April 30, 2006
Malibu, Calif. - Pepperdine right hander James Johnson turned in the best performance of his career on Senior Day as he two-hit visiting Portland through eight innings and pitched the 28th-ranked Waves into sole possession of first place in the West Coast Conference (WCC) following an 8-0 victory Sunday afternoon at Eddy D. Field Stadium.
The Pepperdine senior retired the final 14 batters he faced and 17 of 18 to help the Waves improve to 30-16 on the year and 10-5 in WCC play. The victory also marked the 29th straight year that Pepperdine has won at least 30 games.
Pepperdine now holds a one-game lead over Saint Mary's and San Francisco with six WCC games remaining. Both the Gaels and Dons lost on Sunday to fall to 9-6 in conference play.
Portland (13-30, 2-13) was able to get just one runner to second base against Johnson when the senior right hander surrendered a two-out walk and single in the second inning. After allowing a leadoff single in the fourth, Johnson did not allow another batter to reach base before being pulled after throwing 77 pitches in eight innings.
Johnson was relieved by freshman right hander Brett Hunter, who allowed a two-out single while pitching a scoreless ninth.
The Waves, who have shown an ability to come through with two-out hits in recent games, gave Johnson all the run support he would need in the third inning as they scored twice against Pilots starter Ari Ronick (3-5).
Junior catcher Chad Tracy doubled to left field with two outs and senior first baseman Nick Kliebert and sophomore shortstop Danny Worth followed with walks to load the bases. Freshman third baseman Chase d'Arnaud then hit the first of his two doubles down the left field line to score Tracy and Kliebert to give Pepperdine a 2-0 lead.
The Waves upped their advantage to 3-0 in the seventh inning on back-to-back two-out doubles by Worth and d'Arnaud. Pepperdine broke open the game in the eighth as it sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs.
Senior second baseman David Uribes' RBI single and senior pinch-hitter Danny Kelly's two-run single highlighted the inning.
It was a big day for a number of Pepperdine seniors as Kliebert extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games, Uribes increased his hitting streak to 10 games and moved within two hits of tying the Pepperdine and WCC all-time hits record of 314 held by former Wave Paul Faries (1984-87).
Pepperdine will seek its sixth straight win when it travels to Blair Field on Tuesday to face Long Beach State beginning at 6:30 p.m.