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]

Tulowitzki, Ramos And Jamison Are 1st Team All-Conference


Rankings Update

Eric Sorenson: Dirtbags Have Toughest Regional

Back From The Brink: Jered Weaver Signs With Angels's Saturday Update Of It's Regional Projections

Bob Keisser Thinks Dirtbags Will Host...

Troy Tulowitzki Featured In San Jose Mercury News

New Regional Projections From

Cesar Ramos Is Clemens Award Semi-Finalist

Regional Hosting: Long Beach State versus USC

Long Beach Hosting Prospects Update...

Arizona Definitely Out As Regional Site

Beach Falls To 17th In RPI On Loss To USC

Neil Jamison Named 1st Team All-American By Sports Weekly

Dirtbags May Have Inside Track To Hosting Regional

Final Game At USC This Evening's May 24 Regional Projections

Josh Buhagiar Called Up

Baseball America Scouting Reports On Draft Eligible Dirtbags

Boyd Nation Sees Beach As #1 Seed On The Road

Dirtbags Crack Top 16 In RPI

Dirtbag Infiltrates Behind Titan Enemy Lines

Dirtbags Lose Series At Fullerton

Dirtbags 11th in Baseball America Rankings

Dirtbags Still ERA Leader

Beach Falls To 15th In Collegiate Baseball Rankings

Donnie Hume Is Featured...

Another Preview

Dirtbags v. Titans...CSF's Release...

Tulo Featured In Baseball America's College Weekend Preview

Steve Velazco Is Featured...

Mike Weathers On The 2005 Dirtbags's Weekly Release Is Out

Cesar Ramos Featured On NCAA Site

I Think I'll Just Let This One Speak For Itself.....

NCAA Leader Board

Oregon State Regional Host Update

Reaching For My Big West Conference Crystal Ball

Dirtbags Featured In Baseball America Weekend Recap

Draft Report On Troy Tulowitzki With Audio Interview

Scott Boras On Jered Weaver's Status

Todd Jennings Goes 5 for 5 In San Jose Giants Win

Cesar Ramos Is Big West Pitcher of the Week....Again!

The Beach Moves To 14th In Sports Weekly/ESPN Poll

Baseball America's Tracking The Top 25

Judge For Yourself...

Dirtbags' RPI Now #19

Will Kimmey's Comments On The Dirtbags Regional Hosting Prospects

Hmmm..That's Odd...

Neil Jamison Featured In Hometown Paper

Beach Back In Baseball America's Top 10


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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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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Tulowitzki, Ramos And Jamison Are 1st Team All-Conference

The 2005 All-Conference Awards are out for the Big West Conference. The release is here [pdf]. The story is here. Eight Dirtbags have been honored.

1st Team All-Conference:
Troy Tulowitzki, shortstop.
Cesar Ramos, starting pitcher.
Neil Jamison, relief pitcher.

2nd Team All-Conference:
Evan Longoria, third base.
Sean Boatright, outfield.
Jered Hughes, starting pitcher.

Honorable Mention:
Marco Estrada, starting pitcher.
Brian Anderson, relief pitcher.


That's Rich Lederer's (The Baseball Analysts) take on the Jered Weaver signing. Rich has posted extensively on Jered.

Rankings Update

The Dirtbags fell from 11th to 12th in the final regular season Baseball America rankings, and held at 15th in Collegiate Baseball and 16th in Sports Weekly/ESPN.

The Beach's Strength of Schedule (SOS) is now 3rd best in NCAA Division I baseball, their Iterative Strength Rating fell from 6th to 7th, and their RPI held at 17th. (All of these stats are courtesy Boyd'

Eric Sorenson: Dirtbags Have Toughest Regional

This from Eric Sorenson at
Toughest Regional: Long Beach

If you go purely by Boyd Nation's traditionally close RPI rankings, the Beach get no breaks in having No. 16 RPI'd USC and No. 34 RPI'd Pepperdine joining them at Blair Field. SC brings in one of the nation's top aces in Ian Kennedy and top slugger in Jeff Clement. Pepperdine brings in its no-fear attitude that nearly carried it to a regional upset over eventual national champion Cal State Fullerton last year.

Back From The Brink: Jered Weaver Signs With Angels

From the Long Beach Press-Telegram:
The Angels and heralded draft pick Jered Weaver ended a year of acrimonious negotiations in stunning fashion Monday night when the Long Beach State All-American lowered his asking price at the 11th hour and agreed to terms on minor-league contract with a signing bonus for a club-record $4 million...

Weaver and the Angels reached an accord, pending a physical, just an hour before the 9 p.m. deadline for the club to sign him or lose his rights...
Here's stories in other papers:
Steve Bisheff in the Orange County Register
Baseball America
Los Angeles Times

Saturday, May 28, 2005's Saturday Update Of It's Regional Projections

Here's's Saturday update of their Regional Projections, including games from yesterday. The full projected bracket is here. Here are their projections for Regionals in the far west:

Long Beach Regional
Host: Long Beach State
1. Long Beach State
4. Central Michigan *

2. Arizona State
3. Oklahoma

Bracketed with:

Corvallis Regional
Host: Oregon State {8}
1. Oregon State *
4. BYU *

2. Pepperdine
3. Cal Poly


Fullerton Regional
Host: Cal State Fullerton {2}
1. Cal State Fullerton **
4. Harvard **

2. Stanford
3. Loyola Maramount *

Bracketed with:

Coral Gables Regional
Host: Miami
1. Miami
4. Maine *

2. Alabama
3. Florida Atlantic *

And though not in the west, but including the Arizona Wildcats:

Houston Regional
Host: Rice
1. Arizona
4. Oral Roberts *

2. Rice **
3. Louisiana-Lafayette

Bracketed with:

New Orleans Regional
Host: Tulane {1}
1. Tulane *
4. Southern **

2. Mississippi State
3. South Alabama *

They are also showing the Univ. of Southern California as a #2 seed at a Baton Rouge Regional hosted by LSU.

* Probable automatic bid.
** Clinched automatic bid.

Bob Keisser Thinks Dirtbags Will Host... his comments here.

Troy Tulowitzki Featured In San Jose Mercury News

From the Mercury News:
This time, shortstop will enjoy draft day


By Darren Sabedra

Mercury News

Troy Tulowitzki remembers the last time he was eligible for the baseball draft. He waited and waited, but no one called.

There will be no such letdown this time.

Tulowitzki, a former Fremont High standout who has become a blue-chip shortstop at Long Beach State, could be one of the top five picks in the baseball draft next month. projected him to go third, to Seattle.

"He has endless potential,'' said A's shortstop Bobby Crosby, a former Long Beach State star who talks with Tulowitzki several times a month. "He's the same type of guy I was in college. He came into Long Beach a little raw, but you could tell he had a great work ethic.''

Tulowitzki arrived at Long Beach State in 2002, one year after the A's drafted Crosby in the first round, and he soon began drawing comparisons to his predecessor.

"Troy as a junior is a little stronger than Bobby was, physically,'' Long Beach Coach Mike Weathers said. "But other than that, they're very, very similar -- their range, their arm strength, their fielding, their passion for the game, their knowledge of how to play.''

As a freshman in 2003, Tulowitzki led Long Beach with 44 RBIs. As a sophomore, he drove in 44 runs and was named to the Big West's first team. This season, he has a team-leading seven home runs, plus 25 RBIs, though he was sidelined for 20 games because of a broken hand.

The injury occurred two weeks into the season and required surgery. Naturally, Tulowitzki wondered if he had crushed his draft chances.

But by then, he was already a belt-high fastball on everyone's radar.

Long Beach State began its season a week earlier than most teams, at tradition-rich Arizona State. With a large gathering of pro scouts looking on, Tulowitzki went 7 for 14 in the three-game series.

"Everybody flooded into Tempe, and Troy just went off,'' Weathers said. "He had a great weekend and set the tone for his draft year.''

Since his return from injury 30 games ago, Tulowitzki, who is 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, is hitting .328 and has a .603 slugging percentage.

"Every once in a while I'll get some shooting pains through there, and my fingers are a little numb still,'' he said. "But it doesn't affect me batting or in the field.''

Few things have affected Tulowitzki. A standout pitcher at Fremont High, he didn't allow arm trouble his senior year to derail his future. He simply spent more time playing infield and hitting.

When he flew under the draft radar out of high school, in part because he played for a low-profile program, he turned his attention to college.

"For not getting drafted, he probably had about eight to 10 colleges that wanted him,'' recalled his dad, Ken. "I've always thought, and a lot of parents probably think this about their own child, but I've always thought he's been one of the better ones on his team.''

Weathers calls it a fluke that Tulowitzki did not get drafted three years ago.

Tulowitzki took over Long Beach State's shortstop role full-time five weeks into his freshman season, bumping Tim Hutting (now in the Giants system) to second base.

"He's been a good one, boy, and he's going to be a very, very good professional,'' Weathers said.

Tulowitzki played two sports in high school, leading Fremont's basketball team to the Northern California semifinals his senior season. After that run, he rejoined the baseball team and took his customary spot atop the mound. But he tried to do too much, too soon.

