5:34pm | The two teams you will watch this weekend play a college baseball series have arrived from very different directions. Oregon State and their modest skipper Pat Casey are 13-3 and used lightly-regarded Virginia Military Institute for target practice last weekend and ended up a 5-1 winner. The featured Beaver was catcher Andrew Susac, who extended his hitting streak to 12 (and the team has won a Pac-10 best 10 consecutive games).
Locals say that Susac hitting safely is as predictable as March rain in the Willamette Valley. (Or that OSU schedules soft in their out-of-conference wanderings.) The Beavers' glitzy early season record was compiled, as they said on the OSU website, “mostly against palookas who couldn't play dead in a western. ... no offense, Hartford…and one of the subplots to the VMI victory was what on earth is VMI doing traveling to Corvallis, OR for pre-season baseball?”
And now for the unpredictable ones, that would be Long Beach State (9-7, 2.86 era), who was a mid-pack pick in the Big West pre-season. But the Dirtbags have suddenly figured out this game, winning 6 of their last 7 with five wins over top 25 teams--Fullerton, Arizona, Rice, and Oregon (twice). On Tuesday, while the Beavers had an off day, the ‘Niners traveled to the U with a View, Pepperdine, and won 7-5 in 12 innings with some nice closing arguments from Eddie Magallon, who got the win, and Nate Underwood, who earned the save. The offense was a mixture of mostly new ‘Niners, Mike Marjama (whose RBI double provided the winning run), Johnny Bekakis, Matt Hibbert and Jeff Yamaguchi. The veteran punch came, believe or not, from the scratch-hitting Kirk Singer, who banged a solo home run and RBI single as the Dirtbags set a season high with 14 hits. Game one pitchers will be the TGIG guy (thank goodness it is Gagnon) Drew of the 2-2 record and terrific 1.30 ERA, and the Beavs’ 3-0 righty Sam Gaviglio with his 3.0 ERA. Pinder on Saturday and TBA on Sunday for the Beach. Despite pitching against four Top 20 opponents, Drew has allowed just four earned runs all season over 27.2 innings, and his ERA is second-best in the Big West.
HOOPLESS DUST—This note from the OSU blog: “Normal flights for the Oregon State baseball team means the Beavers hitch a ride to their destination most times via Alaska Airlines, Horizon Airlines or Southwest Airlines. On Thursday, however, the Beavers flew Cameron Fujimoto’s favorite JetBlue which enabled the members of the team to watch TV on the flight down south on the first day of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.”…
Okay – with the big roundball put away for a while, we can re-open our franchise for all things diamond—including softball. For your Blackberry, blueberry, strawberry or loganberry softball has a Friday to Sunday tourney date at the Judi Garman Tournament in Fullerton where they will play DePaul, RuPaul (just testing you), Louisiana-Lafayette, Illinois and San Jose State. Look for Mr. and Mrs. OT in their lavish motor home serving up hot TV and sold beverages in the CSUF parking lot… The ladies (16-8) just hosted their Long Beach Marriott Tournament at Mayfair and lost to BYU, 2-0. They also lost to No. 10 UCLA, 7-3 but won three straight when they beat Sacramento State, 2-1 (9), Utah State, 2-0 and mercy ruled Saint Mary’s, 9-0 (5). Since her dad allows her to carry a bat with her glove, Erin Jones-Wesley threw her second no-hitter of the year in the 2-0 win over Utah State and double in a GWRBI. Thankfully, after she hits they put in a pinch runner-slider-body slammer… Just nice to say, CSUF is now (8-7) and committed 10 errors last weekend against LSU leaving the Titans winless on their road trip, the first such down streak since May 2, 2007.
Former Dirtbag superfan Ron Vogel keeps moving on up… He is the former Criminal Justice Department Chair and Dean of the College of Health and Human Services at CSULB, then Vice President of Academic Affairs at CSU Dominguez Hills and now the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the whole CSU… Wife and ace scorebook keeper Dr. Brenda Vogel ain’t leaving her box seats for such nonsense… This is the other Oregon school, so hopefully none of George Horton's granddaughters with their duck calls will be here. Event management, citing an NCAA rule on artificial noisemakers, put the kids in the Blair penalty box… Close with a quote from ex-Bag and Washington Nationals’ opening day second baseman Danny Espinosa: "I realized the adjustments you have to make," Espinosa said. "You have to make them a lot faster. You can't look at it and think, 'Well, they're not going to pick up on that, they're just one team.' But that one team has the same video that all the other teams had and the same scouting reports that all the other teams had, so they all know what they have to do to get you out until you make that adjustment. And then when you make that adjustment, well they're going to try something else. So the word gets around a lot quicker."