Waves Come Back for Walk-Off 4-3 Win Over USC
April 7, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. – The No. 24 Pepperdine baseball team scored two runs off USC closer Kyle Davis in the ninth inning Tuesday, getting a walk-off single from Austin Davidson to plate the game-winning run and give the Waves a 4-3 victory.
Manny Jefferson drove in two of the four runs for Pepperdine on the day, knocking home the game-tying run in the ninth with his third hit of the day.
“The guys showed a lot of resiliency today, picking up this win,” said head coach Steve Rodriguez. “It’s something we carried over from this weekend. The guys competed and gave a great effort today and it was really fun to watch. At the end we were just able to get our best hitter up in the right spot and he came through.”
It was a tie ballgame heading into the ninth inning, when the Trojans got a sacrifice fly off Waves closer Eric Karch (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West HS) to take a 3-2 lead. Karch was able to induce a popout on the next batter, getting out of the inning and limiting the damage.
Aaron Barnett (Mission Viejo, Calif./Capistrano Valley HS) led off the bottom of the ninth with a single to right field after falling behind 0-2 in the count and was pinch-run for by Jeremy Goldenetz (Corona, Calif./Corona Santiago HS). Brandon Caruso (Pasadena, Calif./Loyola HS) followed with a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner and then when Kolten Yamaguchi (Kona, Hawai'i/Konawaena HS) hit a grounder to shortstop the Trojan fielder tried unsuccessfully to throw Goldenetz out at third, giving the Waves two runners on with one out.
Jefferson (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood HS) then came up and drove a line-drive into centerfield, tieing the game at 3-3. Following a Hutton Moyer (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic HS) single to load the bases, Davidson (Oxnard, Calif./Oxnard HS) grounded a ball right back up the middle to bring home the winning run.
“My first two swings were a little out of control, but after that I was just able to settle in and get something to hit,” said Davidson. “This was a good win for us. We’ve been playing well lately and have a lot of confidence right now.”
Davidson finished the day 2-for-5 as the Waves had 11 total hits in the ballgame. Jefferson finished the day 3-for-3, leading all players with his two RBI. Barnett also went 2-for-4 on the day.
USC struck first in the game, plating a pair of runners in the fourth inning on a double by Timmy Robinson and a sacrifice fly. Robinson led all players with four hits in the game, driving in one run and scoring another for the Trojans.
Caruso kicked off a rally for the Waves in the bottom of the fifth, beating out a double play on a grounder that scored Pepperdine’s first run of the game. Jefferson stepped up two batters later, plating the tying run with his second single of the day. The Waves’ freshman shortstop reached base four times on the day, also recording a walk in the game.
“Manny has been getting better and better as the year has gone on,” said Rodriguez. “It was great to see a young guy come up in a couple big spots and really come through for us.”
Karch picked up the win in the game, moving to 3-0 on the year. USC’s Davis, who had a 0.75 ERA in 24.0 innings pitched coming into Tuesday, took the loss to fall to 1-3 after giving up the two runs in the ninth.
The non-conference win moves the Waves to 25-7 and gives Pepperdine a season sweep of the Trojans after having already beat USC 10-4 on the road earlier in the year. The Trojans fall to 15-16 with the loss. Pepperdine will host BYU for a three-game WCC series starting on Thursday.