"I just started throwing my hardest, and that's when I got hurt,'' said Tulowitzki, who was 15-1 as a junior. "Right then, I said, 'I don't want to mess with this.' ''

It worked out in the end. Tulowitzki signed with Long Beach State, which wanted him as an infielder, and has become friends with the player who knows exactly what he is going through.

Crosby met Tulowitzki while working out at Long Beach State.

"He's a good kid, and I like the way he goes about his business,'' Crosby said. "He's not cocky. He's confident in himself, and he knows his capabilities.''

Tulowitzki describes Crosby as an "awesome mentor,'' noting that last year's American League rookie of the year has told him what to expect in the minor leagues.

"The first thing he said is that being a high draft pick, you're going to get ragged on a little bit by some of the older guys,'' Tulowitzki said. "They'll call you 'Franchise' and 'Bonus Baby' because you have the money. But he says the best thing to do is go along with it.''

Tulowitzki will find out for himself this summer. First, though, he hopes to lead Long Beach State to its fifth College World Series title.

"The most important thing for me right now is to stick with my teammates and go as far as we can go,'' he said.

Friday, May 27, 2005

New Regional Projections From has updated their Regional Projections (i.e., guess) today, including games from yesterday. The full projected bracket is here. Here are their projections for Regionals in the far west:

Long Beach Regional
Host: Long Beach State
1. Long Beach State
4. UNLV *

2. Arizona State
3. Oklahoma

Bracketed with:

Corvallis Regional
Host: Oregon State {8}
1. Oregon State *
4. Army **

2. Pepperdine *
3. Cal Poly


Fullerton Regional
Host: Cal State Fullerton {2}
1. Cal State Fullerton **
4. Harvard **

2. Southern California
3. St John's

Bracketed with:

Knoxville Regional
Host: Tennessee
1. Tennessee
4. Jacksonville State *

2. North Carolina State
3. Miami Ohio *

And though not in the west, but including the Arizona Wildcats:

Houston Regional
Host: Rice
1. Arizona
4. Quinnipiac *

2. Rice *
3. Missouri

Bracketed with:

Waco Regional
Host: Baylor {6}
1. Baylor *
4. Texas-San Antonio *

2. Virginia
3. Arkansas

* Probable automatic bid.
** Clinched automatic bid.

Cesar Ramos Is Clemens Award Semi-Finalist

Dirtbags southpaw, and Friday starter, Cesar Ramos is a semi-finalist for the Roger Clemens Award - won last year by former Dirtbag Jered Weaver. Here's what the award foundation's release had to say:
The 10 pitchers include lefthander Ricky Romero of Cal State Fullerton, the defending NCAA champions who currently occupy the top spot in Baseball America's Top 25 college baseball poll. Second-ranked Tulane is represented by lefthander Brian Bogusevic, righthander Dallas Buck represents third ranked Oregon State, while righthander Cesar Carillo is the top starter for fourth-ranked Miami. They join righthander Mike Pelfrey of Wichta State, who was also a semifinalist for the first Clemens Award, righthander Lance Broadway of TCU, righthander Luke Hochevar of Tennessee, righthander Ian Kennedy of USC, lefthander Cesar Ramos of Long Beach State and righthander Max Scherzer of Missouri.
The article on is here.

Regional Hosting: Long Beach State versus USC

In a recent article on, Mark Etheridge interviewed Charlie Carr (Florida State), the Chairman of the NCAA Division I baseball committee (no link to the story - in the paid area). Here's what Mr. Carr had to say about how the teams that make the tournament are analyzed, and selected to host:
"The first thing we look at is obviously record, then quality wins, quality losses if there is such a thing, our NCAA RPI rankings as our rankings are a little different than the other two out there, recent losses whether its how they have done down the stretch the last ten or twenty games, the teams record vs Top 25 teams, the teams record vs Top 50 teams, their Conference RPI, Conference Strength of Schedule," said NCAA Baseball Committee member Charlie Carr, who was in town to watch the ACC Baseball Tournament, "But none are more important than the other."

So what goes into selecting the regional sites? Is it the bid or are there other factors?

"Bidding use to be the most important part of the decision but it no longer is. There are several factors including the same ones used for selecting teams, we have 40-50 schools with bids out and they must at least bid a minimum of $35,000."
If there is to be a 3rd Regional in the far west (in addition to Oregon State and Fullerton, who appear to be locks to host), it likely comes down to USC v. Long Beach State. On the factors Carr discusses, here's how they compare:
                     USC           Long Beach State
Record 35-18 36-20
RPI .594 (#16) .593 (#17)
Last 10 games 7-3 4-6
Last 20 games 12-8 12-8
vs. Top 25 RPI 9-5 7-8
vs. Top 50 RPI 13-11 10-10
Conf. RPI .551 (#4) .544 (#5)
The RPI I use is from Boyd's World. It is generally very close to the official NCAA RPI, which it doesn't see fit to publish. UC Irvine's RPI is just outside the Top 50 (at #53). The Dirtbags went 2-1 against them, and USC 1-1. Texas Tech is 52nd in RPI, and USC was 1-0 against them. These games may factor into games vs. Top 50. I didn't compare conference strength of schedule, but the Pac 10 likely edges out the Big West in this category - but not by a lot.

The Beach has the edge in quality wins. They won road series against 3 highly ranked teams - ASU, Baylor and Wichita State - taking 2 of 3 in each. And they won the only series lost by Fullerton this year, winning 2 of 3 at home. USC went 3-0 against the Dirtbags, but lost series against Stanford, ASU, Arizona and Oregon State. I, too, am unsure what a quality loss is.

Long Beach State may still overtake USC in RPI. The Trojans have 3 games left, at home against Stanford starting tonight. Fullerton, a team the 49ers played 6 times, has 3 at UC Riverside this weekend. Fullerton wins significantly improve the Beach's RPI. LBSU is only .001 behind USC, so it won't take much to jump over them.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Long Beach Hosting Prospects Update... my post here. USC has, indeed, placed a bid to host. With Arizona definitely out of the hunt for a likely 3rd (and likely last) west coast Regional site, that Regional will probably go to either Long Beach State or USC. Dedeaux Field at USC seats 2,500, about 1,000 few than Long Beach. The Dirtbags have a proven track record selling the tickets, so the Beach wins on the revenue considerations. I will not be surprised, at all, if the Regional is at Blair Field, with USC as the #1 seed and Long Beach State the #2 (by virtue of the Trojans sweep of 3 games against the 49ers this season).

Arizona Definitely Out As Regional Site

This from the Long Beach Press-Telegram:
Long Beach State's hopes of hosting a NCAA baseball regional at Blair Field next week got a boost Wednesday when Arizona, ranked in the Top 10 most of the season and currently in second place in the Pac-10 Conference, withdrew its bid to host.

The UA athletic department has been facing a financial bind and the officials felt they couldn't stimulate enough ticket sales to make the bid feasible. They announced their intention to bid in early May in hopes of generating pre-sales, but the response was minimal.

"If we have a regional and no one shows up at a time when our athletic department is laying people off, it doesn't add up," Arizona coach Andy Lopez told the Arizona Daily Star.

Arizona drew a crowd of 4,500 for a game against Texas early this season but averaged around 1,100 a game for the season, and hoped-for crowds at important Pac-10 series didn't materialize.

Baseball America, the most reliable source in college baseball, projected this week that the Dirtbags would be one of the 16 first-round hosts.

Beach Falls To 17th In RPI On Loss To USC

In a 4 hour, 39 minute marathon last night, the Dirtbags fell to USC 5-4 in 11 innings. [ Story - Box Score]. This from the story gives the "flavor" of the game:
The four hour and 39 minute game combined for 30 hits and 27 left on base, as 39 players were used in the contest. The game also saw eight runners thrown out on the bases patches, four by the outfielders, including three by LBSU leftfielder Danny Mocny and two each by the team's catching cores. Both teams also combined for five errors.
In taking the loss, the Beach fell from 16th to 17th in RPI. Here's the top 25 psuedo-RPIs current through this morning as calculated by Boyd's World (no official RPIs are released by the NCAA until after the season):
           Division I   Overall
Rank Rating W L W L Team

1 0.625 48 9 48 9 Tulane
2 0.624 43 13 43 13 Texas
3 0.622 41 16 41 16 Mississippi
4 0.617 39 16 39 16 Georgia Tech
5 0.615 37 20 37 20 Baylor
6 0.614 40 13 40 13 Cal State Fullerton
7 0.614 38 16 38 16 Miami, Florida
8 0.613 40 16 40 16 North Carolina
9 0.612 37 20 37 20 Clemson
10 0.611 40 15 40 15 North Carolina State
11 0.609 39 18 39 18 Florida
12 0.606 44 12 44 12 College of Charleston
13 0.602 41 9 41 9 Oregon State
14 0.599 45 12 45 12 Coastal Carolina
15 0.598 38 19 38 19 Louisiana State
16 0.595 35 18 35 18 Southern California
17 0.593 36 20 36 20 Long Beach State
18 0.593 32 24 32 24 Auburn
19 0.589 37 19 37 19 Arkansas
20 0.588 48 16 49 16 Florida State
21 0.587 31 22 31 22 Arizona State
22 0.585 30 25 30 25 Georgia
23 0.585 38 19 38 19 South Carolina
24 0.584 34 21 34 21 Vanderbilt
25 0.582 46 13 46 13 Nebraska
And here are game results from yesterday for top 25 RPI teams:
Dirtbags (#17) 4, USC (#16) 5
Tulane (#1) 8, Alabama-Birmingham 6
Oklahoma State 10, Texas (#2) 4
Mississippi (#3) 3, Alabama 1
Georgia Tech (#4) 9, Wake Forest 8
Baylor (#5) 2, Kansas 1
North Carolina State (#10), Miami (Florida) (#7) 1
Florida State (#20) 3, North Carolina (#8) 2
Virginia 8, Clemson (#9) 1
Florida (#11) 9, Arkansas (#19) 8
Furman 9, College of Charleston (#12) 7
Mississippi State 9, LSU (#15) 2
South Carolina (#23) 12, Tennessee 2
Texas Tech 5, Nebraska (#25) 3

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Neil Jamison Named 1st Team All-American By Sports Weekly

From USA Today:
Before conference tournaments give way to the NCAA postseason next week, let's pause to recognize the student-athletes who have been named 2005 Sports Weekly All-Americans...

