May 22, 2014
STOCKTON, Calif. – The Pepperdine baseball opened the 2014 WCC Baseball Tournament with a 5-2 win over Santa Clara on Thursday, bouncing back from a 2-0 deficit to pick up the victory.
Corey Miller gave up an early two-run homer and then settled in to hold the Broncos scoreless for the next five innings. The Waves’ offense got things going the second time through the order, scoring three runs in the fourth and then two more in the eighth to power their way to a win.
The victory means Pepperdine will play the winner of tonight’s LMU vs. Gonzaga matchup tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. for a shot at the WCC Championship game.
“We looked a little shaky early, but once the guys settled in they played great,” said head coach Steve Rodriguez, whose team moved to 37-17 on the season. “Once the guys got the jitters out they were hitting the ball all over the place and our pitchers shut things down. Corey was the key today. He did a great job settling in and keeping us within striking distance until we came back.”
Brad Anderson (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza HS) drove in the first run of the day for the Waves, doubling off the wall in right to bring home Austin Davidson (Oxnard, Calif./Oxnard HS). Aaron Barnett (Mission Viejo, Calif./Capistrano Valley HS) followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the game and then Hutton Moyer (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic HS) gave the Waves their first lead with a single up the middle. Before taking the 3-2 advantage in the fourth, the Waves had one hit through the first three innings.
Pepperdine would add two more in the eighth on a Barnett single to centerfield, taking a 5-2 lead into the ninth.
It was Quinton Perry that gave Santa Clara the early advantage, sending a two-run shot over the left-field wall in the second inning. The Broncos threatened in the seventh, putting two runners on with no outs, but a double play and a groundout would strand a runner on third and end the threat.
Miller (Laguna Niguel, Calif./JSerra Catholic HS) tossed 7.0 innings, giving up six hits and two earned runs to exit the game prior to the eighth with a 3-2 lead. Chandler Blanchard (Henderson, Nev./Coronado HS) worked a perfect eighth, striking out two Broncos and getting a groundout to hold the one-run advantage. After the Waves tacked on two more insurance runs in the eighth, Eric Karch (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West HS) closed the door with a 1-2-3 inning for his 12th save of the season.
“I didn’t feel like I had my best stuff, but I just tried to battle and compete to get zeroes on the board for us,” said Miller, who moves to 8-4 on the season. “When the guys got those runs in the fourth it really got us going and reenergized the team. That was huge.”
The Waves scored their five runs on 10 hits, led by a 3-for-4 day from Anderson. Barnett drove in a team-high three runs in the game, going 1-for-3. Anderson drove in one run and scored two more.
Perry was the only Bronco hitter with multiple hits on the day, going 2-for-4. D.J. Zapata tossed 7.2 innings for Santa Clara, giving up eight hits and five runs.
“Today was a good start,” said Rodriguez. “We’re in a good spot going into tomorrow and know exactly what we need to do. A win is always good, but in this format getting that first victory can be especially big.”
The tournament is double elimination tomorrow, with the two losing teams playing at noon and the winning teams at 3:30 p.m. The winner of the first game will play the loser of the second at 7:30 pm tomorrow night.