May 31, 2014
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The Pepperdine baseball team pulled off a thrilling 2-1 come-from-behind victory over regional host and top-seed Cal Poly on Sunday, to advance to the NCAA Regional championship game tomorrow.
Trailing 1-0, the Waves scored two runs in the seventh inning to grab the win. Pepperdine will face the winner of tomorrow afternoon's game between Cal Poly and Sacramento State at 6 p.m. with a chance to move on to the NCAA Super Regional on the line.
"This was one of the most exciting games I've had the opportunity to be a part of," said Pepperdine Head Coach Steve Rodriguez. "What you saw tonight was a pretty impressive pitching performance by two very good pitchers."
Aaron Brown (Chatsworth, Calif./Chatsworth HS) outdueled the Mustangs' Casey Bloomquist, tossing 8.0 innings in which he gave up just three hits and one unearned run. After Cal Poly scored in the second inning, Brown settled in and did not allow a run the rest of the way, handing the ball over to Eric Karch (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West HS) for the top of the ninth. Karch came in and tossed a perfect ninth inning to record his 15th save of the year and second of the tournament.
On the other side, Bloomquist threw all eight innings for Cal Poly, striking out seven and giving up two runs.
After managing just three hits through the first six innings, the Waves finally got to Bloomquist in the seventh. Aaron Barnett (Mission Viejo, Calif./Capistrano Valley HS) tripled into left-center with one out and then Hutton Moyer (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic HS) stepped to the plate and blasted his 24th double of the year off the right-field fence to bring pinch-runner Jeremy Goldenetz (Corona, Calif./Corona Santiago HS) home. Moyer would then score on a ball hit by Manny Jefferson (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood HS) that fell in off the glove of first baseman John Schuknecht down the right-field line.
The very next inning Moyer again came up big, but this time in the field when he backed up an overthrow to first and tossed out the runner trying to advance to second to end the inning. The defensive gems continued in the ninth when Jefferson made a diving stop and throw to first to end the game.
"This might be the regional game where the fortuitous bounces actually went our way," said Rodriguez. "We've had some really bad luck in past regionals, but watching the game today and the way it was played, from the defense and everything, it was pretty impressive to be a part of."
Brown battled all game, tossing 121 pitches on the night and stranding 12 Cal Poly runners. He also struck out four batters and had a single in the game. The win moves the junior ace to 12-1 on the year.
Moyer and Jefferson were the only Waves with multiple hits in the game, each recording two, and Brian Mundell went 2-for-3 for Cal Poly.
Pepperdine needs just one win to move on to the NCAA Super Regional for the first time since the current format was implemented in 1999. Whatever team they play will need to beat the Waves twice in the double elimination format.