Relief pitcher

Neil Jamison, Sr., Long Beach State - As the closer for the staff that carries Division I's lowest ERA according to the May 15 NCAA statistics, Jamison (4-0) has not allowed an earned run this season, which is a span of 25 2/3 innings and 11 saves. He was an eighth-round selection by the Mets in 2004.
He's written up on here.

Dirtbags May Have Inside Track To Hosting Regional

This from Baseball America:
Projecting The Field Of 64

By Will Kimmey
May 24, 2005

The hosts look pretty standard here in our projected 64-team field, with 14 No. 1 seeds earning host duties.

The No. 2 seed hosts both are interesting. College of Charleston has gone 44-11 overall, 27-3 in dominating the Southern Conference for a second straight year. Internet RPI models rank the Cougars in the top 10, and the program submitted a large financial bid to serve as a host at 6,000-seat Joe Riley Ballpark in Charleston, which doubles as the home of the Class A RiverDogs.
I read elsewhere that they bid at least $100,000.00.
Arizona seems like a logical enough host choice as it will finish first or second in the Pacific-10 Conference and has been ranked in the Top 10 most of the season. However, fans haven't flocked to Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium to watch the Wildcats, so coach Andy Lopez decided to submit a regional bid with a smaller financial guarantee so that the school would not lose money.

That might not be enough to win a host site on the competitive West Coast, where Arizona State, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, Oregon State and Stanford all are competing to bring a regional to campus. That brings Rice into play. The Owls have proven a fine host at Reckling Park the last few seasons.
Notably absent from the list of schools bidding is the Univ. of Southern California. Stanford is 39th in RPI, which would seem to place them at the rear of the pack. In my opinion, the Beach comes out ahead of ASU. The Dirtbags have a higher RPI, are likely to finish 2nd in the Big West Conference while the Sun Devils will finish 3rd or (more probably) 4th in the Pac 10, and Long Beach State won the head to head series in Tempe. ASU has also just lost 3 series in a row.

Mark Etheridge at has a slightly different take on the western Regional picture:
Arizona did not submit a bid to host a Regional and will look to win their way to Omaha on the road. They did just that last year. Without the Wildcats, there is a shortage of western teams who have earned a host spot. Oregon State is going to host. Fullerton is going to host. Long Beach State is next in line. After that, Arizona State is fading and Southern Cal is just a notch below the host clubs in facility and in resume. They may just get two hosts but I suspect there will be three. I would be shocked at four Western host spots without Arizona.
It seems more likely that Arizona did submit a bid, as Will Kimmey reports, since he seems to have specific information about the bid. Neither directly say that USC did not submit a bid, but both seem to dismiss USC as a host.

Here is how Baseball America sees the brackets:

National seeds indicated in parentheses
Projected host sites in bold
* Projected automatic bids

New Orleans                  Charleston, S.C.
1. Tulane* (1) 1. Tennessee
2. South Carolina 2. College of Charleston*
3. UNC Wilmington* 3. Virginia
4. Southern* 4. California

Fullerton, Calif. Houston, Texas
1. Cal State Fullerton* (2) 1. Arizona
2. Stanford 2. Rice*
3. Oklahoma 3. Vanderbilt
4. Harvard* 4. Illinois*

Corvallis, Ore. Long Beach, Calif.
1. Oregon State* (3) 1. Long Beach State
2. Missouri 2. Southern California
3. Cal Poly 3. Pepperdine*
4. Army* 4. Nevada-Las Vegas*

Lincoln, Neb. Tallahassee, Fla.
1. Nebraska* (4) 1. Florida State
2. Arkansas 2. Alabama
3. Creighton* 3. Wichita State
4. Illinois-Chicago* 4. Troy*

Atlanta, Ga. Oxford, Miss.
1. Georgia Tech* (5) 1. Mississippi
2. Winthrop 2. North Carolina
3. Auburn 3. Michigan
4. Georgia Southern 4. Jacksonville State*

Gainesville, Fla. Miami
1. Florida* (6) 1. Miami
2. North Carolina State 2. Southern Mississippi
3. Florida Atlantic 3. Miami (Ohio)*
4. Quinnipiac* 4. Marist*

Austin, Texas Clemson, S.C.
1. Texas (7) 1. Clemson
2. Texas Christian 2. Coastal Carolina*
3. St. John's* 3. East Carolina
4. Rhode Island* 4. North Carolina A&T*

Baton Rouge, La. Waco, Texas
1. Louisiana State (8) 1. Baylor
2. Louisiana-Lafayette* 2. Arizona State
3. Northwestern State* 3. Mississippi State
4. Maine* 4. Oral Roberts*

Final Game At USC This Evening

The 56th, and last, game of the 2005 regular season is set for this evening at USC (a makeup for the game rained out earlier this year). The release is here in html, and here as a pdf file.

The likely starting pitchers will be rhp Cody Evans (0-2, 3.14) for the Beach, and rhp Richard Aquilar (1-0, 4.50) for the Trojans. Coach Mike Weathers has indicated he intends to use the bullpen "generously". This will be Aguilar's 1st start of the season - he's pitched 12.0 innings in 11 appearances, he's walked 4 and struck out 6, and opponents are batting .319 against him. Cody has made 11 appearances, 6 of them starts, pitching 28.2 innings. He's walked 14 and struck out 14, and opponents are hitting .307.

Here's the scouting report on USC:
USC enters the midweek affair (before playing Stanford to close out the season), with a .288 team batting average, .975 fielding percentage and 4.01 team ERA... the Trojans, despite losing two of three to Pac-10 Champion Oregon State this past weekend, have won seven of their last 10... All-American catcher Jeff Clement after a slow start is batting a team-best .358 with 43 runs and 44 RBIs to go along with a team-best 11 homers, wille Bill Hart is batting .308 with 37 runs... Paul Koss is the ace out of the pen, producing 10 saves to go along with a 3.13 ERA as the Trojans are 29-0 when leading after six innings... opponents have had a tough time at Dedeaux Field this year, as USC bolsters a 17-4 mark at home... USC won two games earlier this year against the Dirtbags, as Friday's game was rained out.'s May 24 Regional Projections

Here's an interesting twist. for the last few weeks has been projecting a Long Beach Regional (with the Dirtbags as the #1 seed) paired for a Super Regional with a Corvalis Regional (with Oregon State as the #1 and national seed). In their May 24 projections, they now predict a Long Beach Regional with Arizona as the #1 seed, the Beach at #2, Oklahoma #3, and UNLV #4. They now pair it with an Oxford Regional with Ole Miss as the #1 and national seed.

This is an interesting call, given that Long Beach has the #16 RPI currently, while Arizona sits at #29.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Josh Buhagiar Called Up

The Arizona Diamondbacks have called up former Dirtbag Josh Buhagiar from extended spring training to the Class A South Bend Silver Hawks.

Baseball America Scouting Reports On Draft Eligible Dirtbags

Here scouting reports on Dirtbags in the draft from Baseball America (no link - paid area - number before name is their ranking in the State of California):

