Feb. 14, 2014
THIS WEEKEND’S TILT
The Pepperdine baseball team takes on St. John’s to open the 2014 season with a three game series at Eddy D. Field Stadium this weekend. Friday’s season opener will see a 2 p.m. first pitch with Saturday and Sunday starting at 1 p.m. for the teams.
Video of all three games will be broadcast live on WaveCasts. Links to live stats will also be available prior to each game on pepperdinesports.com.
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The Waves open the season with eight straight games at home before closing the month with a four game set in Hawaii. Pepperdine hosts series against both St. John’s and Utah Valley, as well as a single matchup with the Long Beach State Dirtbags and an exhibition against Japan Railway east.
WAVES ROSTER BREAKDOWN
This year’s Waves squad features a good balance of veterans and young talent, with 19 returners and 16 newcomers on the roster. The Waves have three seniors, seven juniors, seven sophomores and 18 freshmen. All four of the Waves’ probable starting pitchers are returners and six of the probable starting position players were with the team last season as well.
SCOUTING ST. JOHN’S
The Red Storm finished last season 23-35 overall and 10-14 in Big East play. St. John’s lost its only two games of the Big East Postseason Tournament to end the season.
All-Time: Pepperdine leads 2-1.
Last Five: Pepperdine leads 2-1.
Last 10: Pepperdine leads 2-1.
Pepperdine’s last win: 1983, 2-1
St. John’s last win: 1993, 4-1
With the release of the 2014 WCC Preseason Coaches Poll, Pepperdine was picked to finish second in the conference. The Waves tallied 68 total points in the coaches poll, with one first place vote, to sit behind defending WCC Tournament Champion San Diego (76 points, 6 first place). Four teams received first place votes in the poll. San Francisco finished just behind the Waves in the voting with 66 points (2 first place) and Loyola Marymount (56 points) and Gonzaga (51 points) rounded out the top five. BYU garnered the lone remaining first place vote, finishing sixth in the poll.
Juniors Austin Davidson (INF), Kolten Yamaguchi (C) and Aaron Brown (LHP) all got nods on the All-WCC list. It is Davidson's second time garnering the preseason honor and the first for both Yamaguchi and Brown. Pepperdine and San Francisco led the way with three players each named to the Preseason All-WCC Team. Yamaguchi led the team's regular starters with a .309 average last season and a .473 slugging percentage on his way to 34 hits and 18 RBI. Davidson posted a team high 58 hits in 2013, driving in 24 runs and hitting .287. Brown led the way in the win category for the Waves' pitching staff last year, posting a 6-3 record in 12 starts. He also did damage from the plate, hitting .313 in 48 at-bats with a pair of homers. Davidson and Yamaguchi were both named to the All-WCC team at the end of last season.
Pepperdine baseball head coach Steve Rodriguez will serve as an assistant coach for the 2014 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team this summer. Also serving alongside Rodriguez are Rob Childress, head coach at Texas A&M, and New Mexico head coach Ray Birmingham. Dave Van Horn, head coach at Arkansas, was announced as the Collegiate National Team manager last April. The staff will face international friendship series with Chinese Taipei, Japan and Cuba (in Havana), as well as complete a domestic exhibition tour and compete in the Honkbal Baseball Week tournament in Haarlem, Netherlands, where Team USA is the defending bronze medalist.
WAVES IN TAIWAN
The Waves traveled to Taiwan this fall, playing in the 2014 Formosa Cup in Tainan City. Pepperdine faced off against teams from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, taking first place in the international competition. The Waves swept through their three games at the tournament to come home with the top prize at the inaugural competition. Bryan Langlois took tournament MVP after leading the Waves offensively with eight RBI.
Mike Scott, one of the top pitchers in Pepperdine baseball history and a former National League Cy Young Award winner, will be inducted into the West Coast Conference's Hall of Honor in March. The 2014 Hall of Honor Brunch & Induction Ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 8, in Las Vegas at the Orleans Hotel in the midst of the WCC Basketball Championships. Tickets ($40 per person) are available from now until February 28 via WCCsports.com.
CAMPUS LIFE PROJECT: In May 2011, Pepperdine launched The Campaign for Pepperdine, the largest fundraising campaign in the University's history. The goal is to raise $450 million to support the Campus Life Project, which will benefit the entire campus. The key piece for Athletics is a new, state-of-the-art, 5,000-seat University Events Center, which will replace Firestone Fieldhouse as the Waves' home. The project has been approved by the County of Los Angeles and the California Coastal Commission, so the biggest step remaining before the arena can be built is fundraising.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY
Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men's sports - one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat - and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest undergraduate enrollment and is the only school not affiliated with a BCS-level conference. The Waves have earned the Division I-AAA All-Sports Trophy, an award based on postseason success that's given to the top non-football school, three times (most recently in 2011-12). Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation's most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #57 overall on U.S. News and World Report's list of America's best colleges.