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Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount Open WCC Championship Series Friday Afternoon


May 25, 2004

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THIS WEEK: Pepperdine will go in search of its 21st NCAA Championship appearance and 14th West Coast Conference (WCC) title when it battles crosstown rival Loyola Marymount in the WCC's best-of-three championship series at George Page Stadium beginning on Friday at 3 p.m. The series continues with a 1 p.m. contest on Saturday and a third game, if necessary, will be played on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Pepperdine (26-30, 19-11) captured its sixth straight division title last weekend after winning two of three games at San Francisco. The Waves finished three games ahead of Santa Clara in the West Division.

Loyola Marymount (32-20-1, 20-7) clinched the WCC's Coast Division, with a win over Saint Mary's on May 10 to finish ahead of second-place San Diego. The Lions earned the right to host the WCC Championship Series by virtue of its series win over the Waves April 30 - May 2.

LMU and Pepperdine met in both the 1999 and 2000 WCC Championship Series, with the Lions winning both series to claim the conference crown and earn the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Championships.

Pepperdine is the only school to appear in the conference championship series all six years of its existence, winning the conference title in 2001, defeating Gonzaga two games-to-one at Eddy D. Field Stadium.

TICKET INFORMATION: The West Coast Conference has announced that single-game ticket prices will be as follows: $10 - adult reserved seating $8 - adult general admission seating $5 - adult right field foul line seating $5 - child/student/senior citizen general admission seating. Tickets are available now by calling the LMU Ticket Office at 310-338-LION. Fans will want to purchase tickets early, as reserved seating is limited. Tickets will also be available at Page Stadium, with the Ticket Office opening two hours prior to the first pitch on each game day.

WAVES ON THE INTERNET: This weekend's West Coast Conference (WCC) Championship Series can be heard live on the Internet at with Darren Preston providing the play-by-play.

PEPPERDINE IN THE WCC CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: This year marks the sixth consecutive appearance in the West Coast Conference (WCC) Championship Series. In their previous five appearances, the Waves claimed their only title in 2001 when they took two of three games from Gonzaga at Eddy D. Field Stadium. Pepperdine fell to Loyola Marymount in its first two appearances in 1989 and 1990. The hosted San Diego in each of the last two seasons and fell to the Toreros at Eddy D. Field Stadium. Pepperdine's all-time record in the WCC Championship Series stands at 5-9.

PEPPERDINE SEEKS 21ST NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP APPEARANCE: Pepperdine is seeking its 21st overall NCAA Championships appearance fourth in the last six years and second straight. The Waves earned an at-large berth to the 2003 Long Beach State Regional and went 0-2, losing 6-1 to the host 49ers and suffering a heart-breaking 7-5 loss to Minnesota. Pepperdine is 46-42.

SAN FRANCISCO RECAP: Pepperdine ended the regular season by taking two out of three from San Francisco over the weekend at Benedetti Diamond. After dropping the opener 9-5, the Waves rebounded to post 12-4 and 11-6 victories. Sophomore second baseman David Uribes sparked the offense as he batted .571 (8-for-14) with seven runs scored, two doubles, a triple, home run, stolen base and posted a 1.071 slugging percentage during a three-game series at San Francisco over the weekend. He had at least two hits and scored twice in each game and came within a single of hitting for the cycle in the series finale on Sunday as he doubled, tripled and homered in the Waves' win.

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 64-team bracket announcement for the NCAA Championships is scheduled for Monday, May 31, and will be televised live on ESPN2 beginning at 9 a.m. (PDT). The tournament is broken into 16 four-team regionals that will be played Friday, June 4 - Sunday, June 6. The 16 regional sites and hosts will be announced live on ESPN at 12:10 p.m. on Sunday, May 30.

FRIDAY'S STARTER: Senior right hander Jacob Barrack will make his 17th appearance and start of the season on Friday at Loyola Marymount. He is currently 8-5 with a 3.51 ERA. Barrack has logged 100.0 innings, allowed 101 hits, 39 earned runs, walked 33 and struck out a team-leading and career-high 98 89 batters. He is looking to snap a personal two-game losing streak after suffering losses in his last two starts against Santa Clara and San Francisco. Barrack's last outing came on Friday at San Francisco when he worked 6.1 innings, allowed a season-high 11 hits and seven runs, walked three and struck out four. He currently ranks No. 5 on Pepperdine's all-time career strikeout list with 253, No. 9 in appearances (70) and is tied for ninth with 25 career wins.

