 per game). On the offensive side, the Shockers scored 72 runs in the 8 games (9.0 runs per game). This represents 1 run shy of 50% of the total number of runs they have scored on the season (145). Another 13 of those runs were against McNeese State (133rd in RPI) yesterday.

Here is the weekly release in html and pdf.

When it comes to RPI, so important to making the Regional field, Wichita State is great to have on the schedule. Their RPI is already high, and is likely to go even higher. They play in the Missouri Valley Conference, where they really have no competition in baseball. Last season they went 49-16, including a 28-4 mark in the MVC. They lost to Arkansas in the Fayetteville Regional last year. Winning this series, on the road, would be big.

Update: March 17, 2005: As poster Anthony points out on ShockerNet, it's a bit extreme to say Wichita State has no competition in the MVC. He says Southwest Missouri State has a good program that went to Omaha 2 years ago. Last season they were 31-28 overall, and 19-12 in the MVC.

Nice Feature On Evan Longoria

From the Daily Breeze:
Longoria seems to be getting along famously at shortstop

His play leaves no reason for Long Beach State baseball team to be desperate.

By Chris Jackson
Daily Breeze

Evan Longoria's life was no different from any other college athlete's prior to this fall.

Then someone with the same last name just had to go and become a breakout TV star.

"Actually, it never really started until I got here, but then again, the show just started," Longoria said, referring to the series "Desperate Housewives" and one of its stars, Eva Longoria.

For the record, the actress and the sophomore shortstop are not related, but that hasn't stopped opposing fans from giving Longoria an earful.

"We hear it enough from the fans when we go away," Longoria said. "They were on me bad, they were on all of us, in Waco (Texas). But it was a good place to play, a good experience."

Longoria can dismiss the Eva comments with a laugh, since he has slightly more important things to worry about.

First and foremost is the fact he's been asked to replace a preseason All-American in the lineup for the 49ers (14-8).

Longoria, a transfer from Rio Hondo College, was initially asked to split time between third base and designated hitter.

But on Feb. 5, Longoria was forced to go back to his old position when Troy Tulowitzki fouled a pitch off his left wrist, breaking his hamate bone and sidelining him for 8-to-10 weeks.

"Of course there's the pressure that comes with that," Longoria said. "I've been able to kind of just go with it and see where it's taking me. It's been pretty good, I've been pretty comfortable."

It hasn't been easy, though.

Longoria went 5-for-13 in Long Beach's opening series at Arizona State on Jan. 28-30, but the 49ers stumbled after that and were swept at home in a three-game series against California Feb. 18-20 to drop to 5-6.

Long Beach rebounded against San Diego State Feb. 25-27, sweeping the three-game set at Blair Field, but Longoria went just 1-for-11 to drop his season average to .250.

"Coming in, he probably thought he was going to play third, especially with Tulo," 49ers senior closer Neil Jamison said earlier this season. "Moving in (to shortstop), he probably thinks he has to fill those shoes a bit. Which is tough because you're not going to fill Tulo's shoes. So I think he needs to stay within himself and do what he does, and not worry about trying to be Troy."

Long Beach coach Mike Weathers benched Longoria for a midweek game against Pepperdine on March 1, though Longoria came off the bench and smacked a hard single in his only at-bat.

"He was going through a tough time," Weathers said. "That's why we started (Donnie) Ecker a couple games. (But) Evan had a really good week of practice and it carried over to his base hit. He's a talented guy. He needs to be in our lineup. He just has to figure out a way to get it done all the time."

After going 1-for-3 in the opener of a three-game series at Baylor on March 4, Weathers decided to move Longoria to the leadoff spot.

And that's when it seemed to click. Longoria went 4-for-5 on March 6, and he's been on a tear ever since.

He posted a 5-for-5 night against Loyola Marymount on March 8, equaling the Lions' team total for hits. Longoria followed that by going 6-for-13 against Houston this past weekend as the 49ers won two of three.

"I'm just taking it one pitch at a time like we've always talked about and just seeing it a lot better," Longoria said.

