Aaron Brown's Walk-Off Homer Powers Waves to 11-8 Win
Feb. 23, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. – Aaron Brown struck out seven on the mound and then hit a walk-off three-run homer in the 11th inning to power the Pepperdine baseball team to an 11-8 comeback victory over Utah Valley on Sunday.
The Waves trailed 8-4 through five and a half innings, but rallied with runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth to even the game and force extra innings. Eric Karch tossed the final three frames without allowing a hit or a run to pick up the win.
“We played three games against a really good baseball team that pushed us to our limits,” said head coach Steve Rodriguez, whose team swept Utah Valley in the three-game weekend series. “The resiliency of our team in this game really showed me a lot. We still made some mistakes, but I’m very proud of our guys for the competitive nature that they showed today. It was one of those games that was fun to be a part of and really fun to win.”
With one out in the 11th inning Austin Davidson (Oxnard, Calif./Oxnard HS) doubled to right-center and then, following an intentional walk of Bryan Langlois (Oak Park, Calif./Oak Park HS), Brown (Chatsworth, Calif./Chatsworth HS) smacked his first homer of the season deep to right field, clearing the scoreboard to end the game.
“Aaron is a talented athlete,” said Rodriguez. “He does things as hard as he can, all the time and when you play that way, good things are going to happen. He got a pitch to drive to win the game and took care of it.”
Brad Anderson (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza HS) went deep earlier in the game, hitting a two-run shot to left to make it 8-7 in the seventh inning. Pepperdine would even the game in the eighth when Brandon Caruso (Pasadena, Calif./Loyola HS) scored on an RBI groundout from Hutton Moyer (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic HS).
Brown left the mound after five innings with the Waves trailing 6-4 due to a pair of three-run innings for Utah Valley. The Wolverines would tack on two more in the sixth, to go up 8-4, but that was the last runs the visitors were able to manage.
Karch (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West HS) entered the game in the ninth after the Waves tied it up and struck out two batters to hold Utah Valley scoreless the rest of the way. Evan Dunn (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman HS) tossed the 2.2 innings prior to that, also keeping the Wolverines scoreless in his stint, while allowing just one hit.
“Karch did a phenomenal job finishing this game off,” said Rodriguez of his senior reliever who moves to 1-0 on the year. “It’s great to know you have a guy who can come in at the end of the ballgame and pitch and compete like that. I had no worries about him going longer if we had to because we built him up to be a starter. I love having him in that position at the end of a game, though, because win or lose he’ll give me everything he has.”
Brown finished 3-for-6 at the plate, with four RBI and a run scored. Caruso went 4-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored, and Davidson posted three hits and scored two runs on the day.
Craig Brinkerhoff had the big hit of the day for Utah Valley, hitting a three-run homer in the fifth. Seth Rhineer led the Wolverines with three hits in the game.
The win moves the Waves to 6-1 on the year and drops Utah Valley to 2-6. Pepperdine heads out on the road for the first time this season, facing Hawaii in a four-game set this coming week.