On Dirtbags pitching in general:
Long Beach State has produced more premium pitching prospects in the last two drafts than any college in the country. With a 2.30 team ERA, this year's staff may be the most effective yet.
On Troy Tulowitzki:
1. TROY TULOWITZKI, ss (National Ranking: 4)
School: Long Beach State.
Hometown: Sunnyvale, Calif.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 205. Birthdate: Oct. 10, 1984.
Previously Drafted: Never.
Scouting Report: Tulowitzki compares favorably to Bobby Crosby, his predecessor as shortstop at Long Beach State who was a first-round pick in 2001 and the 2004 American League rookie of the year. They're about the same size and have similar speed and bat speed at the same stage, but scouts say Tulowitzki is a better athlete and should be a better player. He has more arm strength and range, and more power to all parts of the park, while Crosby was more automatic on routine plays and had more pull power. Crosby helped Tulowitzki by showing scouts that players built like Crosby and the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Tulowitzki can be effective everyday shortstops. Tulowitzki has also won over scouts with his approach to the game. He plays with exceptional intensity and an unrivaled passion for the game. He broke the hamate bone in his hand and missed 20 games early this spring, and the 49ers slumped in his absence. He has no holes in his game and all his tools are close to big league-ready. He is a top defender who has adjusted well to the speed of the game. He has an above-average arm and good footwork, unlike as a freshman when he relied on his raw arm strength. He has added 35-40 pounds since enrolling at Long Beach, giving him a stronger body and the chance to be an offensive shortstop. He now projects to hit 25-30 homers a year in the big leagues. He has just 19 in three years at Long Beach State but plays his home games at Blair Field, one of the best pitcher's parks in college baseball. He hit four with a wood bat last summer for Team USA, tied for the team lead. Tulowitzki is regarded by most teams as a safe pick who almost certainly will return the investment a team makes in him.
On former Dirtbag Jered Weaver:
2. JERED WEAVER, rhp (National Ranking: 7)
School: None.
Hometown: Simi Valley, Calif.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-7. Wt.: 205. Birthdate: Oct. 4, 1982.
Previously Drafted: Angels 2004 (1)
Scouting Report: Weaver was an early favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2004 draft, but he fell due to signability issues and will find himself back in this year's pool if he doesn't come to terms with the Angels, who selected him with the 12th pick. He has until midnight May 31, the start of the closed period, to sign. Weaver is represented by Scott Boras, who contends the Angels agreed to give Weaver a deal in the neighborhood of the $10.5 guaranteed major league contract Mark Prior received from the Cubs as the second pick in 2001. The Angels say otherwise, and have reportedly offered a standard minor league contract with a $4 million bonus - which would be the largest bonus for a 2004 draftee but far short of what Boras was seeking. As a junior in 2004 at Long Beach State, Weaver posted numbers - 15-1, 1.62 with 213 strikeouts in 144 innings--that were roughly equivalent to Prior's spectacular 2001 season at Southern California. But Weaver's stuff is a step below Prior's. As a junior for the 49ers, Weaver was an intense competitor with an excellent feel for his craft. He could throw strikes with precision--in, out, up, down. He was so advanced in all areas of pitching that scouts said he could hold his own in the big leagues immediately. Like everyone at Long Beach, Weaver pitched off his fastball, which was clocked as high as 95 mph. He normally threw it at 91-92, but even at that speed it looked like 95 because of the deception in his delivery and his ability to locate it. His curve is just average. He throws two kinds of sliders, one with greater depth. While his brother Jeff, a 1998 first-rounder of the Tigers who now pitches for the Dodgers, is a sinker/slider pitcher and generates more armside movement with his pitches, Jered uses his whole repertoire much better. Because of the protracted holdout, Weaver hasn't pitched in almost a year. His only activity has been working out with a personal trainer and throwing bullpens at Long Beach State in April and May. He had not faced live hitters, so teams aren't sure whether he's the same guy with the same stuff and command.
On Cesar Ramos:
8. CESAR RAMOS, lhp (National Ranking: 33)
School: Long Beach State.
Hometown: Pico Rivera, Calif.
B-T: L-L. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 175. Birthdate: June 22, 1984.
Previously Drafted: Devil Rays 2002 (6).
Scouting Report: With three starters who have been drafted in the top two rounds the last two years - Abe Alvarez in 2003, Jered Weaver and Jason Vargas in 2004 - Ramos has struggled for attention at Long Beach State. He was an effective No. 3 starter both years [Cesar was actually the #2 starter last year], going 18-8, 2.51 after entering the program as a sixth-round pick out of high school. This year, Ramos has taken over the No. 1 spot in the 49ers rotation and become the winningest lefthander in school history, surpassing Alvarez, who has already debuted in the big leagues with the Red Sox. Both pitchers have similar styles, but scouts say Ramos uses his stuff better than Alvarez. Ramos has excellent command of four pitches and walked 13 in his first 116 innings this spring. He's not overpowering with a four-seam fastball that sits at 85-88 mph and touches 90. His two-seamer has even less velocity, but more movement. But he's sneaky fast, throwing on a downhill plane with pinpoint accuracy. He has a knack for burying his fastball under the hands of righthanded hitters. He also has an effective slider and curve, and a serviceable changeup he uses early in the count. Ramos is frequently compared to Cal State Fullerton lefty Ricky Romero, who should be the first lefthander drafted this year. Romero has better stuff across the board, but Ramos has better command and is more consistent. He could be one of the rare lefthanders drafted in the first round with a below-average fastball.
On Neil Jamison:
Senior RHP Neil Jamison (39) passed up an opportunity to go pro last year when he rejected an eighth-round offer from the Mets. He may not have hurt himself by returning to Long Beach for his senior year. As one of the nation's premier closers, he didn't allow an earned run in his first 24 innings this year. He saved 11 games, posted a 4-0 record and had walked just two batters while striking out 21. He is loose and athletic with two quality pitches: an aggressive 88-92 mph fastball and a 79-82 slider with depth. He has a feel for a changeup, but rarely used it in his current role. He has the makeup to close and could be effective in that role in the low minors, but projects as a big league set-up man because he doesn't have a pitch to put away quality lefthanded hitters. As a senior sign, he'll be attractive to a team that values performance over raw stuff.
On Marco Estrada:
RHP Marco Estrada (72) posted a 7-2, 2.32 record with 101 strikeouts in 101 innings as Long Beach State's Saturday starter. He has four solid pitches, with a fastball that touches 93 and the best curveball on the staff. But at 6 feet with little downhill plane, he is not expected to be picked before the sixth or seventh rounds.
Other Dirtbags listed without scouting reports:
101. Steve Hammond, lhp, Long Beach State U.
107. Sean Boatright, of, Long Beach State U.
140. Chris Jones, c, Long Beach State U.

Boyd Nation Sees Beach As #1 Seed On The Road

Boyd Nation (Boyd's World) is out with his annual guess on the tournament field, seeding, and venues. He sees Long Beach State as 1 of the 16 #1 seeds. But in his opinion the Dirtbags and USC Trojans are the only #1 seeds who will not host, with each going to either a Regional hosted by #2 seeds Rice or Florida State.

Dirtbags Crack Top 16 In RPI

Boyd's World is out this morning with updated psuedo-Ratings Power Index rankings (RPI - the NCAA doesn't publish the "official" RPI) and, despite losing 2 of 3 to Cal. State Fullerton, Long Beach State jumped from 19th to 16th. The RPI is one major factor used by the NCAA to decide which teams will be Regional hosts and #1 seeds (there are usually 2 or 3 Regionals hosted by a lower seed). With 16 Regional sites, jumping to the top 16 in RPI is big. Boyd's World will be updating the RPIs daily, now through May 29 (here). The Regional hosts will be announced on Sunday, May 29, on ESPN2 (bottom line) at 12:30 p.m. Pacific. The full 64 team field, and the seedings, will be announced on ESPN2 on Monday, May 30, at 8:30 a.m. Pacific, during the Road to Omaha Baseball Selection Show.

In addition to the Dirtbags #16 RPI, they are also in the top 16 of all 3 major Division I college polls, plus the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Assn. rankings. Here's how the Beach sits:
11th in Baseball America
15th in Collegiate Baseball
16th in Sports Weekly/ESPN
14th in NCBWA
Long Beach State is also 6th in Iterative Strength Rating (ISR), Boyd's World's alternative to the RPI, and has played the 5th strongest schedule in D-I baseball.

The west coast (including Arizona) is likely to have either 3 or 4 Regional sites. Fullerton and Oregon State are locks for 2 of them, in my opinion. Each has a top 16 RPI, and each is at least a co-champion of their conference (Big West and Pac 10, respectively - both power conferences in baseball). The host for the other 1 or 2 sites comes down to Arizona, USC and Long Beach State (I believe ASU, by losing 2 of 3 to Arizona, dropping to #20 in RPI, and by sitting in 4th place in the Pac 10, is out of the running). I believe 3 games will have a lot to do with which school or schools is/are chosen:
Dirtbags at USC tomorrow.
Cal. at Arizona, 2 games, Friday and Saturday.
The game at USC may prove critical. The Trojans have already won both of their games against the Beach this year, and another victory will give them a sweep. In addition, their RPI is #18, so they are breathing down the Dirtbags neck. They are also 3rd in the Pac 10, behind Oregon State and Arizona.

If Arizona sweeps it's 3 game series against Cal. at home, the Wildcats will be co-champions of the Pac 10. Otherwise, they will finish in 2nd place. The result of the 3rd game will not be a factor in host site selection, with the announcement being made about the time that game begins. Arizona sits high in the polls, but has a #29 RPI. If they beat Cal. the 1st 2 games, my bet is they host - since Pac 10 champions usually host. But if they falter, that RPI may hurt them.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Dirtbag Infiltrates Behind Titan Enemy Lines

We Love Our DirtbagsGiven what transpired later on Sunday, the highlight of the afternoon was Long Beach State Prof., and big time Dirtbags fan, Brenda Vogel (pictured), throwing out the first pitch at Fullerton's Goodwin Field. I'm not sure, but I think a few Titans fans jaws hit the deck when Brenda took the mound in a black Dirtbags outfit, threw her first pitch (for a strike, of course), then proceeded to the Long Beach dugout to high five the entire team. It seems some of her professorial friends at Fullerton secured the honor for her. It was classic!