Longoria now leads the 49ers with a .360 average (31-for-86), 10 runs and six doubles. He's also second on the team with 11 RBIs.

The 49ers have enjoyed a similar rebound with Longoria, winning nine of their last 11 games going into this weekend's series at perennial national power Wichita State (16-3).

"Hopefully we're starting to settle in," Longoria said. "We're still not playing the game we're capable of with errors and (defense), but we're settling down."

Longoria said improving his own defense has become his focus now that his hitting is back on track.

"I'm kind of feeling uncomfortable, but I'm working through it," Longoria said of his play at shortstop, where he has four errors this season. "I'm hitting (well), so that's keeping me comfortable overall."

Longoria said he's been able to separate his ability to focus on his hitting and his defense this season better than in the past.

"I've been able to do that really well lately," Longoria said. "But I think over time you've got to separate that (permanently)."

Longoria and the 49ers will return home to Blair Field on March 24 for a three-game, nonconference series with rival Cal State Fullerton.

Dirtbags Dropped From NCBWA Poll

After a 3-1 week, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association has dropped Long Beach State from it's rankings. The Dirtbags were tied for 35th last week.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

NCBWA Ranking

I missed it last week, but the Dirtbags were ranked 35th in the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association poll. When it comes out this week, I'll up this ranking.

Observations On The Houston Series

A little late, but a few comments on the Houston series:

...Brian Anderson (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 save) is the real deal! Given the difficulty the Dirtbags have had scoring runs, keeping any more Cougar runners from crossing home plate over the final 3 innings on Sunday (to maintain a 1 run deficit) was essential. Brian, coming on in the 7th, allowed a lead single. With 1 out (to my recollection), a throwing error by catcher Chris Jones put the runner at 3rd. Brian retired the side on an infield popup, and a fly ball to the outfield. Following that lead single, he retired every other batter he faced. In 19.1 innings, he's yet to allow a run.

...The Brian Anderson, Neil Jamison, (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 saves) bullpen tandem had a total of 5.1 innings over the weekend, and the only baserunner allowed was the lead single discussed above.

...It's an old cliche, but Cesar Ramos (3-3, 1.97 ERA) should sue for non-support. Over his last 5 starts, the Beach has scored a total of 12 runs...or 2.4 runs per game. During that stretch, Cesar has gone 1-3...and would have gone 1-4 had the Dirtbags not come back with 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th against San Diego State to win 2-1 (Brian Anderson, who pitched the 9th in relief of Cesar, got the win).

...Evan Longoria had a hot weekend at bat, going 6 for 13, including a double.

...I'm still wondering why Houston coach Rayner Noble left starter Brad Lincoln in the game on Sunday after the first Dirtbag hit in the 9th. The hit by Tom Wolf, and the one that followed by Zach Barger (who went 3 for 4, including a double), were hard hit line drives. In the 8th, the 49ers had begun to hit the ball harder off Lincoln. A fresh arm might well have preserved the victory for the Cougars.

...The ball hit by Cole Jacobsen to drive in 2 for the win in the 9th on Sunday appeared to be a clean hit to short left field. Houston leftfielder Kori Williams made a diving attempt to catch it on a full run coming in. I thought he might have made the play until I saw the ball scoot by and roll to deep left for a bases clearing triple. Earlier in the game, Williams made a tough chance on a line drive to the warning track in the left field corner look easy as he made the play.

...In my opinion, Jered Hughes needs to speed his delivery to the plate, especially against good running teams like Houston. They ran at will on him, stealing 3 bases.

Still Unranked, Dirtbags Continue Surge In RPI & ISR

After winning 3 of 4 games last week (and 9 of 11 since the 5 game losing streak), the Dirtbags continue to move forward in Iterative Strength Rating (ISR) and Ratings Power Index (RPI). Long Beach State is now 21st in ISR (from 32nd last week, and 38th 2 weeks ago), and 67th in RPI (93rd last week, and 117th 2 weeks ago). The ISR and RPI are explained here. Thanks to BoydsWorld for producing and publishing these ratings.

