Friday, May 7, 2010

Stanford series: Convo with Coach Marquess

LBSU takes on Stanford this evening for the first of three non-conference games with the Cardinal.

I chatted with Stanford's hall of fame coach Wednesday morning and here's what transpired.

This will be an extremely meaningful series for me as I grew up in Palo Alto just a few minutes from Stanford's campus and my love for baseball can really be traced back to going to Cardinal games as a kid.

First pitch tonight is at 6:30. I'll be at Blair Sunday. For updates follow me here on Twitter.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mired in Mediocrity

It's better to be average than bad. But it sure would be nice to be better than simply mediocre.

Such is the conundrum of Long Beach State's two biggest men's teams.

The basketball team followed up a 15-15 campaign in 2008-2009 with a 17-16 season in 2009-2010.

The Dirtbags are 20-20. They aren't cellar-dwellers and in the case of the basketball team they have come a long way from the six wins in Coach Monson's first season but the Boys of Blair have been a perennial power for the last two decades.

Now they can't get over the hump since their disappointing early exit from the regional they hosted at the end of the 2008 season.

Last year's squad was the first to finish under the .500 mark in the Dirtbag era (circa 1989) and the 2010 version has three home series left against Stanford, Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine - three of the best team's on the West Coast.

LBSU is 9-10 at home, 11-10 on the road and 7-8 in Big West play. In other words, they're staying afloat.


Devin Lohman is putting together quite a junior season for "Shortstop U." His .420 batting average is more than 70 points better than anyone else and it will be real interesting to see what happens with him come draft time.

The big boys in the middle of the line-up - Tinoco and Terdoslavich - each have 40 RBI's and are hitting .348 and .335 respectively.

The line-up has produced much more than early in the season but there is not enough consistency from top to bottom or enough sure-fire run producing since the running game has been greatly reduced (46 SB's) and there's not a ton of pop with this group (20 HR's).

Drew Gagnon has pitched very well (2.82 ERA) but doesn't have the record to show for it (5-4) in large part since he has had to assume the role of Friday night starter and gets continually matched against the opponent's best guy.

Jake Thompson has struggled with his consistency. He has all the talent in the world with that power arm but has to keep his fastball down and avoid the big inning.

Branden Pinder has pitched pretty well as the Sunday guy but like Gagnon has had some tough luck getting on the right side of the decision.

Eddie Magallon and Nate Underwood have pitched fine in spot starts or long relief but the bullpen as a whole has struggled to really hold down opposing teams.


LBSU has the schedule left to make a late postseason push. They have 14 games remaining, and nine in conference.

They are currently 67th in the RPI  and strong performances against the Cardinal (39th), Titans (12th) and Anteaters (42nd) could get them into the NCAA Tournament but they really need to be clicking on all cylinders and it may take at least ten more wins to get them into contention.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Weekend Wrap: Wichita State

After being shutout and beatdown Friday night the Dirtbags (7-7) rallied to take their three-game series with the 21st-ranked Shockers of Wichita State (10-3) by winning the next two contests and earn some much-needed confidence.

In the series finale sophomore transfer Joey Terdoslavich led the way by going 3-for-4 and driving in three runs. Devin Lohman added a couple of hits and the pitching of Branden Pinder enabled the Dirtbags to record the 7-3 victory.

For Pinder (1-3) it was his first win at LBSU and couldn't have come at a better time as three straight losses had put him in danger of losing his hold on the Sunday starter spot. He gave up just one run on six hits in seven innings of work, quieting the loud Shocker sticks.

After WSU cut the Dirtbag lead to 2-1 in the fourth, LBSU rebounded with one in the bottom half and four in the fifth to take control of the game.

Kellen Hoime was the hero for The Beach Saturday night going 3-for-3 and driving in two-runs with a big hit in the eighth inning rally that put the Dirtbags ahead for good.

Derek Legg also plated two in the four-run LBSU eighth that erased a 4-3 deficit and sent the Dirtbags to a potential season altering win.

Terdoslavich added three hits and Brennan Metzger had two. Jake Thompson gave up four runs (three earned) in seven innings of work. He struck out seven WSU batters but didn't get a decision. Closer David Brown (2-0) got the win in relief.

It was all Shockers Friday night, as they dominated the Dirtbags and took the opener 8-0. Drew Gagnon struck out 12 but WSU starter Tim Kelley was masterful and a big three-run bomb from Shocker Ryan Jones was more than enough insurance for the victory.

Terdoslavich was named Big West Player of the Week after providing the game-winning hit last Tuesday against SDSU and notching seven hits over the weekend.

LBSU plays at Loyola Marymount this afternoon at 3 p.m.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Weekend Wrap: University of Washington

Another Pac-10 team was in the third base dugout and the tough times continued. The Huskies took two of three from Long Beach dropping the Boys of Blair to 4-6 and just 1-5 at home against Pac-10 foes so far this season.

