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Waves Complete Sweep With 21-2 Victory Over SMC


MALIBU, Calif. – Pepperdine baseball completed its first conference sweep of the season with a 21-2 victory over Saint Mary’s Saturday afternoon at Eddy D. Field Stadium. The Waves began conference play 0-5, but are right back in the thick of the WCC standings at 4-5 and are 20-13 overall.

Winners of four straight, Pepperdine currently sits tied for fourth place with San Francisco three games behind conference leaders San Diego and Loyola Marymount, both of which are 7-2. Saint Mary’s (19-17) is tied for seventh with Santa Clara at 3-6.

“We came into this weekend feeling totally different,” senior shortstop Denny Duron (Shreveport, La./Evangel Christian Academy) said. “We were a lot more laid back and relaxed. And now that we’ve got the ball rolling, I think we’re going to be pretty tough to stop.”

Duron was one of seven Waves with multiple RBI today as the team combined to score 21 times on 18 hits – three of which went for extra bases, including Duron’s double. Pepperdine scored eight runs in the first, then matched that total in the fourth before watching its bench produce half as much in a four-run seventh.

Nearly every member of the roster became involved with the offensive fireworks at some point, including senior pitcher Doug Konokse (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon HS) who scored one of those seventh-inning runs after drawing a base on balls. Konoske also pitched a scoreless ninth on just 11 pitches.

The novelty of seeing Konoske at the plate provided a great deal of enthusiasm for a Pepperdine dugout that was left sullen one week ago after Gonzaga won the first two games at Eddy D. Field Stadium. The Waves, who had been struggling to find those timely extra-base hits during their seven-game losing streak, couldn’t do anything but beat around the Gaels’ pitching staff this week as they finished the series with a .391 batting average and 35 runs scored.

Senior Nate Simon (Duvall, Wash./Redmond HS) led the Waves by going 7-for-11 (.636) with three doubles, a home run and seven RBI. Freshman Aaron Gates (Villa Park, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS), Duron and rookie Brian Humphries (El Cajon, Calif./Granite Hills HS) also batted .500 or above for the series.

“After spending a week or so scuffling as a team, we made some adjustments to the basics of everyone’s game because we wanted them all to remember how to do the things that make them great,” head coach Steve Rodriguez said. “We really focused on our fundamentals and I think our efforts really showed in our approach at the plate and on the mound. It was great to get this much run support for our pitchers – they’ve really been carrying this team –  and now our offense looks to be feeling just as good.”

Sophomore and starting pitcher Matt Bywater (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Thousand Oaks HS) struck out the side in the first and then watched from the bench for close to a half hour as each member of the starting nine either scored or drove in a run. He then seemingly had to wait twice as long during the fourth, but was able to keep loose in the bullpen during those big innings.

“I just had to stay focused,” said Bywater, who allowed each of his two runs immediately following the eight-run innings. “But 21 runs will give any pitcher a lot of confidence, because even if you mess up you know the offense can still pick you up.”

Bywater was close to flawless once again as he struck out 10 over six innings, while walking one and scattering three hits. He has stuck out 10 or more batters in three of this year’s seven starts, in which Pepperdine is 6-1 – stats that could keep him part of the weekend rotation for the remainder of the season.

“It was great to see Matt make adjustments, because it can be tough for a pitcher sitting through an eight-run first inning and then have the score grow to 16-1 by the fourth,” Rodriguez said. “A pitcher in that situation has to keep his focus and concentrate on getting better. You just can’t go back out there and pitch.”

Tyler Hess (Alamo, Calif./De La Salle), Jonathan Harmston (Fresno, Calif./Bullard HS) and Konoske each worked a shutout inning to complete the game. Harmston, who had not pitched since the Chicago State series, struck out the top of the Gaels’ order which included power hitters Troy Channing and Kyle Jensen.

Channing and Jensen entered the series with 27 home runs and 76 RBI, but accounted for very little offense beyond game one. The two sluggers combined to hit .300 with two runs scored and four RBI.

Pepperdine returns to action Monday for a 3 p.m. home game against Long Beach State. These two schools met twice during the fall and tied 8-8 at Long Beach before Pepperdine defeated them at Eddy D. Field Stadium, 14-3.

Pepperdine Waves 21, Saint Mary's 2 (Apr 11, 2009 at Malibu, Calif.)
Saint Mary's              010 010 000  -  2  4  3      (19-17, 3-6 WCC)
Pepperdine Waves     800 810 40X  - 21 18  0      (20-13, 4-5 WCC)
Pitchers: Saint Mary's - BARRACLOUGH, Kyle; ANDERSON, Mark (1); MUNILL, Jimmy (4);
SCHMARZO, Alex (4); EK, Dorsey (7); SELDEN, Tony (7); MELGOSA, Markus (8). Pepperdine Waves -
BYWATER, Matt; HESS, Tyler (7); HARMSTON, Jonathan (8); KONOSKE, Doug (9).
Win - BYWATER, Matt (3-1)  Loss - BARRACLOUGH, Kyle (2-4)  T - 3:17  A - 467
Weather: Sunny, 63
MUNILL faced 4 batters in the 4th.
SCHMARZO faced 3 batters in the 7th.



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