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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sweep: CSULB Dirtbags 10, UIC Flames 0

I hadn't read much on any of the midwestern NCAA leagues, so when I read that Dirtbag Andrew Carpenter one-hit the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames in a 6-0 rout, I figured they were, like many teams playing out of their division, an aspiring team hoping to improve their national and program standing by playing tougher out-of-division foes. San Diego State did this last year by playing the Dirtbags.

Even so, Baseball America tagged UIC to finish first in the Horizon League, though the Flames did not make the top 25 seeds. So saying today's game was a mismatch was something of an understatement, if a little surprising, as the Dirtbags tore through the Flames 10-0, mostly on the strength of an seven-run second inning punctuated by infield errors from third baseman Bryan Nolte and freshman first baseman Jake Carr.

Evan Longoria got a sac fly in the first to drive in his only run of the game, but kept the second inning pounding alive by walking. Baseball America has tabbed Longoria, a star of the Cape Cod summer league, to be possibly the top position prospect in the 2006 draft, which, if true, would be the second Dirtbag shortstop taken in the first round in consecutive years. (Last year's was Troy Tulowitzki, who's so wowing the Rockies that some say he will be the starting shortstop in Colorado before 2006 is over.)

UIC ran through four pitchers after starter Don Phillis ran out of gas, including erstwhile shortstop Chad Schroeder. Phillis didn't actually look too bad, but for his defense; only four of the runs were earned, and he might have been saved from another one if the scorer hadn't given a bad throw to the runner in the first.

With the game so far out of reach early on, both teams made plenty of second-team substitutions. And unlike yesterday, it wasn't as though Long Beach pitching was baffling the UIC offense. UIC managed to put up as many hits as the Dirtbags, but they never got any of their men on base back home. Probably the most exciting offensive moment in the game for the Flames came when catcher Justin Johnson popped a foul ball into one of the lights, shattering it and sending pieces onto the fans below. Otherwise, UIC hit into a pair of double plays and just couldn't get it going. Tough road trip for them, but good for the Dirtbags, who go 9-4 on their young season.

Update: Now with pictures. Woot!

Update 2: Bob Keisser has more on Saturday's one-hitter in the Press-Telegram.


Thought you mentioned Eva Longoria there for a minute. What a disappointment when I realized I was wrong.
The CSULB media guide doesn't say they're related. Sports Illustrated writer John Walters has some fun with this anyway.
I was there for the one hitter on Saturday with my son. It was the first Dirtbags game we ever attended, largely inspired by your mentioning them on your blog, and my son using them in his baseball game. What a fantastic first game to attend! Thanks for the continued heads up on a great team.
And, tix are $6 each for grownups in the general admission area. What a deal!
Lest someone come unprepared, tickets went up this year. General admission (which includes lots of seats behind home plate) tickets are now $7 each.

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