Pepperdine Wins Wild Game at No. 13 UCLA, 8-7
March 7, 2014
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Pepperdine baseball team held on for a wild 8-7 win over No. 13 UCLA on the road Friday night, getting a big two-run blast from Bryan Langlois and what turned out to be the game-winning insurance run from Hutton Moyer in the ninth.
What started out with the look of a pitcher’s duel between the two teams’ aces, turned in to an offensive slugfest as the Waves scored five runs in the sixth inning to break the game open and then UCLA answered with five in the seventh. Moyer doubled into center, giving the visiting Waves an 8-6 lead heading to the ninth where a Shane Zeile homer left the Bruins still a run short.
“Both teams had some issues to work through in this game,” said head coach Steve Rodriguez. “They were able to get some big hits when they needed to. We capitalized on some walks they gave us and when it came down to it in the end, we found a way to win.”
After Langlois (Oak Park, Calif./Oak Park HS) blasted a shot to left field in the fourth inning, the Waves owned a 2-1 lead heading into the sixth inning. Manny Jefferson (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood HS) led off the sixth by driving the first pitch he saw off the left field wall for a double and then Moyer (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic HS) recorded his first RBI of the day, bringing Jefferson home with a single. From there the floodgates opened.
After a pair of walks, Aaron Brown (Chatsworth, Calif./Chatsworth HS) recorded an RBI single, chasing UCLA starter James Karpielian from the game. The next two Bruin relievers handed out back-to-back run-scoring walks and Brandon Caruso (Pasadena, Calif./Loyola HS) capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly to put the Waves up 7-1.
The comfortable lead would last into the seventh inning when four straight singles scored a run and chased Pepperdine starter Corey Miller (Laguna Niguel, Calif./JSerra Catholic HS) with the bases loaded. Zeile doubled off the top of the wall in left to plate three runners and was later driven in by Christoph Bono to pull UCLA to within one, 7-6.
Chandler Blanchard (Henderson, Nev./Coronado HS) gave up the RBI single to Bono, but settled in to end the inning and then work a scoreless eighth. Moyer came up in the ninth and with two outs doubled to center field, bringing home Caruso and giving the Waves a two-run lead. They would need it after Zeile hit a solo-shot in the bottom half of the frame. Eric Karch (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West HS) handled the only other three Bruin hitters he faced with ease, though, picking up his third save of the year.
“Blanchard made one mistake, but bounced back extremely well I thought and did a great job in the eighth,” said Rodriguez. “Then Karch came in and closed it out. There’s nobody I would rather have out there at the end of a game, and that’s why he’s our guy in the ninth. Hutton just did a great job with two outs. He’s been seeing the ball really well as of late and that’s a great sign for us.”
Moyer was 2-for-4 in the game and both he and Langlois led the Waves with two-RBI days. Pepperdine scored eight runs on six hits. Miller picked up the win, moving to 2-1 on the year. He struck out six and gave up five earned runs.
Karpielian took the loss for UCLA, falling to 2-2. The Bruin’s starter struck out seven, but also gave up seven earned runs. He had allowed just two earned runs in his first three starts this season.
“I told the guys I still don’t think we’ve played our best baseball,” said Rodriguez. “We’re making some mistakes, but finding ways to overcome them. As long as we keep improving and figure out how to fix some of those things going forward, I think we’ll be in good shape.”
The Waves move to 10-3 on the year and the Bruins fall to 7-6. Pepperdine faces USC in another non-conference road game tomorrow at 2 p.m.