Dirtbags Lose Series At Fullerton

Here's the links:
Friday: Dirtbags 2, Fullerton 7: Story
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Fullerton Website
Box Score

Saturday: Dirtbags 5, Fullerton 1: Story
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Fullerton Website
Box Score

Sunday: Dirtbags 0, Fullerton 10: Story
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Fullerton Website
Box Score
The good: The Dirtbags split their 6 games with Fullerton, 3-3, on the season.
The bad: Losing the series 1-2, and the shot at winning the Big West title.
The ugly: Fullerton's baserunning! I've never seen 3 baserunners in scoring position picked off in the same 3-game series. Until now!

Bob Keisser at the Press-Telegram is fairly pessimistic about the Dirtbags hosting a Regional. I agree with him that a series win at Fullerton would have given the Beach a lock on hosting, and I also agree with his dim view of the NCAA committee's bias against western teams. But I am encouraged by the amazing number of upsets in Division I baseball this past weekend, several of which benefit Long Beach State in RPI (#19 before the Fullerton series) and the rankings. Here are some of the key series (with RPIs in parenthesis - courtesy of Boyd's World):

Miami (#3) was swept at Clemson (#14).
Baylor (#4) lost 2 of 3 at home to Missouri (#57).
Georgia Tech (#5) lost 2 of 3 at North Carolina (#9).
Arizona State (#15) lost 2 of 3 at Washington (#71).
Auburn (#16) lost 2 of 3 at home to Alabama (#32).
Arkansas (#17) was swept at home by Ole Miss. (#6).
Louisiana-Lafayette (#20) lost 2 of 3 at Western Kentucky (#227).
Southern California (#21) lost 2 of 3 at Oregon State (#12) - not an upset, but important to LBSU's hosting prospects.
Vanderbilt (#22) was swept at home by Florida (#13).

In this mix, losing 2 of 3 at Fullerton (#8 in RPI, and either 1st or 2nd in the polls) doesn't inflict as much damage as it otherwise would. In fact, I suspect that the Dirtbags' RPI will actually move up a slot or 2 (or at worst hold at #19) when updated RPIs are published by Boyd's World later today or tomorrow. I'll let you know.

Dirtbags 11th in Baseball America Rankings

The updated Baseball America rankings are out, and Long Beach State falls just 1 slot, from 10th to 11th.

Dirtbags Still ERA Leader

Despite yielding 16 earned runs to Fullerton, Long Beach State retains it's #1 position in team earned run average (ERA) in NCAA Division I, at 2.42. Nebraska remains 2nd, at 2.48.

Beach Falls To 15th In Collegiate Baseball Rankings

On the series loss to Fullerton, 2 games to 1, the Dirtbags fell from 13th to 15th in the Collegiate Baseball rankings.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Donnie Hume Is Featured... this hometown newpaper piece.

Another Preview

This one in the Long Beach Press-Telegram:
D'bags, Titans to tussle

By Bob Keisser
Staff writer

Normally, this is the last act a la Shakespeare, this bloodletting known as the Dirtbags (35-17, 13-5) versus the Titans (38-12, 13-2), beginning tonight at Goodwin Field, usually placing the final dagger in the ribs of one team or the other.

But thanks to a quirk in the 2005 Big West Conference schedule, it isn't. The Dirtbags and Titans both have 13 wins, but Fullerton three less losses because they still have one more Big West series left after this weekend, at UC Riverside.

Meaning, the Dirtbags need to sweep the Titans to guarantee themselves a share of the league title and the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. If the Dirtbags win two of three, Fullerton will have to win two of three from UC Riverside next week to clinch the title.

"It's unfortunate, because the one thing you always knew is that it would come down to the last series between us, so it's odd that we're not going to be done," said Titans coach George Horton. "Usually, we're talking about who wins the league and national implications and regionals being on the line."

All those things are still relevant, of course.

Fullerton is ranked No. 1 and seems guaranteed to host a regional. The Dirtbags are ranked No. 10 and winning the series would likely moved them up a notch and make it very hard for the NCAA committee to deny them the chance to host.

Taking two or three games this weekend, after winning two of three at Blair in the nonconference series early when Fullerton was also No. 1, would give them a 4-2 record against the No. 1 team, which could also be enough for the Dirtbags to get one of the eight national seedings.

The Dirtbags' preparation for the series mentions not a word of this. Putting other goals and desires on the same plate as the Titans would be a distraction, so Mike Weathers has just been preparing his team to play good baseball and let that take care of things.

"We can't win all three games at once," closer Neil Jamison said. "We have to go in and take it one game at a time. Win Friday, put it behind us and prepare for the next test."

Weathers expects good games, something that is about an 85 percent certainty based on the closeness of the series since it went legit in 1989. He thinks it will come down to "pitching, defense and luck," something you can't prepare for but can always use.

The Dirtbags took two of three in late March. Cesar Ramos outdueled Ricky Romero in the opener, 3-2, Fullerton outlasted the Bags in a rare sloppy Game 2, 5-4, and Jared Hughes tossed a four-hitter in winning Game 3, 3-1.

Troy Tulowitzki returned for that series after missing 20 games because of a broken left hand. This weekend, Horton will be down a few key bodies. Felipe Garcia still has his foot in a cast from a small break, infielder Bobby Andrews has a hamstring injury and pitch Ryan Schreppel (5-0, 1.97) is slowly easing himself back into the mix after missing more than a month with a knee injury.

Horton considered starting Schreppel, but figured that would be rushing him so he'll use him out of the bullpen as needed before starting him next week week at UC Riverside.

"Both teams are playing well, but neither of us are killing anyone," Fullerton won two of three from Poly but scored just seven runs for the weekend; ditto for Long Beach last week.

DIRTBALLS: The pitching matchup tonight will be the same as in March, Cesar Ramos (10-5, 2.02) facing Ricky Romero (10-4, 2.60). Game two Saturday will be Marco Estrada (7-23, 2.32) against Wes Roemer (5-2, 3.02), and Jared Hughes (7-2, 2.42) Sunday against Scott Sarver (8-2, 4.14). … Fullerton has won 12 of its last 13 and is hitting .309, led by Sergio Pedroza (.341, 12 homers, 46 RBI) and Brett Pill (.338, 8-42). … The Dirtbags continue to lead the nation in pitching with a 2.24 ERA. … Jamison's appearance last week made him just the second player with 100 appearances in his career, and his next save will make him No. 2 all-time on the school list. … Tonight's game will be on KVMD, Saturday's on CSTV and Sunday's on Fox college Sports. … The Dirtbags visit USC Wednesday in a makeup game and their last regular season game of the season.

Dirtbags v. Titans...CSF's Release...

is out. Read it here in html, and here as a pdf file.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Tulo Featured In Baseball America's College Weekend Preview

From the BA College Weekend Preview (be sure to take a look at their page - nice photo of Tulo:
College Weekend Preview: May 18-21

by Will Kimmey
May 18, 2005

The first time Troy Tulowitzki put on his Long Beach State hat, someone called him Crosby Jr. The reference was to Bobby Crosby, his predecessor as Dirtbags shortstop who won 2004 American League rookie of the year honors with the Athletics.

Tulowitzki admits the comparisons to a 2001 first-round draft pick were flattering at first, but he wanted to sculpt his own image rather than live up to someone else's. The junior has accomplished that task during his college career, though he's met and befriended Crosby along the way. Most scouts add that Tulowitzki also has surpassed him.

"He's better than Bobby Crosby," a National League scout said. "He could play in the big leagues right now. He can hit, hit for power and he's the whole package defensively with a plus-plus arm."

That skill set and an impressive 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame could vault Tulowitzki into the first five picks of the draft. He credits Crosby, with whom he speaks over the phone twice a week, for helping him hone his game with tips that include learning to read grounders and to make decisions on coming in quickly, waiting back or darting into the hole to pick them. The rest of the credit goes to Tulowitzki's natural athleticism and his own work ethic.

"He's got serious range, first-step quickness; he can cut the angle down," coach Mike Weathers said. "I don’t think he can play his way out of the position like some guys talk about because of his size.

"Most of the plays I am amazed about, the balls up the middle, he runs through a ball to his right and comes in and throws off balance as good as I've ever seen. That play to me is what separates him from most shortstops."

Weathers also raves about Tulowitzki's grind-it-out mentality and leadership abilities. That's why the shortstop found things so difficult when a broken hamate bone in his left hand pushed him to the bench for 20 games from early February through late March. For a Long Beach State offense already limited by the hitter's graveyard that is Blair Field, losing a player whose seven home runs in 124 at-bats (and .363/.444/.637 numbers) this year lead the team was difficult.

Tulowitzki, a baseball rat who said his life away from the field mostly includes lifting weights and playing baseball video games, sat helplessly on the bench as the Dirtbags lost five of their first six games without him in the lineup. That stretch included getting swept by California in a weekend series in which they scored seven total runs.

"I'm so competitive, I want to help my teammates," said Tulowtizki, who took a call from Crosby reminding him to stay positive. "When we got swept by Cal we left a lot of runners on base; I wish one of those at-bats I could have gone up there."

Tulowitzki's desire to return carried him back into the lineup at least a week earlier than expected. Trainer Nate Peck cleared him to swing a bat the same Friday that the team played its late-March nonconference series against rival Cal State Fullerton.

