June 8, 2014
June 8, 2014
FORT WORTH, Texas – The Pepperdine baseball team beat TCU 3-2 on Sunday, thanks to amazing all-around performance by Aaron Brown and some clutch hitting to force a decisive third game in the NCAA Super Regional.
The Waves (43-17) and Horned Frogs (46-16) will play tomorrow at 1 p.m. (PT), with the winner earning a spot in the NCAA World Series in Omaha. Tomorrow’s game will be televised live on ESPN2.
Brown threw seven scoreless innings on the mound on Sunday and then threw out what would have been the game-tying run from centerfield in the eighth inning to preserve the Pepperdine lead. He gave up just five hits and no runs in the game to move to 13-1 on the year.
“This is postseason baseball,” said Pepperdine Head Coach Steve Rodriguez. “When you have two teams like that, playing as hard as they are and everybody knows what’s on the line, it’s great, great baseball to watch. When we don’t play as well as we can play and we’re still able to find a way to win, that’s all I can ask for. The guys are competing for nine innings. It’s been a fun process for us and we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
Brown, the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year, outdueled Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, Preston Morrison, in the game, as both starters worked into the seventh inning. The Waves got to Morrison for a run in the fifth and then chased him with two runs in the seventh.
Brandon Caruso (Pasadena, Calif./Loyola HS) drove in the first run of the day for Pepperdine, singling in Hutton Moyer (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic HS) from second base on just the third hit of the day for the Waves. Moyer singled to lead off the inning and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jack Ross (Gilroy, Calif./Palma HS). Caruso pulled a line drive into left-field to record the RBI.
Moyer was hit by a pitch to lead off the seventh inning and then advanced to third after a Ross single. With runners on second and third, Manny Jefferson (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood HS) hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to bring Moyer home for the Waves second run of the day. Caruso made it a 3-0 game with his second hit of the day, driving a ball into left-field for a double to score what turned out to be the game-winning run.
TCU capitalized on a pair of Wave errors in the eighth inning, scoring a run and moving a runner to third on the play. Jerrick Suiter followed with an RBI-single to make it a 3-2 ballgame. After Pepperdine reliever Chandler Blanchard (Henderson, Nev./Coronado HS) struck out the next batter for the second out of the inning, Keaton Jones hit a line-drive single to centerfield. With a runner rounding third base, Brown, who had moved to center after his seven-inning pitching performance, fielded the ball cleanly and fired a strike to home plate to end the inning and keep the Waved ahead by one. Suiter tried to make an acrobatic leap over Waves’ catcher Aaron Barnett (Mission Viejo, Calif./Capistrano Valley HS), but Barnett applied the tag for the out.
“When you have had the chance to coach Aaron for three years you get to see that on a daily basis,” said Rodriguez of Brown’s performance. “As soon I saw it hit to center I knew we had a chance.”
The Horned frogs loaded the bases in the third inning, but Brown came up with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning. He struck out three batters total in the inning, getting all of them swinging. In all, TCU left seven runners on base in the game.
Brown (Chatsworth, Calif./Chatsworth HS) struck out four batters and allowed two walks in the game to record his third straight postseason win. Brown got a victory over LMU to propel the Waves to the WCC title game two weeks ago, and then beat Cal Poly last week to put the Waves into the Regional final. He has given up just one earned run in 23.0 innings pitched this postseason.
Eric Karch (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West HS) entered the game and pitched a perfect ninth inning, getting a popup to Brown in center to end it. It was Karch’s 16 th save of the season, giving him the third highest single-season total in program history.
Caruso finished the day 2-for-4 with two RBI and Moyer went 1-for-3 with a pair of runs scored. Ross filled out the stat sheet, going 1-for-1 with a run, a walk and a sacrifice bunt. The Waves had six hits in the game and TCU had seven.