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No. 20 Pepperdine Travels to Saint Mary's with eye on WCC Regular-Season Title

May 11, 2006

Malibu, Calif. -

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THIS WEEK: The nationally-ranked Pepperdine baseball team will look to secure an eighth consecutive berth in the West Coast Conference (WCC) Championship Series this weekend when it travels to the Bay Area for a three-game series against Saint Mary's beginning Friday at 3 p.m.

Following Friday's series opener at Louis Guisto Field, the two teams will play 1 p.m. contests on Saturday and Sunday to conclude their conference schedules.

All the action can be followed live on the Internet via Gametracker at www.PepperdineSports.com.

A LOOK AT THE WAVES: Pepperdine begins the weekend 33-18 overall and 12-6 in WCC play. The Waves are tied with San Francisco for first place in the WCC. While the Waves are visiting Saint Mary's, the Dons will host Loyola Marymount to close their conference schedule.

The top two teams will square off in a best of three WCC Championship Series with the winner earning the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Championships. San Francisco holds a tie-breaker over Pepperdine by virtue of its series win against the Waves earlier in the season and would host the best-of-three championship series should both teams finish in a first-place tie.

San Diego, which is one game behind in the standings, Loyola Marymount and Saint Mary's are still alive in the race. The Lions are 2.5 games back with six remaining while one loss will eliminate the Gaels from contention.

Pepperdine can secure itself a berth in the WCC Championship Series with two wins and one Loyola Marymount loss its final six games. The Lions took two of three from the Waves earlier this year and own the tie-breaker.

The Waves are two-time defending WCC champion and are seeking their 17th conference title since 1968. Pepperdine is attempting to win a third straight league championship for the first time since winning three in a row from 1991-93.

Pepperdine has won three straight WCC titles on two other occasions, accomplishing the feat during the 1974-76 campaigns and again from 1987-89.

NATIONAL POLLS: Pepperdine is ranked No. 20 by Baseball America and No. 28 by Collegiate Baseball.

UC RIVERSIDE RECAP: Junior left-hander Marc Rzepczynski allowed three runs over eight-plus innings and received relief help from junior Daniel Stange as UC Riverside registered a 5-3 victory over the Waves Tuesday afternoon. Trailing 5-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Waves brought the tying run to the plate with runners on first and second with no outs but were only able to score one run as Stange came on to allow a pair of fly balls and a strikeout to preserve the win for the Highlanders. After allowing two runs in the first inning, Rzepczynski held Pepperdine scoreless until the ninth inning when he allowed a leadoff single to Danny Worth and a double to right-center field that put two runners in scoring position. Stange relieved Rzepczynski and induced Donald Brown to fly out to center and allowed a sacrifice fly to Chase d'Arnaud before striking out Justin Tellam to end the game and register his 10th save of the season. The Waves took a 2-0 lead against Rzepczynski in the first inning. Senior David Uribes opened the inning with a single to right and moved to third on two ground ball outs. Senior Nick Kliebert walked with two outs and Worth followed with a double to right-center field to drive in Uribes and Kliebert. Pepperdine received two hits apiece from Worth, Uribes and sophomore center fielder Adrian Ortiz.

ABOUT SAINT MARY'S: Saint Mary's begins the weekend with a 26-22 overall record and a 9-9 mark in the West Coast Conference. The Gaels were swept by San Francisco in a three-game series last weekend in Moraga before taking a doubleheader from Patten University on Tuesday. Saint Mary's is batting .292 as a team and has a collective ERA of 4.34. The Gaels have four players batting .300 or better and are led by senior infielder Orben Frederick, who is batting .367. Senior outfielder Sam Carter also is having a solid year as he is batting .358 with team-leading totals of 10 home runs and 50 RBI. Senior right hander Cory Madden is the top starter for Saint Mary's with a 6-2 record and 2.77 ERA. Head coach Jedd Soto is in the midst of his third season leading the Gaels and has compiled an overall record to date of 60-93 (.392).

SERIES VERSUS SAINT MARY'S: Friday's series opener will mark the 117th meeting between Pepperdine and Saint Mary's with the Waves leading the all-time series, 93-23. Pepperdine swept a three-game series against the Gaels last season and has won 11 in a row dating back to the 2003 season.

