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'Right upbringing' has Enright primed for pro ball

April 13, 2007

By Jason Anderson
Record Staff Writer

Malibu Barry lives along the Pacific Coast Highway in the shadows of the Santa Monica Mountains. He enjoys the scenic shorelines, sounds of the surf and smell of the Pacific Ocean.

You could say life's a beach for Barry Enright, the Pepperdine pitcher with big-league dreams and one of the most renowned right arms in college baseball.

But it hasn't been all sand and strikeouts.

The St. Mary's High School graduate was 13 and his brothers 6 and 7 when their father, Frank, a multi-sport athlete at Lincoln High and Santa Clara University, died of a heart attack at the age of 46.

Enright carries his father's memory everywhere, and he'll take it to the mound when No. 8 Pepperdine visits USF at 3 p.m. today.

"I know my dad's there with me every day," Enright said. "Just trying to make him proud is a big part of my motivation."

Enright has grown into a man since leaving his hometown, but his coaches said he already was more mature than most freshmen when he arrived in Malibu in 2004.Pepperdine pitching coach Sean Kenny attributes that quality to Enright's mother, Maureen, and his father's tragic death.

"Every time you see something, positive or negative, it always stems from the family," Kenny said. "Meeting his family, meeting his mom, that's as solid an upbringing as you can have.

"And some of his maturity may be because he had to be the strong one for his younger brothers."

Kenny said that sense of responsibility showed in Enright's preparation and helped him establish the consistency reflected in his 31-4 career record.

Enright is 8-1 with a 1.56 ERA this season, and today the 6-foot-2 junior will make what could be his final collegiate start in Northern California.

Professional baseball awaits, and Enright's advisers tell him he might be selected in the first three rounds of Major League Baseball's amateur draft on June 7-8.

"This is probably the year," Enright said. "I've improved every year, and I think I'm mature enough to take that next step."

Enright, 21, said he will return to Pepperdine for his senior season if he isn't drafted in the first 10 rounds. He knows the next two months will influence scouts, but Enright's qualifications already are quite impressive.

"The kid wins, plain and simple," Pepperdine coach Steve Rodriguez said. "I don't think he has the most outstanding stuff. He doesn't have the 95-mph fastball or the exploding breaking ball, but he just finds a way to win, and those guys always seem to do well in professional baseball."

Enright was named West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year and Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America after going 10-1 in 2005. He went 13-2 in 2006, earning WCC Co-Pitcher of the Year honors.

Enright was selected as a preseason All-American this season. He also was named to watch lists for the Roger Clemens and Brooks Wallace awards, given to the top pitcher and player, respectively, in college baseball.

"Some guys just have it, and Barry has it," Kenny said. "I would never say this to his face because I've got to keep him humble, but he's the All-American kid."

Enright is grateful for all the good things in his life, but he can't help wishing his father could see him now.

"You go back and kind of look at your life - you graduate high school, you go to college - and you think about how much fun you would have had together through stuff like baseball and the draft," Enright said. "It's hard to think about at times, but knowing my dad has been my motivation all these years, I truly believe he's out there with me every time I pitch."

Contact reporter Jason Anderson at (209) 546-8283 or janderson@recordnet.com. Visit his blog.