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REGIONAL PREVIEW: LONG BEACH & SAN DIEGO
May 29, 2007

Long Beach | San Diego

SCS.com After a stellar 43-win regular season, San Diego was awarded a top eight national seed and will host this week's regional play across town at San Diego State's Tony Gwynn Stadium. Perennial power Cal State-Fullerton will play as the two seed, while Minnesota and Fresno State come in as the three and four, respectively. Matched up with the San Diego regional is the Long Beach regional, featuring host team Long Beach State. The Dirtbags, a well-known name in college baseball themselves, will host second-seeded UCLA and third-seeded Pepperdine, both in-state rivals, as well as Horizon League champ Illinois-Chiciago. The winners of these two regionals advance to next weekend's Super Regionals, with the winner of that three-game series advancing to Omaha.

LONG BEACH REGIONAL
  vs San Diego Regional

The Field

(1) Long Beach State
An at-large selection, the well-known Dirtbags host once again after finishing the regular season 37-18 and tied for second place in the Big West conference with a 15-6 league mark.
(2) UCLA
A team that faded down the stretch by losing three straight series to end the season, UCLA heads about a half-hour south and brings in a 30-26 overall mark following a third place Pac-10 finish.
(3) Pepperdine
Despite a better RPI than the Bruins, Pepperdine is the third seed on the Beach after the Waves went 35-20 overall and 14-7 in West Coast Conference play this season to earn the at-large bid.
(4) Illinois-Chicago
The only automatic selection of the four in Long Beach, the Flames enter regional play after an impressive 21-6 Horizon League campaign that saw them win both the regular season and tournament titles.

The Venue

Blair Field, the home to Dirtbag baseball since 1993, is operated by the City of Long Beach, and next season will mark its 50th in existence. Upgrades in recent years include the $80,000 edition of over 700 box seats and the $275,000 construction of a brand new scoreboard. In addition to hosting the park's largest single-game crowd ever of more than 3000 against Cal State-Fullerton in 1996 and the school's first ever regional in 2003, Blair Field has also been the home to MTV's Rock & Jock softball games and various other television productions.

The Best

Starting Pitcher - Barry Enright, Pepperdine - A junior and former WCC Freshman of the Year, Enright is 12-4 on the year with a stellar 1.73 ERA. In 125 innings pitched, he has struck out 85 while walking just 13.
Runner-up: Tyson Brummeett, UCLA
Relief Pitcher - Bryan Shaw, Long Beach State - The sophomore right-hander has made 29 appearances this season, picking up 10 saves while compiling a 6-2 record and 2.53 ERA.
Runner-up: David Cales, Illinois-Chicago
Infielder - Shane Peterson, Long Beach State - The sophomore, who also occassionally pitches for LBSU, hit .344 at the plate this spring with 4 homeruns and a stellar .982 fielding percentage.
Runner-up: Alden Carrithers, UCLA
Outfielder - Gabe Cohen, UCLA - The Bruins' true freshman has been outstanding, hitting at a .357 clip with 10 homeruns, a .573 slugging percentage, and a .420 onbase percentage.
Runner-up: Larry Gempp Jr., Illinois-Chicago & Adrian Ortiz, Pepperdine
Homerun Hitter - Cody Decker, UCLA - The only guy in the regional with more than 10 dingers this year, the sophomore has knocked out 13 bombs on the campaign while also hitting for a .312 average.
Runner-up: Gabe Cohen, UCLA
Coach - Mike Weathers, Long Beach State - The Dirtbags' skipper has been on campus since 2001 and has guided the squad to multiple Regionals, Super Regionals, 40-win seasons, and high conferences finishes.
Runner-up: John Savage, UCLA

The Forecast

The homestanding Dirtbags are obviously the favorite in Long Beach, but in-state rivals UCLA and Pepperdine are certainly capable of getting the job done. The Bruins survived a brutal non-conference record to get this far by doing well in league play, while the Waves are a team that was actually projected as a two seed for much of the campaign.
This regional seems remarkably absent of star players, so it'll have to be a full weekend team effort for whoever advances. While this is a very good Dirtbag team, they are not unbeatable by any means. Assuming LBSU can get by the Flames on Friday, the winner of the UCLA/Pepperdine matchup that same day will have a great shot to pull the upset out west.

The Predictions

Eddie Jimmy Jonathan
Long Beach State Pepperdine Long Beach State

SAN DIEGO REGIONAL
  vs Long Beach Regional

The Field

(1) San Diego [#8]
The Torreros have been solid all season, jumping out to a quick start to the campaign and never letting up on their way to an 18-3 record in the WCC and a well-deserved national seed.
(2) Cal State-Fullerton
By Titan standards, it's been a down season out west as CSF went just 10-11 in Big West play and is only 33-23 overall, but this is still a very dangerous team come the month of June.
(3) Minnesota
A quality record of 18-9 in the Big Ten and an overall mark of 40-16 earned the Gophers one of the field's final berths and a trip out west to face some of the nation's best teams.
(4) Fresno State
The Bulldogs, who won both the regular season and WAC tournament titles, earned the conference's automatic bid after going 17-7 in league play and 36-27 overall this spring.

The Venue

San Diego State graciously allowed their cross-town rivals use of Tony Gwynn Stadium, ranked as one of the top five college baseball facilities in the country by Baseball America, for NCAA postseason play. SDSU opened the $4 million stadium for play in 1997, and it, of course, is named in honor of the former Aztec and San Diego Padre star outfielder. With capacity at around 3000, expect the house to be full when the Torreros hit the field this weekend.

The Best

Starting Pitcher - Brian Matusz, San Diego - The sophomore from Arizona has put together a stellar season, winning ten games and losing just three while compiling a 2.73 ERA and striking out 156 batters in 115 innings.
Runner-up: Jef Kaplan and Wes Roemer, Cal State-Fullerton
Relief Pitcher - A.J. Griffin, San Diego - Just a true freshman, Griffin has been awesome out of the pen, throwing in 33 games this year, compiling a 6-1 record and 2.63 ERA, and saving 11 games.
Runner-up: Adam Jorgenson, Cal State-Fullerton
Infielder - Clark Hardman, Cal State-Fullerton - Hardman, a junior, leads Fullerton with a .378 average at the plate, and his fielding percentage of .978 is extremely solid in the field.
Runner-up: Justin Snyder, San Diego
Outfielder - Mike Mee, Minnesota - Though he spends much of his time in the DH slot, Mee is a terror at the plate with a .397 average. His 1.000 fielding percentage isn't too shabby either.
Runner-up: Shane Buschini, San Diego
Homerun Hitter - Steve Susdorf, Fresno State - Only San Diego's Buschini has hit more longballs than this guy, who also boasts a .345 average at the plate to go with his 12 round-trippers.
Runner-up: Nate Hanson, Minnesota
Coach - George Horton, Cal State-Fullerton - While the Titans are having a down year, it's hard to match the success of Horton, who has put together numerous conference championships and 50-win seasons to go along with his 2004 national title.
Runner-up: Rich Hill, San Diego

The Forecast

As surprising as some may find it to be that San Diego has earned a national seed, it is equally surprising that they'll be welcoming in rival Cal State-Fullerton as the regional's second seeded team. Will the Titans get things together in time for a postseason run, or will the Torreros continue to show why they're one of the nation's top-ranked teams?
And what about Minnesota? The Gophers had quality results in the Big Ten, but how will that translate when they head out west for regional activity? Can they and Fresno State make any kind of run, or will it be a battle between USD and CSF for a super regional berth?

The Predictions

Eddie Jimmy Jonathan
San Diego San Diego San Diego
U.S.A.
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