FRIDAY'S STARTER: Sophomore right hander Barry Enright will make his 17th appearance and 16th start of the season on Friday. He is 10-1 with a 3.76 ERA. Enright is coming off another solid performance his last time out. He pitched seven innings, allowed six hits, two runs and struck out two, walked two and struck out one to record his 10th straight win and improved his career mark 20-2. Five of his victories have come against No. 15 Long Beach State, No. 2 Oregon State, No. 8 Tulane, No. 4 Cal State Fullerton and No. 25 San Diego. On the season, he has pitched 95.2 innings, surrendered 106 hits, 47 runs (40 earned), walked 18 and struck out 51. Enright's career record stands at 20-2 with a 4.20 ERA while pitching 193.0 innings over 34 appearances.

SATURDAY'S STARTER: Senior left-hander Paul Coleman will make his 15th appearance and start of the season on Saturday. He is currently 6-5 with a 2.76 ERA. Coleman has worked 94.2 innings, allowed 72 hits, 36 runs (29 earned), walked 33 and struck out a team-high 85. His last outing came on Friday at Gonzaga and he suffered a loss after pitching a season-low four-plus innings, allowing five hits, three runs, walking three and striking out one. Coleman has 253 career strikeouts and is sixth on Pepperdine's all-time career strikeout list. He also has made 87 career appearances and is tied with Steve Schenewerk (1997-2000) for third all-time in school history. Coleman has a career record of 18-13 and 4.07 ERA in 290.0 innings.

SUNDAY'S STARTER: Senior right hander James Johnson will make his 17th appearance and ninth start of the season Sunday at Saint Mary's. He is 5-1 with a 3.09 ERA. In 70.0 innings, Johnson has allowed 71 hits, 25 runs (24 earned), walked 10 and struck out 44. His last outing came in a starting role at Gonzaga where he struck out a career-high nine batters in 8.2 innings. He allowed nine hits, four runs and walked one. Johnson enters Sunday's start with a career record of 11-5 and a 4.15 ERA in 71 appearances.

WAVES POST 29TH STRAIGHT 30-WIN SEASON: Sunday's 8-0 victory over Portland was the 30th of the season for Pepperdine and marked the 29th straight year that the Waves have won at least 30 games. Pepperdine is currently 30-16 on the year. Dating back to the 1978 season, the Waves have totaled at least 30 wins every year, 40 wins 12 times and posted two 50-win campaigns.

COLEMAN AND TRACY ON BROOKS WALLACE AWARD WATCH LIST: Senior left-hander Paul Coleman and junior catcher Chad Tracy were among a group of 120 players named to the 2006 Brooks Wallace Award Watch List. The Brooks Wallace Award is presented annually by the College Baseball Foundation to the national college baseball player of the year. Nebraska third baseman Alex Gordon won the award in 2005. Both Coleman and Tracy are coming off outstanding seasons in 2005 in which they were named the West Coast Conference's (WCC) Pitcher of the Year and Player of the Year, respectively. The Wallace Watch will be trimmed to 12 semi-finalists by late May. Then the selection committee will narrow the list to three finalists following the NCAA Super Regionals at a press conference in Omaha, Neb.. The finalists, their head coaches, and their parents will be invited to Lubbock, TX, for a schedule of special events tied to the award banquet, which will again be nationally televised by the Fox Sports Network.

ENRIGHT ON ROGER CLEMENS AWARD WATCH LIST: Sophomore right hander Barry Enright, who has posted wins over five ranked opponents this season, is one of 48 players named on the 2006 Roger Clemens Award Watch List. The award is given annually to college baseball's top pitcher. The initial list is comprised of players named to pre-season All-American teams by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America (NCBWA). Each weekly honoree of the NCBWA Pitcher of the Week will be added to the list, as will statistical leaders later in the season. First-round voting is scheduled to begin May 8 and will run through May 15. The announcement of 10 semifinalists is set for May 18. Voting on the award is conducted by all Division I head baseball coaches, a selection of national media who cover the college game, all past winners of the Rotary Smith Award and past finalists of the Roger Clemens Award. The winner of the Roger Clemens Award will be announced at a dinner at the Marriott Westchase Hotel in Houston, Texas, on July 12.

TRACY NAMED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN: Pepperdine junior catcher Chad Tracy was named a first-team preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball, second teamer by the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association (NCBWA) and a third pick by Baseball America. Tracy is coming off a tremendous sophomore campaign in which he was named second team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and was tabbed the West Coast Conference's (WCC) "Player of the Year" and a first team All-WCC selection. Starting all 64 games, Tracy led the WCC with a .367 average, 94 hits, 12 home runs, 22 doubles and 61 RBI. Tracy, who was invited to last summer's USA Baseball National Team Trials, is also expected to be a candidate for the Johnny Bench Award that is awarded to college baseball's top catcher.