Tulowitzki hit from the tee, then took some soft toss and finally moved into live batting practice before telling Weathers he was ready to play. Peck found no reason to hold the shortstop out. He collected one hit in the series, an RBI double in the opener, but his return to the lineup gave the team the spark it needed to hand Fullerton its only series loss of the year.

"Just the presence he brings to the game is uplifting," lefthander Cesar Ramos said. "He's always grinding and wanting to win. It's always good to have a guy that's going to be a high first-round pick back. When he was out, he was really frustrated at not being able to play. He wanted to rip off his cast."

Tulowitzki and No. 10 Long Beach State face Fullerton again this weekend, and again the Titans hold the No. 1 ranking entering the series between the top two teams in the Big West Conference. Another series win would give the Dirtbags a great shot at serving as a regional host. Tulowitzki's hand has improved since that first series, though he's had to limit the number of swings he takes in practice because he still feels some soreness at times.

"Playing-wise, I'm where I need to be, but I'm not as strong because I can't lift weights the way I want to," Tulowitzki said. "It was difficult going through the injury, not knowing what was going to happen when I came back or if I was going to be the same player, but it's worked out."

It looks like the draft will work out fine for him as well. Initially, there were questions about how he would return from the injury, but he's pulled through nicely. He's showing the power to all fields that drew attention last year when he hit two homers to right-center field in helping Long Beach State win a regional at Stanford. He backed up that performance by winning Team USA's starting shortstop job over Georgia Tech's Tyler Greene and capped it with eight hits and several sparkling defensive plays in a season-opening series at Arizona State this year.

"At this point he's proved who he is and who wanted him," Weathers said. "I don’t think he has to prove anything more, especially to the pro people--they already know. They've all been in here the last couple weeks and everybody's asking about him. He's going to go real well."

Tulowitzki, who grew up an Athletics fan near the Bay Area in Sunnyvale, looks like a good bet to reach his goal of playing in the major leagues, though he hopes that opportunity comes for any other team.

"Bobby's already playing there, so they don’t need me," he said. "Hopefully, I'll be somewhere else and we can start a friendly little rivalry."

posted on 5/19/2005 by Jeff Agnew

Steve Velazco Is Featured... this Press-Telegram article.

Mike Weathers On The 2005 Dirtbags

From the Long Beach Press-Telegram:
Weathers nice at L.B. State

By Doug Krikorian
Sports Columnist

In the middle of February, there were ominous signs swirling around the Long Beach State baseball team, as the Dirtbags were on a five-game losing streak and as two of their important players, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and center fielder Sean Boatright, were sidelined with injuries.

It would have been understandable if the team's esteemed coach, Mike Weathers, had been in a panicked state, since, after all, he had lost so many vital performers from last season's powerful aggregation, including the peerless pitcher, Jered Weaver, along with such fellows as Jason Vargas, John Bowker, Brad Davis, Mike Hofius and Josh Buhagiar.

But Weathers is a lifetime baseball guy with patience who understands the maddening cyclical nature of the game a trait he displayed often during his seven-year minor league career in the Oakland A's system and he was confident his club would have a turnabout.

And it certainly has.

But not even he could have envisioned what has unfolded since those dark February times, as the 49ers have regrouped impressively to emerge as one of the top teams in the nation with their 35-17 record, ranking 10th in one national poll and 13th in the other two.

"I'd have to say that, considering the circumstances, this has been my most satisfying season here as head coach," says Weathers, who is in his fourth season as field commander of the 49ers and whose team will conclude its Big West Conference schedule this weekend on the road against rival Cal State Fullerton. "I started this season wondering how life after Jered Weaver would be. We lost not only Jered, but several other starters from last year's team, including a pitcher the caliber of Jason Vargas and a four-year catcher like Brad Davis.

"But guys have really stepped up and done well. The biggest question mark was our pitching staff, and that has been the biggest surprise of the year as we're now leading the nation in earned-run average (2.24). I can't say enough good things about our starters, Cesar Ramos, Marco Estrada and Jared Hughes, or our setup man, Brian Anderson, or our closer, Neil Jamison, who hasn't given up an earned run in 23 innings. You have to give credit for such production to our pitching coach, Troy Buckley."

While the 49er batsmen haven't matched the brilliance of the team's pitchers, they have had their moments of production that, alas, wasn't too evident last weekend when they managed only seven runs in the three games against Cal Poly SLO. Typically, the Dirtbags won two of them.

Tulowitzki has returned from his 20-game absence because of a left wrist injury that required surgery, and has been prolific, leading the 49ers in average (.363) and home runs (7), and second in RBI (25).

"He's just a terrific young player," says Weathers, who has compared Tulowitzki favorably to his 49er predecessor, Bobby Crosby, last season's American League Rookie of the Year with the A's.

Weathers admits he was concerned before the season about who would handle his pitchers behind the plate, but Chris Jones, a Fresno City College transfer who played in only 10 games caddying for Brad Davis in 2004, has turned out to be a steady performer.

He not only has worked deftly with the Dirtbag pitchers, but also has done well offensively, batting .311 with 23 RBI.

Sean Boatright has come back from the hamstring injury that kept him out of 10 games to lead the team in doubles (15) and RBI (28) while hitting .317 and fielding admirably in center field.

The Dirtbags are 13-5 in the Big West Conference, and Mike Weathers knows if his team can win a couple games against first-place Fullerton that it would enhance its chances of hosting an NCAA regional.

He also knows the Dirtbags won't be intimidated by the defending national champions, whom they took two of three from earlier in the season in a nonconference series.

"What makes me exceptionally proud of this Dirtbag team is the positive way it has reacted to adversity," says Weathers. "This has been a far more challenging year for me because it's the first time since I've become the Dirtbags' head coach that the team wasn't pretty well set. There was a big unknown factor, and the new players have come through very well."

So, of course, has Mike Weathers, an outgoing, affable 56-year-old, 1967 graduate of Warren High in Downey who went on to play baseball at Chapman College and was Oakland's first-round selection in 1971.

He would become immersed in the minors because the A's had a couple of other more promising young second basemen in their system named Phil Garner and Manny Trillo, both of whom went on to have solid major league careers.

Mike Weathers went on to become a college baseball coach after he hung up his bat and glove for good at age 29, first as the top man at Chapman for 14 seasons, then as an assistant under Dave Snow in Long Beach for eight seasons before succeeding Snow in 2002.

He says he still savors the competitive aspect of his job and getting to work with young players, but admits he could do without the bureaucratic part.

"I don't enjoy having to deal with all the rules like the new NCAA graduation rate guidelines," he says. "One wonders why athletes are singled out, and regular students going to college aren't. That part of the job is nerve-wracking, and makes it harder to recruit. As it is, so many players out of high school are being drafted. And, unfortunately, because of the new rules, I think a lot more players are going to take the money and turn professional."

Still, Mike Weathers says he plans to remain a while at his current station, which means Dirtbag baseball figures to continue to be a successful entity in the upcoming seasons.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005's Weekly Release Is Out

....and here it is in html, and as a pdf file. Here's their scouting report on Fullerton:
The Titans enter Friday’s series with a 38-12 overall record and 13-2 Big West mark... the defending national champions are coming off a 5-4 marathon win over San Diego on Tuesday after an off-weekend to visit the White House and President George W. Bush... the Titans have won 12 of their last 13... Fullerton is batting .309 as a team with a 3.46 team ERA and .976 fielding percentage... CSF ranks 22nd in the nation in ERA and eighth nationally in fielding... Friday ace Ricky Romero is one of three 10-game winners in the Big West as he leads the club with a 10-4 mark and 2.60 ERA... Vinnie Pestano has 10 saves out of the pen with a 2.47 ERA... lefthander Ryan Schreppel is 5-0 with a 1.97 ERA in eight starts this year, missing time this year with a knee injury... Lauren Gagnier has a 3-0 mark and 3.62 ERA out of the pen... outfielder Sergio Pedroza leads the club with a .341 average, 12 homers and 46 RBIs, while first baseman Brett Pill has a .338 average, eight homers and 44 RBIs... shortstop Blake Davis as a league-best seven triples.

Cesar Ramos Featured On NCAA Site

Take a look (includes a photo).

I Think I'll Just Let This One Speak For Itself.....

....especially the top line [ad in the Daily Titan]:
Blow Off Your Finals, Titan Fans

NCAA Leader Board

The updated NCAA Division I stats for games through May 15 show....

....The Dirtbags remain 1st in team earned run average (ERA) at 2.24, well ahead of #2 Nebraska at 2.47. The Beach is within reach of setting the Big West Conference record of 2.34 set by Fresno State in 1970 (against wooden bats). The Beach is also 21st in fielding percentage at .972.

....Cesar Ramos is 7th in victories at 10, and 25th in ERA at 2.02.
....Neil Jamison is 12th in saves at 11.
....Chuck Sindlinger is 24th in sacrifice hits at .22 per game.
....Marco Estrada is 44th in ERA at 2.32.
....Jared Hughes is 52nd in ERA at 2.38.

Oregon State Regional Host Update

There has been an issue whether Oregon State could host a Regional at Corvalis, given the 2,000 seat capacity at Goss Stadium. I discussed it here, including Will Kimmey's (Baseball America) discussion of the commonly held belief that the NCAA requires seating for 3,000. According to this piece, OSU plans to increase capacity for a Regional and Super-Regional to between 2,600 and 2,800.