Nothwithstanding the 9 of 11 run, including a series victory over now 16th ranked Baylor (Baseball America) on the road weekend before last, the Dirtbags remain unranked by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and ESPN/Sports Weekly (the coach's poll). The baseball writer's (NCBWA) poll is not out yet for this week.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Dirtbags Take Series From Houston Cougars

Here are the links:
Friday - L 1-2: Story
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Daily Breeze
University of Houston Website
Box Score

Saturday - W 5-1: Story
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Daily Breeze
University of Houston Website
Box Score

Sunday - W 5-4: Story
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Daily Breeze
University of Houston Website
Box Score
More later.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

I'll Be Back!

I'm on a little blogging hiatus....I'll be back to posting on Monday.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Dirtbags Move Up In RPI and ISR

Long Beach State baseball moved from 38th to 32nd in Iterative Strength Rating (ISR), and from 117th to 93rd in Ratings Power Index (RPI) as calculated and published at, based upon the Dirtbags defeat of Pepperdine in a midweek game last week, and their road series win (2 of 3) over then Baseball America ranked number 14 Baylor. The ISR and RPI are explained here.

Monday, March 07, 2005

The Good Word In Baseball America's Weekend Recap

Here's what Will Kimmey had to say about the Beach in his Baseball America College Weekend Recap today:
Long Beach State is back on the rise after taking a weekend series at Baylor. It's no surprise pitching leads the way. Junior lefthander Cesar Ramos allowed two unearned runs over seven innings Friday for a win. He has yielded only one earned run over his last three starts, covering 21 innings, to improve to 3-2, 1.89.

The law firm of Anderson and Jamison sued for an injunction against opposing offenses in the final two innings of Dirtbags games. Setup man Brian Anderson has yet to allow a run in 12 appearances this season, while closer Neil Jamison is 2-0 with five saves in nine scoreless appearances. The two senior righthanders worked seven innings and notched three saves last week as Long Beach State went 3-1 to improve to 11-7 overall.

I Guess He's No Scott Boras Fan

This from Tom Hoffarth's Sunday Punch in the L.A. Daily News:


Congrats to the super agent for failing to get Jered Weaver signed with the Angels, pushing his pro career back at least another year. Which team is crazy enough to re-draft him knowing it's an impossible negotiation?


Prior to the San Diego State series, the Dirtbags were 22nd in the ESPN/Sports Weekly poll. They swept the Aztecs, and ended up falling 3 slots to 25th in the poll. During the last week, they have won 1 against Pepperdine, and taken 2 of 3 from Baylor (on the road). So what happens? They fall out of the poll altogether! As Ricky Ricardo would say, splain that one to me!

Will Kimmey On Dirtbags In The Ranking

Why aren't the Dirtbags ranked by Baseball America this week? BA's Will Kimmey tells us:
Q: Jeff from Long Beach asks:
I was surprised that Long Beach State didn't make it back into the rankings after taking 2 of 3 from Baylor, and winning 6 of the last 7. The Dirtbags have started to have more timely hitting lately as injured players (except Troy Tulowitzki, due back April 1) have gotten back in there. And their team ERA stands at 2.25. How close are they to breaking back in to the top 25?

A: Will Kimmey:
The Bags are really close. Sweeping a ranked team on the road is a big deal. They could have crept back in if not for the fact that No. 25 Southern California beat LBSU two straight times this year and all of USC's four losses are to Stanford, A&M and Rice.
This make sense to me, together with the fact that the teams at the bottom end of the BA top 25 (except for USC) all had winning records on the week. And USC was 2-2. This week, no team dropped out of the BA rankings. (Though it would have been nice, Kimmey mis-states that Long Beach State swept the series).

I'm 0 for 2....Dirtbags Remain Unranked By Baseball America

So, I thought taking a series on the road against the No. 14 ranked team, and winning 6 of the last 7, would get some respect. Apparently, I was wrong. In addition to being snubbed by Collegiate Baseball (top 30), Long Beach State remains unranked by Baseball America. In the BA rankings, Baylor dropped from 14th to 19th.

