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NCAA tournament: Long Beach State vs. San Diego State

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Aztecs take on a national power in their opener.

Long Beach State athletics

Matt Kennerly's previous post on the Long Beach State Dirtbags was a good one but you that read my stuff know it is a bit different. I think I'll add a few points to give an idea of how I look at the upcoming game. I'll write it just like I do when previewing the OOC schedule for MWC teams way back when.

HItting isn't the big deal with the Dirtbags but it's at least decent (.273). They have three .300 hitters in Ramsey Romero (.338 and 2), Lucas Tancas (.312 and 9), and David Banuelos (.303 and 7). That's not a lot of hitting but of the three hitters that I've listed, two have significant pop; Banuelos with 7 home runs and Tancas with 9. Then again, the opposition hit 12 more home runs than did Long Beach State. What do you take from that? I don't know but others in the lineup will have to step it up a bit to make the host team winners.

Pitching IS the big deal. The team ERA is 3.08 which is about a run and a half better than the opposition. The rotation is solid as Dave Smith (8-1 and 1.55) and Darren McCaughan (8-2 and 2.66) lead the way. The number three starter is no slouch as John Sheaks (7-3 and 3.97) had 15 starts.

McCaughan led the staff in strike outs with 94 which was close to 50 more than anyone else. I think he'll throw Friday. The bullpen is in good hands with Josh Advocate (great name) and Al Jones setting it up for closer Chris Rivera (1-2 and 2.51 and 11 saves). Rivera also had 41 strike outs in 28 IP which is very good. P

itching is solid and the Aztecs have to figure a way how to solve it and you know how I feel about pitching. Aztecs are a solid team all around and have already shown the Dirtbags they can play. Should be a good game.

WHEN: Friday, June 2 — 8:30 PM PT

WHERE: Blair Field; Long Beach, CA

HOW TO WATCH: ESPN2