PEPPERDINE TABBED AS "SLEEPER" TO REACH COLLEGE WORLD SERIES: Coming off a 41-23 season in which it advanced to the championship game of the Long Beach Regional and returning 24 letterwinners from last year's squad, the Pepperdine baseball team was chosen as the sleeper to make an appearance in the 2006 College World Series, according to Baseball America's Will Kimmey. Kimmey picked the eight favorites to reach Omaha this June, with Pepperdine listed as a contender to steal one of those top spots. Defending national champion Texas was picked to repeat in 2006. The Longhorns return their top four starting pitchers from last season. Among the other teams chosen by Baseball America to advance to Omaha were Rice, Clemson, Florida, Oregon State, Cal State Fullerton, Nebraska, and Florida State.

MORE PRESEASON ACCOLADES: Several Pepperdine baseball players garnered preseason accolades and honors in the most recent issue of Baseball America. Left-hander Paul Coleman was named the 11th-best pro prospect among college seniors, while center fielder Adrian Ortiz was tabbed the 18th best sophomore prospect, catcher Chad Tracy was ranked 25th among juniors and rookie Chase d'Arnaud was selected the 36th-best prospect among freshmen. Tracy and Coleman were also named to the WCC's preseason all-conference team along with sophomore more shortstop Danny Worth and junior first baseman/catcher Justin Tellam in a poll of league coaches conducted by Baseball America. Tellam begins his first year at Pepperdine after transferring from UNLV. The battery of Tracy and Coleman were also picked to repeat as WCC "Player of the Year" and "Pitcher of the Year", respectively.

RODRIGUEZ COLLECTS 100TH CAREER WIN: Pepperdine head coach Steve Rodriguez collected his 100th career coaching victory following the Waves' 10-2 win over Portland on April 30. His record currently stands at 104-73 (.587). He is just the sixth coach in program history to record 100 wins. Other Pepperdine coaches to reach 100 victories include Dave Gorrie (409), John Scolinos (263), Frank Sanchez (257), Andy Lopez (241) and Wayne Wright (194).

URIBES BREAKS HIT RECORD: Pepperdine senior second baseman David Uribes broke the Pepperdine and West Coast Conference (WCC) all-time career hit record Saturday after collecting two hits to pass former Wave Paul Faries (1984-87), who concluded his career with 314. Uribes has added to that total and now has 320 career hits.

URIBES ALL-TIME LEADER IN AT-BATS: David Uribes, who has started all 238 games of his career, is Pepperdine's all-time leader in at-bats with 970.

URIBES CLIMBING CAREER CHARTS: Senior second baseman David Uribes is working his way up Pepperdine's career offensive lists. Uribes is second on Pepperdine's all-time runs scored list with 226 and is two shy of current Waves assistant coach Rick Hirtensteiner (1986-89), who completed his career with 228 runs scored. His total also ranks fourth on the WCC's all-time list. Uribes is also in fourth place with 238 games played and is one away from tying Hirtensteiner for third place. He has played in every contest during his Pepperdine career, a streak of 238 straight. The senior second baseman also is seventh on the career doubles list with 49 and is ninth all-time with 72 stolen bases.

TRACY MOVING UP HOME RUN LIST: Junior All-American catcher Chad Tracy is tied with G.J. Raymundo (1998-99) for fifth place on Pepperdine's all-time home run list with 29. He is one home run shy of tying Jared Pitney (1998-2001) for fourth place with 30. Tracy hit 12 home runs during his first two seasons in Malibu and has five thus far in 2006. The junior catcher also is sixth on the school's all-time doubles list with 50.

COLEMAN MOVING UP SCHOOL APPEARANCE LIST: Reigning West Coast Conference (WCC) "Pitcher of the Year" Paul Coleman is making a steady climb up the Pepperdine appearance list. The senior left-hander is tied with Steve Schenewerk (1997-2000) for third place with 87. Coleman also is sixth on the school's all-time strikeout list with 253. He is nine shy of tying Jacob Barrack (2001-04) for fifth place.