According to Eric Sorenson, definitely a reliable source, he spoke with "Randy Buhr, the NCAA's director of baseball championships, [who] affirmed the fact that there never has been a "minimum capacity of 3,000" imposed on those sites wanting to host."

Reaching For My Big West Conference Crystal Ball

Here are the standings in the Big West Conference race (thanks poster Coeus from the Big West message board, who regularly posts scores and standings):
                               Big West           Overall
W L Pct GB W L T Pct
Cal State Fullerton 13 2 .867 -- 37 12 0 .755
Long Beach State 13 5 .722 1.5 35 17 0 .673
Cal Poly 10 5 .667 3 32 18 0 .640
UC Riverside 8 7 .533 5 23 24 0 .489
UC Irvine 7 8 .467 6 28 21 0 .571
Pacific 9 12 .429 7 24 28 0 .462
UC Santa Barbara 4 11 .267 9 22 28 0 .440
Cal State Northridge 2 16 .111 12.5 18 29 1 .385
Monday my Dad speculated that Cal. Poly might well win the Big West title by winning their final 6 conference games. Which got me thinking...always a dangerous thing!

It's now a 3 way race between the Beach, Fullerton and Cal. Poly for the Big West title (Pacific, UCSB and Northridge have already been mathematically eliminated; and so have UC Riverside and UC Irvine, since either Fullerton or Long Beach will have at least 15 conference wins after this weekend). If it ends in a tie, the 2 or 3 teams tied would be co-champions. But only 1 team receives the conference automatic bid to post-season play. Cal. Poly comes up short here, as the Mustangs have lost 2 of 3 against both Fullerton and the Dirtbags.

Here's the remaining conference schedule for the contenders:
Long Beach State:
May 20-22, 3 games at Fullerton.

Cal. State Fullerton:
May 20-22, 3 games hosting Long Beach State.
May 27-29, 3 games at UC Riverside.

Cal. Poly:
May 20-22, 3 games hosting UC Riverside
May 27-29, 3 games at UC Irvine.
The only chance for the Dirtbags to win the conference title is to sweep Fullerton in their yard - since the Beach is 3 games back in the loss column with 3 games left to play. A sweep would guarantee at least a conference co-championship at 16-5. And in that event, Long Beach State would have the automatic bid to the Regionals since they would hold the head-to-head tie breakers against both Fullerton and Cal. Poly. While this result is something to enjoy in our dreams, it is highly improbable. The last time Long Beach State swept Fullerton behind the Orange curtan was 1993. Not likely, but certainly possible.

Absent a Long Beach State sweep of Fullerton, in my view the Titans appear destined to win the Big West championship. Fullerton has lost only 1 weekend series this year - the non-conference series against the Dirtbags at Blair Field (losing 2 of 3 to the Beach). If Poly goes 6-0, and Fullerton 3-3, down the stretch, they are co-champions but Fullerton gets the automatic bid. I don't see Fullerton doing worse that 3-3, and as I discuss below, I don't think it's at all likely that Cal. Poly will go 6-0.

If the Beach doesn't win the conference title, the more important question for us is whether Long Beach finishes 2nd or 3rd in the Big West. The distinction could prove important, as the NCAA is more likely to grant the Dirtbags' bid to host a Regional if they finish 1st or 2nd, and seems more likely to sent the 'bags packing with a 3rd place finish.

So, for Long Beach State to finish at least tied for 2nd, here's the possibilities:
If the Dirtbags take 2 of 3 from Fullerton, Cal. Poly must do no better than 5-1.
If the Dirtbags take 1 of 3 from Fullerton, Cal. Poly must do no better than 4-2.
If the Dirtbags are swept by Fullerton, Cal. Poly must do no better than 3-3.
In my opinion, it's highly likely that the Beach wins 1 or 2 in Fullerton. These teams rarely sweep one another. In the Dave Snow/Mike Weathers era (1989 forward), it's happened only 6 times in 22 3-game series (in 1999, the Dirtbags and Titans began playing 2 3-game series each year - 1 non-conference and 1 conference). Sweeps occurred in 1991 (lost at Fullerton), 1993 (won at Fullerton), 1998 (lost at home), 2002 (the Beach was swept in the non-conference series on the road, but returned the favor in the conference series at home) and 2004 (lost on the road). In each of the other 16 meetings, one or the other won 2 of 3.

While Cal. Poly has done well, and is a quality team, I don't believe they will finish better than 4-2 in their remaining Big West games, and more likely 3-3. Before their series against Fullerton weekend before last, they had only played the weakest Big West teams in conference games. They opened at home against Northridge (2-16, 18-29-1) and won all 3. Then they went on the road against Pacific (a much improved 9-12, 24-28) and won 2 of 3 - with 1 of the wins in 10 innings. Next, on the road, they swept UCSB (4-11, 22-28). The last 2 weekends they have lost 2 of 3 against Fullerton at home, and the Dirtbags at Blair Field. So at this point in the season, they have played all of the lower tier in the Big West, and the upper echelon. Their next 2 opponents are, together with Cal. Poly, the middle tier of the Big West - each of whom has flirted with winning Regional bids. (UC Irvine did in 2004, UC Riverside in 2003. Cal. Poly has the inside track this season).

UCR plays at Cal. Poly next weekend, where the ball carries well. This past weekend, Riverside won 2 of 3 from UCSB at home - outscoring the Gauchos in the series 36 to 14. The Highlanders loss was by a score of 10-9. In the wins, UCSB scored only 1 and 4 runs. In conference play, UCR is batting .308, and has a team ERA of 3.60, much improved over their earlier - and inconsistent - play. They've already played all Big West teams except for Cal. Poly and Fullerton, and have an 8-7 record. Riverside is only 2 games behind Cal. Poly, so you can bet they will be motivated to make a run at 3rd place. I think the best Cal. Poly is likely to do against Riverside at home is to take 2 of 3, but losing 2 of 3 would not be a huge surprise.

Then Cal. Poly has to play Irvine at Anteater Ballpark. 7-8 in Big West play and 28-21 overall, Irvine is tough at home - 15-9 at home overall, and 3-3 at home in conference (2 of the 3 losses were against the Dirtbags). Since April 1, they are 13-6 against teams other than Fullerton and Long Beach (from whom they won 1 of 3 apiece). The stakes for Irvine are even greater than for Riverside. Riverside is 97th in RPI, so they have no chance of making a Regional. But the Anteaters are 51st in RPI, and Cal. Poly is 60th. Irvine plays UCSB at home this weekend coming off a sweep of UC Davis - a sweep of the Gauchos wouldn't surprise me at all. It is unlikely that both Cal. Poly and Irvine can get an at large berth in Regionals, so this series could well determine which of them keeps playing in June. Cal. Poly may win this series, but I believe it is much more likely that Irvine will win 2 of 3.

So as I gaze into my crystal ball, I see Cal. Poly going 3-3 over their final 6, and the Dirtbags finishing either 1st - or more likely 2nd - in the Big West conference.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Dirtbags Featured In Baseball America Weekend Recap

From the Baseball America Weekend Recap 5/13-5/15:
College Weekend Recap: 5/13-5/15

by Will Kimmey
May 16, 2005

The cliche goes that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. But winning close means everything in baseball, because it serves as great practice for the postseason by testing a team's resolve.

Florida State and Long Beach State each demonstrated mental toughness in winning stomach-turning tight conference series over the weekend. Florida State swept North Carolina, winning the final two games in their last at-bat to run their season record in one-run games to 9-3. FSU is 7-2 in games decided by two runs. Long Beach State has played 21 games decided by a run, winning 14 of them--including Sunday's 2-1 victory to clinch the series against Cal Poly....

Long Beach State's series with Cal Poly meant just as much [as Florida State's]. After splitting a pair of 4-1 games to open the series, Long Beach State won the clincher 2-1 Sunday to reinforce its 2.24 team ERA as the nation's best. Sophomore righthander Jared Hughes held Cal Poly to a run over the first 5 1/3 innings, handing a 2-1 off to senior righthanders Brian Anderson and Neil Jamison to shut things down.

Winning two of three against the Mustangs moved the Dirtbags into second place in the Big West Conference at 13-5 heading into this weekend's series at top-ranked Cal State Fullerton. Long Beach State remains the only team to defeat Fullerton in a series this season, and that was a nonconference set in which two games were decided by one run and the other was a two-run affair.

A second series win for Long Beach State could lead it to usurp the regional host spot many have pegged for Fullerton. Meanwhile, Florida State could enhance its hopes of serving as a host with a series win at No. 22 North Carolina State. Expect plenty of close games, as Fullerton (11-5) and N.C. State (12-3) have also fared extremely well in games decided by two runs or fewer.
Let the games begin!

Draft Report On Troy Tulowitzki With Audio Interview

Troy Draft Central has this on Troy Tulowitzki. At the top of the linked page is a link to a great 10 minute interview on "Around the Minors" of Tulo:
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Long Beach State
"Tulo" has been an outstanding college player, one who could make it to the big leagues quickly. He's compared frequently to Crosby, and not just because Crosby was LBSU's shortstop, too. They have similar body types and games. Tulowitzki will be able to stay at shortstop defensively and should show some power at the position. The comparison could be a positive and a negative. It's never bad to be compared to an American League Rookie of the Year, but there might be some who think Tulowitzki gets overhyped because of the apparent similarities. He played very well for Team USA last summer, beating out Georgia Tech's Tyler Greene for the starting job.

