Waves to Face No. 3 Cal Poly, LBSU, LMU This Week
April 28, 2014
THIS WEEK FOR THE WAVES: No. 17 Pepperdine hosts No. 3 Cal Poly to start the week and then heads to Long Beach State and LMU. The Waves host the Mustangs on Tuesday at 3 p.m. and then face LBSU on the road on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in their two non-conference games. First-place Pepperdine and second-place LMU will play a three-game WCC series at LMU Fri.-Sun. with the first two games scheduled for 6 p.m. and the final for 1 p.m. The weekend series will be the final installment of this year's Wells Fargo PCH Cup.
COVERAGE: Video of the Waves matchup with Cal Poly will be broadcast live on WaveCasts and audio of all road games will also be carried live on WaveCasts.
FOLLOW AND LIKE WAVES BASEBALL: Be sure and join Pepperdine's growing communities on Facebook and Twitter today. Follow and like Waves baseball on Facebook (Pepperdine Baseball) or Twitter (@PEPPBASEBALL).
SCOUTING CAL POLY: The Mustangs dropped their first series of the year this past weekend, losing two out of three to Long Beach State. Prior to that Cal Poly had won 12 in a row, including a three-game sweep of Cal State Fullerton at home. The Mustangs are currently ranked No. 3.
SCOUTING LBSU: The Dirtbags worked their way back near the .500 mark with a pair of wins last weekend over Cal Poly. It was the second straight series win for surging LBSU after the team also won a home series against UC Santa Barbara the week before. The Waves defeated LBSU 6-3 earlier this season.
SCOUTING LOYOLA MARYMOUNT: The Lions currently sit in a tie for second in the WCC standings, but are four games back of the Waves in the loss column. LMU has dropped its last two WCC series to Santa Clara and BYU, but prior to that was on a seven-game winning streak.
GSA WATCH LIST: USA Baseball released its Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list and Pepperdine's Corey Miller and Aaron Brown were named to the list. Brown and Miller were two of 50 players to make the list and the Waves were one of nine teams to have multiple players make the cut. The Golden Spikes Award is given each year to the top amateur baseball player in America.
STOPPER WATCH LIST: Eric Karch was named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year mid-season watch list this past week, as one of 50 players nationally. The Stopper of the Year Award is given annually to the top relief pitcher in Division I baseball. Karch currently leads the WCC and is fifth in the nation with 11 saves. He also has a 0.82 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 22.0 innings pitched.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST: The Waves were the only team in the country with three players named to the National Pitcher of the Year watch list, with Miller, Brown and Karch being named to the list. The award is sponsored by Diamond and is given out by the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
TWO-WAY SKILLS: Aaron Brown is one of eight players in the country to hit a home run in a game where he also records a win on the mound, and he is the only player to do so three times. In fact, only he and Kentucky's A.J. Reed have done it more than once. Brown hit a homer and picked up a win over Hawaii on March 1, had a two-homer day and got the win over Santa Clara on March 23, and hit his sixth home run of the year and got his seventh win on the mound against BYU on April 12.
IN THE RANKINGS: Despite being inactive for the week, Pepperdine picked up spots in both the USA Today Coaches Poll and the NCBWA. The Waves moved up two places to No. 23 in the coaches poll and one spot to No. 25 in the NCBWA poll. Pepperdine held firm at No. 17 in the Collegiate Baseball rankings and No. 25 in the Perfect Game USA rankings. The Waves have been ranked for the past five weeks.
30-WIN SEASON: The Waves Sunday win against San Francisco gave the team its eighth 30-win season during head coach Steve Rodriguez's 11-year tenure. Since Rodriguez took over in 2004, the Waves have averaged 32.6 wins per season, have won more than 40 games twice and more than 35 games five times.
PCH CUP: The Waves series against LMU will be the final chance for either side to score points in the Wells Fargo PCH Cup. The series will be somewhat of a formality as far as the cup standings go, however, as the Waves hold a 9.5-7.5 lead and there is only 1.0 point available to the Lions with a series win. Separated by 19.1 miles of scenic coastline, the longtime crosstown adversaries came together in an effort to boost their decades-long rivalry with the creation of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) Cup. The series serves as an annual scorecard for the NCAA-sponsored athletic contests between the Lions and Waves. Wells Fargo began sponsoring the PCH Cup prior to the 2011-12 competition.
SCOUTING MAY: The Waves play their final three WCC series in the May before closing the month with the WCC Tournament. After taking on LMU this week, Pepperdine has series against defending WCC conference tournament champion San Diego (May 9-11) at home and defending WCC regular season champion Gonzaga (May 16-18) on the road. The Waves also have non-conference games against Cal Poly (May 6) and UC Santa Barbara (May 13).
COACHES POLL: 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.
PRESEASON ALL-WCC: Juniors Austin Davidson (INF), Kolten Yamaguchi (C) and Aaron Brown (LHP) all got nods on the Preseason All-WCC list. It is Davidson's second time garnering the preseason honor and the first for both Yamaguchi and Brown. 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.
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.
TEAM USA: 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.
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.
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.