In the rubber game Sunday Long Beach took an early 2-0 lead but Andrew Kittredge, Washington's starter and weekend warrior, settled in and held on for a 6-4 win.

Sophomore Drew Gagnon was the hero for The Beach Saturday afternoon going the distance in a 3-1 LBSU win that may push him to the Friday start next week. Gagnon gave up just one unearned run, allowing a meager three hits and striking out four Huskies batters.

It was his first career complete game and a huge boost after Friday night's heartbreaker. Brennan Metzger was the only Dirtbag with two hits, adding a run scored and an RBI.

Friday night was one to forget for The Beach. They led 6-0 after three and 9-4 after five but a seven-run Huskies seventh pushed UW to an 11-9 win.

Metzger added three more hits and two RBI's while Kellen Hoime had two of each and Jordan Casas also recorded a multi-hit game.

Jake Thompson struggled for a second straight start and was unable to make it out of the fourth.

LBSU hosts the Aztecs of San Diego State tomorrow night before finishing the homestand with three games against the Wichita State Shockers.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mid-week Wrap: Dirtbags drop two

LBSU (3-4) played Tuesday and Wednesday night at Blair losing 10-5 to USC and 4-2 to Waseda University from Japan.

Playing with wooden bats Wednesday night in an exhibition game against Waseda the Dirtbags fell 4-2.

Tuesday night's game was one for the ages. Five homers - three from the visiting Trojans - were slammed out of cavernous Blair Field. The historic 7th street ballpark is one of the most spacious in the country and plays even bigger at night when the heavy air usually holds flyballs from carrying out. But USC blasted three, including a pair of three-run bombs in the third to grab a 7-3 lead it would not relinquish after LBSU took a 3-0 lead in the second.

Branden Pinder and Eddie Magallon gave up all ten runs but only four were earned as two Dirtbag errors proved very costly.

Kellen Hoime and Joey Terdoslavich went deep for LBSU but it was not enough.

The Dirtbags host the University of Washington this weekend.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Weekend Wrap: University of Arizona

Rain cancelled Sunday's final game but a little desert air was just what the doctor ordered for those dormant Dirtbag bats on Friday and Saturday.

Devin Lohman and Steve Tinoco led the way Saturday with three hits apiece as LBSU took the series with a 10-3 win.

Tinoco added three RBI's and Drew Gagnon gave up just one earned run in six innings to get the win. A four-run LBSU third blew the game open for the Dirtbags.

Facing a seemingly insurmountable 4-0 deficit after just one frame Friday night the LBSU bats kept chipping away and completed their comeback in the ninth with an 8-7 win.

Jonathan Jones had four of a season-high 16 Dirtbag hits and Tinoco added three more.

With a run in the seventh and eighth and two in the ninth, LBSU got the win they so desperately needed.

Jake Thompson was let off the hook after giving up seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits in just five innings. Four Dirtbag relievers held U of A the rest of the way enabling LBSU to steal the victory.

Long Beach hosts USC Tuesday night at home as they kick off a season-high nine game homestand.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bruins dominate Dirtbags at Blair

Garett Claypool has the Dirtbags number and the UCLA bats continued to roar en route to a 10-1 thumping of LBSU Tuesday night at Blair Field.

The 17th-ranked Bruins have scored more than ten runs in each of their four contests this season. The Beach? Not more than two. That is reflected in their records as UCLA is a perfect 4-0 and LBSU fell to 1-3.

I've got the full rundown here including Coach Weathers postgame reaction. Here's the audio link.

The Dirtbags hit the road this weekend for three games with the University of Arizona.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Weekend Wrap: Pepperdine, Oregon & CSUF

After starting the season off with a bang the Dirtbags dropped their final two weekend contests.

On Sunday Long Beach went to Fullerton's Goodwin Field looking to reverse a bitter end to last year's season by upending the Titans in a rare, early season showdown. But #3 CSUF continued their recent dominance over the Dirtbags with an 8-1 rout. Steve Tinoco broke out of his early 0-for-8 slump going 3-for-4 and Jordan Casas added a pair of hits but for the second straight day seven LBSU hits weren't nearly enough.

Fullerton starter Tyler Pill outdueled Long Beach's Braden Pinder, making his first start in the black and gold, and a late inning offensive barrage by the rival Titans doomed the Dirtbags.

Oregon was the winner Saturday night at Blair by a 6-2 score. Drew Gagnon surrendered five runs in five and two-thirds and LBSU could not string together enough hits pushing across just one in the second and the eighth.

The Dirtbags are back in action at Blair Tuesday night when they host the UCLA Bruins.