Scott Boras On Jered Weaver's Status

In Baseball America's pre-Draft blog, John Manuel says:
Agent Scott Boras says, "Never say never," but he indicates 2004 first-round picks Stephen Drew and [former Dirtbag] Jered Weaver will likely go back into the draft for 2005. Weaver, drafted 12th overall by the Angels, is close to throwing simulated games at Boras' baseball complex.

Todd Jennings Goes 5 for 5 In San Jose Giants Win

From the San Jose Giants (Class Advance-A California League) website:

[Former Dirtbag] Todd Jennings finished a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate helping the San Jose Giants to a series-opening 6-2 victory over the Stockton Ports on Monday night. In front of 1,957 fans at Municipal Stadium, Jennings' big night was part of a 14-hit offensive attack for the Giants. Starting pitcher Jesse Floyd also tossed five shutout innings on the mound to record his third victory of the season. ...

Jennings then drove home Timpner with a single. After [Former Dirtbag] John Bowker singled to move Jennings to second, Eddy Martinez-Esteve lined a single into center field plating Jennings with the second run of the inning. #5 hitter Kevin Frandsen completed the rally with a single of his own to center field to score Bowker for a 3-0 Giants advantage.

San Jose extended their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Timpner doubled with two outs. After a Jennings infield single moved Timpner to third, the San Jose center fielder came home to score when Bowker grounded a single through the left side. ...

The perfect night at the plate for Jennings (5-for-5, 2 2B, RBI) raised his average to 29 points to .290 on the season. Timpner (2-for-5, 2B, 3B), Bowker (2-for-5, RBI), and Martinez-Esteve (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI) also each recorded multi-hit games.

Jennings recorded the RBI single in the first inning, a double in the second inning, an infield single in the bottom of the fourth, a single in the sixth inning, and then completed his evening with a double off of the wall in left field in the bottom of the eighth. The five hits tied a San Jose Giants single-game franchise record held by 19 players (22 different times). Martinez-Esteve (April 17th at Lake Elsinore) and Eliezer Alfonzo (April 18th at High Desert) also accomplished the feat earlier this season for the Giants.

San Jose has now won 21 out of their last 28 games. The Giants (23-14) are four games ahead of second-place Bakersfield (18-17) in the First Half North Division race....
UPDATE: Todd's performance got him a mention in Baseball America's Daily Dish today:
Giants third baseman Todd Jennings is doing much better in his second go-around at high Class A San Jose. A former catcher, Jennings went 5-for-5 last night in the Giants' 6-2 win over Stockton, increasing his season totals to .290-4-17. A second-round pick in 2003 out of Long Beach State, Jennings hit just .186-1-12 in 45 games for San Jose last season while dealing with a shoulder injury.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Cesar Ramos Is Big West Pitcher of the Week....Again!

For the 3rd time this season, Cesar Ramos has been named Big West Pitcher of the Week.

The Beach Moves To 14th In Sports Weekly/ESPN Poll

The Sports Weekly/ESPN coaches poll lists the Dirtbags 14th this week, up from 15th last.

Baseball America's Tracking The Top 25

Here's BA's comments on Long Beach State from the Top 25 Tracking:
Last Week: 2-1. Overall: 35-17, 13-5 in Big West. (6-3 vs. Top 25).
Long Beach State earned a victory in a tight series, moving to within 1.5 games of Fullerton. Sr. relievers Brian Anderson and Neil Jamison combined for 3.2 scoreless innings Sunday to nail down the win. Jr. LHP Cesar Ramos reached double-digit victories for the second straight season Friday, when he took a shutout into the ninth inning. CF Sean Boatright's hit streak ended Saturday at 27 games, second longest in school history.
May 13-15: Cal Poly: W 4-1, L 4-1, W 2-1
May 20-22: @ Cal State Fullerton (1)

Judge For Yourself...

As I described here, the Beach was awarded a double play in the 8th inning Sunday on batter's interference. Here's what happened:
As Cal. Poly's Brandon Roberts attempted to steal 2nd in the 8th inning on Sunday, Neil Jamison struck out Jimmy Van Ostrand. Van Ostrand then interfered with Chris Jones' attempt to throw to 2nd. The ump ruled Roberts out on Van Ostrand's interference for a double play. On anything other than a strikeout, Van Ostrand would have been called out, and Roberts sent back to first.
Cal. Poly Coach Larry Lee disputed the call. Here's his comments in the L. A. Times:
"We played with them all weekend," Cal Poly Coach Larry Lee said. "The catcher bobbled the ball and had no chance of throwing him out. That's not a call you make in a situation like that."
And here's how the rule (Rule 7, Section 11) reads in the 2005 NCAA Baseball Rules [pdf]:
SECTION 11. A batter is out when:

...f. The batter intentionally or unintentionally interferes with the catcher's fielding or throwing by stepping out of the batter's box or making any other movement that hinders a defensive player's action at home plate.

PENALTY for f.-The runner(s) return to the base occupied at the time of interference;

...(3) If the batter also should strike out on the play, it is a double play....
I'll have to disagree with Coach Lee. To my reading, whether or not a catcher has a realistic chance to throw out the runner has no application to the rule. But readers can make their own judgment.

Dirtbags' RPI Now #19

Losing 2 of 3 to UCSB cost Long Beach State 3 spots in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), as they fell from 18th to 21st. Taking 2 of 3 from Cal. Poly got 2 spots back, as the Beach now sits at #19 in RPI (psuedo-RPI published by Boyd's World).

The Dirtbags' Iterative Strength Rating (ISR - Boyd's Worlds' alternative to the RPI) held at 6th, but their Strength of Schedule (SOS) jumped from 10th to 7th!

Will Kimmey's Comments On The Dirtbags Regional Hosting Prospects

From the Baseball America College Baseball Chat today:
Q: steve from rancho santa margarita, ca asks:
if long beach state wins 2 out of 3 at fullerton and ends up at 15-6 in big west play, they could be in 3rd if cal poly wins out. would you see them still hosting with them having a high national ranking despite a 3rd place finish in the big west?

A: Will Kimmey:
That's a neat scenario, but it seems the committee might factor two series wins vs. Fullerton and one against Baylor into the equation. Cal Poly is clearly the third team in that league, and I think people will recognize that and you'd see Fullerton and Beach seeded higher even if things ended as you describe. The two SoCal schools obviously have beaten Poly (still a solid team) head to head and have faced much more difficult schedules. Long Beach might well steal Fullerton's hosting thunder if it were to win its second series of the year against the Titans.

Hmmm..That's Odd...

...This mean absolutely nothing, but I just noticed that the Dirtbags team batting average is .287 both overall, and conference only. And their team ERA is 2.24 overall, and conference only.

Neil Jamison Featured In Hometown Paper

From the North County Times (San Diego County):
Former Ramona pitcher posts 0.00 ERA for 49ers

By: JOHN MAFFEI - Staff Writer

Neil Jamison doesn't have an intimidating mustache. He doesn't stand on the pitcher's mound and glare at hitters. And he doesn't have that one overpowering pitch that blows hitters away.

What the Long Beach State senior right-hander does have is a good slider, command of an 89-92 mph fastball and an ERA of 0.00.

In 23 appearances covering 23 2/3 innings, the former Ramona High star is 4-0 with 11 saves. He has 21 strikeouts and has walked only two. Jamison has established himself as the top closer in college baseball.

"I wanted to be a starter this season, but we didn't have anyone else to close," Jamison said. "So I inherited the role in the fall and did pretty well.

"The bottom line is that I want to get to Omaha and the College World Series, so I'll do whatever it takes to help the team."

The fact Jamison is back at Long Beach this season is news.

Drafted in the eighth round by the New York Mets last season, Jamison passed on the opportunity to play pro ball and is now three classes short of graduating with a degree in criminal justice.

"It's not that I didn't want to sign, it was more about coming back to school, working with my pitching coach (Troy Buckley) and trying to get better," Jamison said. "As a closer, I'm basically a fastball-slider guy. But I want to develop a better change-up and be more consistent against left-handed hitters."

After earning another save Sunday against Cal Poly, Jamison has faced 81 hitters and allowed only 13 hits.

"Neil's a very mature young man, a guy I who I respect a lot," Buckley said. "We don't hold players back here, and I never felt Neil wasn't ready for pro ball. But he struggled a little down the stretch last season, and that put a bad taste in his mouth.

"Honestly, his ability to battle back, his fortitude, have made him a billboard for our program. And there is no doubt in my mind that he'll play pro ball and put up numbers."

There is no question Jamison will be drafted. His numbers say he's better than an eighth-rounder, but as a senior with no options remaining but to sign a pro contract, he could slip.

Beach Back In Baseball America's Top 10

The Dirtbags moved up in the Baseball America rankings from 12th to 10th, on the strength of their series win over Cal. Poly. Oddly, they held at 13th in the Collegiate Baseball rankings, even though Cal. Poly was ranked 19th by that publication last week. Cal. Poly was not ranked by Baseball America (this week or last), and falls from 19th to 29th in Collegiate Baseball.