April 23, 2006
Malibu, Calif. - Facing the likelihood of falling two games out of first place and into fifth place in the West Coast Conference (WCC), Pepperdine pulled off an improbable comeback with two outs in the 10th inning to register a dramatic 5-4 victory over No. 25 San Diego Sunday afternoon at Eddy D. Field Stadium to catapult itself into a logjam near the top of the WCC standings.
Trailing 4-2, the Waves (27-16, 7-5) were four times down to their last strike before junior left fielder Luke Salas laced a bases-loaded double down the right field line on a 1-2 pitch that cleared the bases and sent Pepperdine players onto the field and into a wild celebration following the huge come-from-behind victory.
The win enabled the Waves to move into a four-way tie for second place with San Diego (25-17, 7-5), San Francisco and Gonzaga as all four teams are one game behind front-running Saint Mary's, which is in first place with an 8-4 conference mark after completing a sweep of Portland on Sunday.
Pepperdine also put its fate of securing one of the conference's top two spots and a berth in the WCC Championship Series in its own hands as six of its final nine conference games are against Saint Mary's and Gonzaga. The Waves close out the home portion of their WCC schedule next weekend when they host Portland in a three-game series at Eddy D. Field Stadium.
In a game that had drama throughout and presented scoring opportunities for both teams, Pepperdine appeared to be in position to win the game in the bottom of the ninth inning when it put runners on first and third with one out. However, San Diego reliever Josh Butler (8-4) induced Waves senior designated hitter Chad Tracy to ground into an inning-ending double that sent the game into extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, Justin Snyder walked to lead off the inning against freshman right hander Brett Hunter (5-2), who was in his third inning of relief. After Steve Singleton fouled out to the catcher attempting to bunt, Keoni Ruth followed with a hit-and-run single through the left side that put runners at the corners with one out.
Ruth then stole second and Jordan Abruzzo walked to load the bases. First baseman Daniel Magness gave the Toreros a 3-2 lead with a single to left field and right fielder Shane Buschini made it a 4-2 game with a sacrifice fly to center.
In the bottom half of the 10th inning, Butler got two quick outs on a pair of called third strikes. Freshman third baseman Chase d'Arnaud worked the count to 3-2 before coaxing a walk. Junior catcher Justin Tellam also walked on a 3-2 pitch to get aboard as the tying run.
Sophomore right fielder Donald Brown came up next and, after getting ahead in the count 2-0, hit a pop foul near third base that fell untouched between third baseman Ryan Lilly and shortstop Steve Singleton. With new life, Brown worked the count full before walking to load the bases.
Butler quickly got a head of Salas 0-2 before the Waves' left fielder lined the game-winning double just over the out-stretched glove of Magness at first base and down the right field line.
Pepperdine mounted both of its rallies and scored all five its runs with two outs, tying the score 2-2 with a pair of runs in the seventh inning. Salas ignited the rally with a single up the middle, stole second and scored on a double down the left field line by senior second baseman David Uribes. Sophomore center fielder Adrian Ortiz followed with the Waves' third straight hit to drive in Uribes with the tying run.
Ortiz and Uribes also played key roles in the field as they executed a perfect relay play to cut down a potential run in the first inning and Ortiz threw out a runner at the plate to end the eighth inning.
Ortiz collected four hits while Uribes and Salas each had three hits for the Waves.