Waves Down Long Beach State, 6-3, in Eighth Inning Comeback
Feb. 18, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. - The Pepperdine baseball team scored a 6-3 come from behind victory over Long Beach State on a three run double by freshman Aaron Barnett Tuesday afternoon, taking the first of two games with the Dirtbags this season.
After the Waves gave up the go-ahead run to LBSU in the top of the eighth, Pepperdine's Aaron Brown drew a bases loaded hit by pitch to tie it at 3-3 in the bottom half of the inning. Then Barnett came up and ripped a double down the right field line to plate three more and help give the Waves the win. Eric Karch worked a scoreless ninth, using a pair of strikeouts to strand two LBSU runners and get the save.
"Barnett has been very good the first four games and has been very consistent," said head coach Steve Rodriguez. "He's been getting some really big hits and it's great to see because he's worked very hard and it's paying off."
The game started out with a bang as each team got leadoff home runs in the first inning and Brown (Chatsworth, Calif./Chatsworth HS) smacked an RBI triple, giving the Waves a 2-1 lead after the first. From there the contest settled into a pitcher's duel as Matt Maurer (Medford, Ore./North Medford HS) battled two Dirtbag hurlers through 5.2 innings.
Maurer gave up an unearned run in the third on a groundout to short, evening the game at 2-2, before leaving in the fifth inning. It would stay a 2-2 game until the fireworks in the eighth.
"Maurer finds a way to keep you in the ballgame when he's out there," said Rodriguez. "He finds a groove, works hard and gets the job done. Usually he leaves you with a chance to win when he comes out and that's what he did today."
Chandler Blanchard (Henderson, Nev./Coronado HS) tossed 1.2 innings of scoreless baseball in relief before giving way to Jayson Balades (Oxnard, Calif./Oxnard HS), who picked up the win as the pitcher of record when the Waves pulled it out in the end. Karch (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West HS) had a shaky start to the ninth, allowing two runners on with an error and walk, but came back to strike out the next two batters swinging before getting the game ending groundout.
Barnett's (Mission Viejo, Calif./Capistrano Valley HS) game winning hit was his second of the day and his 11th overall in his first four collegiate games. He also doubled his RBI total with the three RBI day.
"I was just trying to not do too much and get a pitch I could hit at the end there," said Barnett, who got the start at DH Tuesday. "The guys in front of me did a great job finding a way to get on base and I was just glad I could come through. This was a great team win and we have a lot of confidence going forward right now."
The Waves finished with seven hits on the day, getting two each from Barnett and Jack Ross (Gilroy, Calif./Palma HS). Ross led things off for the Waves with an opposite field solo shot in the first and then singled in the fifth. Ross' homer was the second of the season for Pepperdine and the first of the freshman's career.
The win moves Pepperdine to 4-1 on the year and drops the Dirtbags to 0-4. Cameron Pongs took the loss for LBSU. The Waves have an exhibition with Japan Railway East Wednesday at 2 p.m. before hosting Utah Valley in a three game series this weekend.