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Dirtbags head north to face UC Davis in Big West series

April 6, 2010

Long Beach, Calif. -

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Leading Off
After shifting last week's schedule up, Long Beach State gets a second straight week without a midweek game, but resumes its normal weekend schedule with a series against UC Davis beginning on Friday, April 9. The Dirtbags start the series against the Aggies with a 2 p.m. start on Friday, return at the same time Saturday and then close the series at 1 p.m. Sunday before returning home for one game at home on April 13, playing Loyola Marymount at 6:30 p.m.

Four Straight
Long Beach State continued its streak of taking weekend series last weekend, taking two of three from Pacific to give the Dirtbags four series wins in a row and five out of six on the year. Long Beach State started the weekend with a strong pitching performance from Andrew Gagnon, but ultimately fell 2-1 Thursday after two ninth inning runs for the Tigers. Long Beach State flipped the script the next two days, however, falling behind early before exploding for two huge eighth innings in a 13-4 and 8-2 wins Friday and Saturday. The Dirtbags, leading 5-4 Friday, scored eight runs in the eighth before scoring seven Saturday to rally from a 2-1 defecit. Kirk Singer hit .625 for the series and Devin Lohman had seven hits to lead the Dirtbags.

Scouting UC Davis
UC Davis enters the week with a .500 record and was swept by Cal State Fullerton in the opening weekend of their Big West schedule, but still has a fairly strong RPI at 139. The Aggies got their biggwest wins at the start of the seasonw tih a series win over Utah, but dropped series to BYU at home as well as road series to Fresno State and the Titans. Dayne Quist has anchored the rotation for the Aggies witha 4-2 record and 32 strikeouts, while Anthony Kupbens and Scott Lyman also have over 20 strikeouts on the year. David Popkins is leading the team in hitting, batting .415 with 15 RBO on the year. Eric Johnson is leading the team in RBI with 21, and is also hitting .349.

Watching the Weather
With Long Beach State's 13-4 win over Pacific on Friday, Head Coach Mike Weathers won his 300th game as the skipper of the Dirtbags, reaching the milestone in his ninth year.Additionally, 20 more wins over the course of the season will tally up to 600 career wins for Weathers in his 20th year as a head coach of the Dirtbags, Utah and Chapman. Weathers is currently third among Long Beach State coaches in wins, behind John Gonsalves and Dave Snow.

Starting Off
Long Beach State's starting rotation of Andrew Gagnon, Jake Thompson and Branden Pinder has anchored the weekends since the start of the season and the trio has been solid throughout. The team's series against Pacific was another great showcase for the trio, pitching 24.1 of the team's 27 innings, and allowing four earned runs combined and a 1.48 ERA. Gagnon and Thompson have each thrown a complete game in a victory, and Pinder and Gagnon each have quality starts with no earned runs. The entire rotation also ranks nationally in ERA, with Gagnon leading the way at 2.60, 80th in the nation.

TJ And Triples
Senior right fielder TJ Mittelstaedt broke his first school record against UNLV, hitting two triples to get to 17 in his career and pass Don Anderson's 16 for the most in Long Beach State history with half the season to go. Mittelstaedt also currently ranks fourth in career walks with 91. Two more and he'll pass Lamarr Rogers, and then will look towards a couple early Dirtbags, including the leader, Jason Giambi, who had 116 over three years. Mittelstaedt also continues to climb in games played, and should be among the all-time leaders for Long Beach State before the year is out.

Night and Day
The only plane trip of the season for Long Beach State started off badly, as a 3-1 deficit prior to the team's first rain delay of the season ballooned into a 16-4 loss to No. 9 Oregon State, with help from a season-high in errors as well as a rough night for the bullpen. The Dirtbags turned it around the very next day, however, putting together two of the season's best performances back-to-back to win a road double-header over a top-10 opponent. In the first game, starter Jake Thompson tied a season-high with seven strikeouts over seven innings, helping the Dirtbags extend an early lead and take a 7-1 victory over the Beavers. Then in the nightcap, the Dirtbags again got a seven-inning start from the mound, this time coming from Branden Pinder. Offensively, the Dirtbags pounced on Oregon State starter Tyler Waldron for a five-run first inning and held on for a 8-4 win.

News and Notes
Junior Jordan Casas continues to lead the nation in sacrifice bunts per game at 0.42 ... his eight bunts lead the team, but only by two over Derek Legg ... Kellen Hoime and Jonathan Jones are also ranked nationally in sacrifice bunts ... the team is fifth in the nation with 32 on the season, more than one per game ... Devin Lohman's five hits Friday was a season high, and the first time a Dirtbag had five hits in a game at Blair Field since Evan Longoria in 2005 ... That mark tied many other players with five, and was one off the school record of six hits in a game ... Casas is the only player to have even had six at-bats so far in 2010 for Long Beach State.



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