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: Pepperdine is 8-4 against ranked opponents...The Waves are currently batting .299 and have a 3.46 team ERA...Pepperdine ranks third in the West Coast Conference (WCC) in batting and first in pitching...Pepperdine began the week 21st in the country in team ERA, 14th in fielding percentage (.974) and fifth in double plays turned (61; 1.20 per game)...The Waves are 23-7 when scoring first and 23-5 when holding the opponent to three runs or less...Pepperdine is 27-2 when leading after six innings, 29-2 when ahead after seven innings and 30-0 when leading after eight innings...The Waves are 6-5 in one-run games...Senior first baseman Nick Kliebert, who is third on the Waves with a .356 average, has been the 28th-toughest player in the country to strike out, fanning once every 16.2 at-bats...Senior second baseman David Uribes, who leads the club with a .365 average, is batting .406 (26-for-64) with 14 runs scored in has last 15 games...Junior catcher Chad Tracy has had at least one hit in 42 of Pepperdine's 51 games this season...Senior left-hander Paul Coleman leads the pitching staff with 85 strikeouts in 94.2 innings over 14 appearances...On the season, he has limited opposing batters to a .216 average...Sophomore right hander Barry Enright is 4-0 with a 1.55 ERA in his last four outings...His 10 wins are tied for second in the country...Freshman right hander Brett Hunter tops the staff with 21 appearances, seven saves and a 2.68 ERA while striking out 41 in 47.0 innings and holding opponents to a .242 average.

Steve Kleen RECEIVES JOHN SCOLINOS AWARD: Steve Kleen, who was named a first team All-American as a senior in 2005, was honored with the 2006 John Scolinos Distinguished Player Award following the Pepperdine baseball team's annual alumni game on January 28. The award, in its second year, is given annually to a Pepperdine baseball player in recognition of exemplary behavior during a season or career in the name of the legendary Scolinos, who was Pepperdine's head coach from 1946-1960. The recipient is honored for demonstrating strong character traits, including humility, resourcefulness, loyalty, honesty, work ethic, Christian behavior and sportsmanship, which contribute to outstanding performance and dedicated efforts both on and beyond the baseball diamond. Cory Brightwell was the first recipient of the award in 2005.

THREE WAVES SELECTED IN 2005 MLB DRAFT: For the 31st consecutive year, Pepperdine had at least one player taken in Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft in 2005. Junior left-hander Paul Coleman was chosen in the ninth round by the Detroit Tigers, while senior utility player Steve Kleen was an 11th round selection by the Oakland A's and senior right hander Kea Kometani was picked in the 15th round by the Texas Rangers. With Kometani's selection in the 15th round, Pepperdine has had players drafted a total of 118 times since the first year of the draft in 1966.

FIVE FORMER WAVES ON MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL OPENING DAY ROSTERS: As Major League Baseball held its Opening Day on Monday, a total of five former Pepperdine players were on Opening Day rosters. Dan Haren (Oakland Athletics), Noah Lowry (San Francisco Giants), David Newhan (Baltimore Orioles), Will Ohman (Chicago Cubs) and Matt Wise (Milwaukee Brewers) were on big league rosters. A sixth player, Randy Wolf opened the season on the Philadelphia Phillies' disabled list.

WAVES POST ANOTHER 20-WIN CONFERENCE SEASON: After taking two of three from San Francisco over the weekend, Pepperdine registered its seventh 20-win West Coast Conference (WCC) season in the last nine years and 16th in the last 19 seasons while playing a 30-game league schedule. The Waves completed WCC action with a conference-best 21-9 mark. Pepperdine also posted a conference-record 25-5 in 2001.

PEPPERDINE DOMINANT FORCE IN WCC: Since the West Coast Conference (WCC) implemented divisional play in 1999, Pepperdine has been the conference's dominant team, compiling a WCC record of 161-67 (.706) over the last seven-plus seasons, an average of 21.3 wins per season, captured seven divisional crowns, three conference titles and appeared in the WCC Championship Series each year of its existence. Over that same time period, San Diego has the second-best league mark, registering a 129-98-1 (.568) record, claiming two divisional titles and winning two WCC Championship Series.

WEST COAST CONFERENCE FORMAT CHANGES IN 2006: After seven years of conference play with a two-division format, the West Coast Conference (WCC) will move away from divisional play in 2006 and will play a 21-game round-robin schedule. The first and second place winners will advance to a best-of-three championship series, with the winner being declared the WCC Tournament winner and earning the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Championships. The three-game series will be played at the site of the first-place finisher.

WAVES CAPTURE 16TH WCC CHAMPIONSHIP: Pepperdine captured its 16th West Coast Conference (WCC) title after taking two of three at Loyola Marymount over the weekend. It marked the Waves second straight after sweeping the Lions last year. Pepperdine's 16 conference titles are the most by any of the eight teams in the league. Since the WCC was re-instituted for baseball prior to the 1985 season, the Waves have either won or shared 12 of the last 21 league championships. Additionally, since the WCC went to a two-division format in 1999, Pepperdine is the only member to appear in all seven conference championship series. Last year's WCC title was the Waves' second straight and third overall since 1999. Pepperdine also captured the conference title in 2001 when it went 42-18 and finished the year with a national Top 20 ranking. Pepperdine captured back-to-back titles for the first time since winning three straight between 1991 and 1993.

