Waves to Open 73rd Baseball Season Friday as They Host No. 14 Oklahoma
Feb. 16, 2012
THIS WEEK FOR THE WAVES: The Waves are set to open the 2012 season, the 73rd baseball season in Pepperdine history. The team will open with a three-game homestand as they host No. 14 Oklahoma from Feb. 17-19. The will then return to host VCU on Feb. 21 and 22. The Waves open the season with nine games in the friendly confines of Eddy D. Field Stadium.
THE 2012 PEPPERDINE WAVES: This season the Waves boast a strong mix of returners and new faces. The Waves return the entire infield, a strong pitching core led by junior righthander Jon Moscot and sophomore righty Scott Frazier. The team now has a strong pen to close out games with freshman lefty Aaron Brown and sophomore Michael Swanner. The Waves are versatile in the outfield, as they can go with experience led by Tony Cooper, David DiPaola and Ryan Van Amburg, or youth with the likes of freshmen Brown and Matt Gelalich.
OKLAHOMA SOONERS: This is just the second meeting in the series between OU and Pepperdine. The last time the two programs met was in the 1988 NCAA Tournament in Tempe, Ariz., where the Waves defeated the Sooners 10-1.
SCOUTING THE SOONERS: The Sooners return 15 letterwinners and seven starters (five position players, two pitchers) from the 2011 team. Joining the returners is a strong recruiting class of 21 players, that was ranked No. 4 by Collegiate Baseball. The team is led by senior shortstop Caleb Bushyhead, who is one of three three-year starters returning (Cody Reine and Max White). He was a quarterfinalist for the 2010 Brooks Wallace Award (nation's top shortstop). OU is ranked as high as No. 14 by the NCBWA in their preseason poll. They are picked to finish third in the Big 12 according to a vote of their coaches in the preseason poll. Last year they went 41-19 overall and were 14-11 in Big 12 play.
PRESEASON ALL-WCC: For the second-straight season junior infielder Joe Severwas named an All-WCC preseason selection. Sever is coming off a 2011 season where he was named All-WCC for the first time in his career. He started all 55 games for the Waves as a sophomore and batted .279, with 32 RBI and six home runs.
PRESEASON WCC POLL: The Waves garnered 30 points in a vote by the conference coaches and are picked to finish tied for fifth with Saint Mary's. San Diego 59 points and is picked to win the conference.
FRESHMEN PHENOMS: The Waves boast the 16th-best recruiting class according to Baseball America. The group of 12 incoming freshmen is highlighted by pitcher/outfielder Aaron Brown and infielder Austin Davidson. Both Brown and Davidson were drafted in the 17th and 21st rounds of the 2011 MLB draft, but chose to attend Pepperdine. Key freshmen also include catchers James Grandpre and Kolten Yamaguchi that will see significant playing time behind the dish. Matt Forgatch, a redshirt senior transfer from Division II Denison University will vie for a spot in the outfield and brings valuable experience to the Waves.
SUMMER BALL: The Waves spread out across the country to play for summer ball teams from the Cape Cod League to Hawai'i. Junior pitcher Jon Moscot led the Hyannis Harbor Hawks with 46 strikeouts, second-best in the league. Junior infielder Zach Vincej also played with Moscot in Hyannis and helped the team to the Western Division semifinals. Junior Joe Sever also played in the Cape, as he suited up for the Chatham Anglers. He was named a top prospect by Perfect Game USA. Freshman outfielder/pitcher Aaron Brown was named the No. 3 prospect out of the California Collegiate League and was also named the Best Athlete in the league by Perfect Game USA. He hit .303 with seven home runs, 10 doubles and 28 RBI for the Glendale Angelenos. He earned first team All-CCL honors and was named theCCL's Top MLB Hitting Prospect. Senior Miles Silversteinwas also named to the NBC All-Midwest Regional team as he played for the El Dorado (Kan.) Broncos in the Jayhawak League.
THE 2011 PEPPERDINE WAVES: Finished the year with an overall mark of 22-34 (.393), setting the record for most losses in a single season ... Have lost in excess of 30 games the previous two seasons and four times since 2002 ... Placed seventh in the eight-team West Coast Conference with a record of 7-14 (.333) ... Had not finished as low as seventh place vs. the conference since 1969 and the 14 losses were their most since 1981 (14-14) ... Established a game record with seven sacrifice hits vs. BYU (3/31) and tied another game high with six stolen bases vs. Dayton (3/25) ... Played in a season high 10 extra-inning contests, finishing with a 4-6 record ... The previous record of eight had been in place since 1990 ... The Waves lost their last five extra-inning games dating back to March 31 ... Pepperdine's 15-inning affair at UC Santa Barbara on April 19 tied a program record for longest game (innings) ... Pepperdine also went 15 rounds with Cal State Northridge in 1992, Cal State Fullerton in 1997 and Portland in 2002 ... The Waves record book tracks extra-inning games back to 1981.
ALL-WCC HONOREES: Brian Humphries made the All-WCC Team for the third consecutive year ... Aaron Gates and Joe Sever were first-time honorees, however, Sever made both the WCC All-Freshman Team and was an honorable mention in 2010 ... Scott Frazier and Corey Millerwere honored with spots on the WCC All-Freshman Team.
THE HEAD COACH: Steve Rodriguez has completed eight seasons as head coach of Pepperdine baseball and owns an all-time record of 263-205 (.562) ... Passed his former head coach Andy Lopez (241) for fourth place on the Waves' all-time coaching wins list following a three-game sweep of Eastern Kentucky (2/28-20) ... Moved ahead of Frank Sanchez (257) for third place with a 2-1 win vs. LMU on April 22 ... Enters the 2012 season tied with John Scolinos (263) for second place ... Served as an assistant coach under Sanchez from 2000 to 2003 ... Managed his 450th game as the Waves' head coach on April 23, 2011 vs. LMU ... Only Dave Gorrie (611) and Scolinos (482) have managed more games than Rodriguez (468) while wearing the Pepperdine uniform ... Guided his clubs to three WCC titles and five NCAA Regional appearances ... Voted Top Chef at the 2010 and 2011 Southern California Baseball Coaches Cooking Challenges hosted by ESPN Zone in Anaheim.