May 23, 2014
STOCKTON, Calif. - The top-seeded Pepperdine baseball team punched its ticket to the WCC Championship game with a thrilling 4-1 win over second-seed LMU on Friday. Aaron Brown gave up just one run in 8.0 innings pitched and Brad Anderson hit a two-run homer in the fourth to power the Waves to the win.
The Lions scored first, striking in the second inning, but were held scoreless the rest of the way as Brown settled in on the mound. Anderson's two-run homer was all the offense Pepperdine would need as they move to 38-16 on the year. The Waves will play the winner of LMU vs. Gonzaga Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the WCC Championship game on ESPNU.
"Aaron proved why he was pitcher of the year today," said head coach Steve Rodriguez. "The wind got ahold of a ball early and put us behind, but we didn't let it rattle us and Aaron was amazing. To only give up one run against this LMU team is phenomenal. He even was able to get on base and make some things happen for us and that's why he's one of the best players in not only the conference, but the country."
LMU got on the board when Brice Savage tripled off the wall in centerfield and then was brought home on a sacrifice fly by Tommy Cheek in the second inning.
The Waves would answer in the fourth when Anderson (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza HS) hit his fifth home run of the season, belting a high fly ball over the left-field wall to give Pepperdine the 2-1 lead. Brown (Chatsworth, Calif./Chatsworth HS) led off the inning with a single to score on the home run.
"That's what Brad has been doing all year for us," said Rodriguez. "He comes up in big spots, with runners on and comes through for us. That was big."
The Waves would chase LMU starter Patrick McGrath in the sixth and then load the bases with just one out. After hitting the first batter he saw to fill the bases, LMU reliever Sean Buckle got a strikeout and then a line-out to center to end the threat. The Lions then threatened in the following frame, loading the bases with one out. Pepperdine came up with a huge 6-4-3 double play, though, to end the inning and maintain the one-run lead.
An eighth inning error on a one-hopper to third scored two runs for the Waves to give Pepperdine the 4-1 advantage.Eric Karch (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West HS) came in to close it out, working a scoreless ninth for the second day in a row to record his 13th save of the year.
The win was Brown's 11th as he moves to 11-1 on the season. The junior lefty gave up five hits and one earned run, while striking out seven batters and walking just two in the game. He now has 96 strikeouts and a 2.15 ERA on the year.
David Fletcher was the only Lion to post multiple hits, going 2-for-4 at the plate. McGrath tossed 5.1 innings, giving up nine hits and two earned runs in the start.
Saturday's championship game will be the first for the Waves since the four-team playoff was instituted by the WCC last year. Pepperdine already owns the regular-season title after an 18-9 conference season this year.