WAVES AMONG TOP TEAMS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Since 1979, Pepperdine is the second-winningest program in Southern California, trailing only Cal State Fullerton heading into the 2006 season. The Waves have registered a 1,047-546 (.657) record and made 16 NCAA Tournament appearances during that time. Cal State Fullerton has compiled an overall record of 1,204-511 (.702) and made 22 NCAA appearances. Pepperdine's 16 NCAA Tournament appearances are second behind the Titans and tie USC.

THE PROGRAM: In the midst of its 67th season of intercollegiate competition, the Pepperdine baseball program has compiled an all-time mark to date of 1,742-1,219-22 (.588). The Waves have advanced to the NCAA Championships on 22 occasions, and Pepperdine has participated at the College World Series twice--finishing third in 1979 and winning the national title in 1992. Pepperdine has won 30 or more games in each of the last 29 seasons dating back to 1978, and surpassed the 40-win mark on 12 occasions during that time span. Since the West Coast Conference was re-instituted for baseball prior to the 1985 season, Pepperdine has either won or shared 12 of the last 21 league championships. Dating back to the start of the 1985 campaign, Pepperdine has compiled a cumulative record of 847-451-11 (.651), including a 463-159-2 (.743) mark against league opponents.

Steve Rodriguez: Steve Rodriguez, a former collegiate All-American and a member of Pepperdine's 1992 College World Series Championship team, is in the midst of his third season as the Waves' head coach. Rodriguez was hired on June 18, 2004 after serving as an assistant for four years under Frank Sanchez. Rodriguez has led the Waves to a 104-73 (.587) record, two West Coast Conference (WCC) titles, two NCAA Regional berths and one national Top 25 ranking. He guided Pepperdine to a 30-32 overall record and into the championship game in 2004 Fullerton Regional Championship game, becoming the fifth head coach in program history to lead his club to post-season play in his rookie season, joining Gary Marks (1963), Dave Gorrie (1979), Andy Lopez (1989) and Pat Harrison (1995). In 2005, the Waves compiled a 41-23 overall record, reached the championship game of the Long Beach Regional and concluded the year ranked No. 23 nationally. During Rodriguez' four seasons as an assistant, the Waves compiled an overall record of 145-98 (.597), including an 88-32 mark in WCC play, captured the conference title in 2001 and made NCAA Tournament appearances in 2001 and 2003. Rodriguez, who earned All-American honors in 1991 and 1992, became only the third former Pepperdine player to assume the head coaching duties for the Waves in the program's 64-year history. Gary Marks became the first Pepperdine player to pilot the program when he skippered the program from 1963-67. Gail Hopkins, who played at Pepperdine from 1962-64, coached the Waves during the 1968 season. Rodriguez was a fifth-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in 1992 after helping the Waves' to the national championship and being named the WCC's "Player of the Year." He played professionally for seven years with the Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Montreal Expos organizations. Rodriguez made it to the major league level with the Red Sox and Tigers in 1995. As a sophomore in 1991, Rodriguez batted .419, the second-highest single-season average in school history. His 104 base hits in 1991 are a Pepperdine record, and his .367 career average ranks second all-time in Waves' history.

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: Since Eddy D. Field Stadium opened in 1973, Pepperdine has been a tough team to beat at home, compiling an overall record to date of 725-278-12 (.720) and registering just one losing season in 33 years. Since 1997, the Waves are 202-96 (.678) in games played at Eddy D. Field Stadium. The Waves were 9-12 in the inaugural season of 1973 and since then has produced 31 winning seasons in the last 33 years, including a 19-9 record in 2005. The Waves have had 29 straight winning seasons at home. Pepperdine finished 19-9 at home in 2005 and are 20-9 in 2006.

WAVES ON THE ROAD: Since 1997, Waves are 151-138 (.522) in games played on the road. Pepperdine completed the 2005 campaign with a 22-14 road record. The Waves have registered winning road records in six of the last nine seasons. Pepperdine is 13-9 in 2006.

ON THE WEB: For updated information concerning Pepperdine athletics on the World Wide Web, please bookmark the following address: http://www.PepperdineSports.com.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: For more information on the baseball program, or to arrange interviews with players and the coaching staff, please contact Al Barba at the Pepperdine Sports Information Office by calling (310) 506-4455.