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Baseball America Previews The Long Beach Regional


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Welcome to Dirtbags Baseball blog! I was introduced to Long Beach State baseball in 2002 when my nephew, Neil Jamison, joined the team (and university) as a freshman. I started the blog in March of 2004, and generally discuss the team, current players and those that have moved on to professional baseball - as Neil has done in the San Diego Padres organization. Living in San Diego County, and with Neil moving to the next level, I won't be attending as many Dirtbags games. But, mostly from a distance, I'll remain a Dirtbags fan. I welcome tips on stories and information concerning the Dirtbags (current, past and future). I can be contacted at


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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Baseball America Previews The Long Beach Regional

This from Baseball America:
NCAA Regional Preview: Long Beach

By Will Kimmey
June 2, 2005

1. Long Beach State 36-20, at-large, tied for second in Big West, 16th NCAA tournament, fifth consecutive appearance
2. Southern California 37-19, at-large, tied for third in Pacific-10, 36th NCAA tournament
3. Pepperdine 38-21, automatic, won West Coast Conference regular season and tournament, 22nd NCAA tournament, third consecutive appearance
4. Rhode Island 34-19, won Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament, first NCAA tournament

Player To Watch: Three juniors in this regional will be first-round picks Tuesday: Long Beach State shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and lefthander Cesar Ramos and Southern California catcher Jeff Clement. But the pivotal player is one that will be a first-rounder next year, USC sophomore righthander Ian Kennedy (11-2, 2.44). He's averaged 12.12 strikeouts per nine innings for his career; a former Trojans All-American named Mark Prior averaged 11.52.

The Favorite: The records and strength of schedule are pretty much a wash for the top two seeds, but Southern California gets the edge on the road after winning all three games it played against Long Beach State this season, even if the wins came by a total of four runs. Kennedy beat Ramos head-to-head at Long Beach State in February, and he'll need to do so again. Clement (.353/.482/.632) serves as the fulcrum in a young but opportunistic offense. He hit 13 of the team's 41 home runs.
Wins are wins, and losses are losses. But I think it would be a mistake to place too much store in the 3 losses Long Beach State suffered at the hands of the Trojans. The 1st 2, coming at the low point in the season for the Dirtbags (the Cal. sweep followed immediately thereafter), had Troy Tulowitzki and Sean Boatright both out with injuries. They also came when the 49ers were playing their worst defense. The 1st game was lost 4-3, and the difference was an unearned run [ Story. Box Score]. In the 2nd game, lost 7-5, the Beach gave up 4 unearned runs [ Story. Box Score]. The defense has since risen to 30th best in D-I (at .970).
On The Other Hand: Long Beach State really could be dubbed the co-favorite. It's playing at home a year after going on the road and toppling No. 1 seed Stanford, so there's no adversity it can't overcome. Its 2.44 ERA led the nation because of the weekend rotation of Ramos (2.27) and righthanders Marco Estrada (2.27) and Jared Hughes (2.83) and a senior bullpen of righthanders Neil Jamison (0.00) and Brian Anderson (0.88). Tulowitzki (.355/.431/.603) leads the offense in those three categories despite missing 20 games with a broken hamate bone.

Bracket Buster: Pepperdine's resume would have resulted in at least a No. 2 seed if Malibu was on the East Coast. The Waves beat Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, Oregon State, South Carolina, Tulane and Winthrop during the regular season. Sophomore catcher Chad Tracy (son of Dodgers manager Jim Tracy) batted .363/.419/.617 and led the WCC in slugging and homers (12). Senior first baseman Steve Kleen batted .353 and recorded 15 saves as the closer for a weekend rotation that combined for 28 wins, led by junior lefty Paul Coleman (9-2, 2.99 with a .212 average against).

Don't Forget About: Rhode Island won its first conference title after pacing the A10 in batting (.318) and ERA (3.69), ranking among the top 25 nationally in those categories as well. Six regulars posted on-base percentages better than .400, and senior right fielder Matt Sullivan hit 13 homers. Junior lefthander Zack Zuercher ranked third in the conference with 99 strikeouts in 83 innings, and should pose an interesting opening starter for Long Beach State to face.

posted on 6/02/2005 by Jeff Agnew

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