Baylor Dropped From Collegiate Baseball Ranking, Dirtbags Remain Unranked

Despite a 3-1 week, including a series win at Baylor, Long Beach State remains unranked in the Collegiate Baseball rankings. Baylor has dropped out of the CB poll.

Huge Series Win Over Baylor At Waco

For a team that has had it's struggles this season, the series win over the No. 14 ranked (Baseball America) Baylor Bears was simply huge. First, the links:
Friday: Story
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Baylor Website
Box Score

Saturday: Story
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Baylor Website
Box Score

Sunday: Story
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Baylor Website
Box Score
I spent Friday through Sunday at the Davis Cup tie in Carson, so I didn't get much on the Baylor series over the weekend besides the scores. I'll leave it to a few observations...

...One remarkable stat: The Dirtbags are 5-0 against southpaw starters this season. Baylor's starters Friday and Saturday were lefthanded, while the Sunday starter was RHP Mark McCormack.

...It was great to see Sean Boatright and Evan Longoria pound 4 hits each on Saturday, and Brandon Godfrey record 2 hits on Sunday as McCormack mostly shut down the Beach offense.

...The Brian Anderson, Neil Jamison, 1-2 punch just keeps getting it done. Between them, they pitched 4.1 innings of no hit ball to end the games on Friday and Saturday. Neil recorded 2 saves (5 on the season), and neither has allowed an earned run on the season.

...It looks like Cesar Ramos is getting into a groove, after a couple of shakey starts in February.

...The Saturday win was the 7th straight by the Dirtbags over the Baylor Bears. Sunday's loss snapped that string, but Long Beach State now holds an all time record of 9-3 against Baylor.

...This series win, coming on the heals of the sweep of SDSU and the win over Pepperdine, should land the Beach back in the top 25 rankings.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Angels and Weaver - Another View

Rob at 6-4-2 Angels/Dodgers Double Play Blog, is of the opinion that the breakdown in the talks between the Angels, and Jered Weaver, may be for real...rather than a negotiating ploy.

Dirtbags Head To Waco For Showdown With Baylor

How's my Texas lingo, Houston Bob? Don't answer that!

This weekend, with the exception of the opening series with ASU, begins the "strong" portion of the Dirtbags non-conference schedule. Opponents the next 4 weekends (with current Baseball America ranking) are: Baylor - at Waco, Texas (14th), Houston at Blair Field (not ranked, but 56th in ISR, and 62nd in RPI), Wichita State in Kansas (not ranked in Baseball America, but 15th in Collegiate Baseball), and the non-conference series against Cal. State Fullerton at Blair Field (4th, and the defending National Champions). These games present an excellent opportunity for the Dirtbags to move back into, and up in, the rankings....and the ever important RPIs.

First up, Baylor. The starting pitching for Baylor, in order, is likely to be:

Friday: LHP Trey Taylor (2-1, 1.42)
Saturday: LHP Cory VanAllen (2-1. 3.63)
Sunday: RHP Mark McCormick (0-1, 6.75)

Don't let junior Mark McCormick's ERA fool you. This is a quality pitcher. He's listed by Baseball America as the 2004 Cape Cod League No. 6 Prospect and a 2004 Preseason Third-Team All-America, and throws a mid to high 90s fastball.

Baylor's team ERA is 3.77. Their closer, Abe Woody, has 4 saves, an ERA of 2.25, and opponents are hitting just .138 against him. In fact, the pitching staff has held opponents to a .244 batting average. On the flip side, the Bears are light hitting at .274. They do have a .385 slugging percentage, most of which comes from infielder Kyle Reynolds who is hitting .400 with an .800 slugging percentage (he has 4 of the teams 6 HRs). They field decently at .970.

This pencils as a relatively low scoring series, especially if the Dirtbags can keep Reynolds from hurting them. It is starting to sound like a broken record, but sure fielding and timely hitting will be needed to have a shot at winning this series.