SATURDAY'S STARTER: Junior right hander Kea Kometani will make his 17th appearance and 16th start of the year on Saturday at Loyola Marymount. He is currently 6-6 with a 4.19 ERA. In 103.0 innings, Kometani has allowed 119 hits, 48 earned runs, walked 36 and struck out 76. In his last outing at San Francisco on Saturday Saturday, Kometani evened his season record after working five innings, allowing five hits, two unearned runs, walking one and striking out out six.

SUNDAY'S STARTER: Freshman right hander Robert Della Grotta will make his 11th appearance and ninth start of the season on Sunday at Loyola Marymount. He is currently 1-5 with a 5.82 ERA. In 38.2 innings, Della Grotta has allowed 28 hits, 16 earned runs, walked 24 and struck out 32. He earned his first career win last Sunday versus Portland when he pitched seven

URIBES NAMED WCC CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore second baseman David Uribes was named the West Coast Conference's (WCC) "Co-Player of the Week" along with San Diego's Jordan Abruzzo for his perfomrance against San Francisco over the weekend. In three games against the Dons, Uribes .571 (8-for-14) with seven runs scored, two doubles, a triple, home run, stolen base and posted a 1.071 slugging percentage during a three-game series at San Francisco over the weekend. He had at least two hits and scored twice in each game and came within a single of hitting for the cycle in the series finale on Sunday as he doubled, tripled and homered in the Waves' win.

TRACY NAMED FRESHMAN ALL-AMERICAN: Rookie catcher catcher Chad Tracy was named a Freshman All-American by Baseball America in its midseason report. Tracy is currently batting .326 with a team-high 11 home runs, has 38 RBI, a .553 slugging percentage, 21 multiple-hit games and 11 multiple-RBI games. The first-year backstop was named the West Coast Conference's (WCC) Player of the Month for March after batting a team-high .449 (31-for-69) in 16 games for the Waves.

ABOUT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT: Loyola Marymount enters this weekend's West Coast Conference (WCC) Championship Series with a 32-20-1 overall record and captured the conference's Coast Division with a 20-7 league mark. The Lions, who had their final series of Gonzaga cancelled due to inclement weather, are riding a six-game winning streak. LMU was last in action on May 18 when it defeated Cal State Northridge 13-6. The Lions are currently batting .297 as a team and have a collective ERA of 5.37. LMU has five players batting .300 or better and is led by senior Jonathan Higashi, who is batting .360 with a team-high 46 RBI. The Lions' pitching staff is led by sophomore right handers Jeff Stevens (6-0, 3.41) and Stephen Kahn (7-2, 3.46). Head Coach Frank Cruz is in his eighth season at LMU and has compiled an overall record to date of 229-230-2 (.499).

SERIES VERSUS LOYOLA MARYMOUNT: Friday's series opener between Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount will mark the 151st meeting between the two teams since 1970, with the Waves leading the all-time series, 101-49. The two teams met earlier this season in a three-game series at LMU and the Lions captured two of three games, winning by scores of 7-3 and 12-6. The Waves won the middle game by a 4-3 count. Pepperdine and LMU have squared off twice previously in the WCC Championship Series and the Lions captured both series in 1999 and 2000.

LAST TIME VERSUS LMU: Pepperdine traveled to Loyola Marymount earlier this season (April 30 - May 1) and lost two of three games to the Lions at George Page Stadium. The Waves suffered a 7-3 loss in Friday's opener, rebounded to even the series at a game apiece with a 4-3 win on Saturday and lost the series finale by a 12-6 count on Sunday. LMU broke a 2-2 tie with three runs in the sixth inning and went on to post a win on Friday. The Lions Clint McGill had two hits, drove in a pair of runs and earned a save after working 1.2 innings of relief. In Saturday's Waves' win, senior first baseman Brent Lewis clubbed a first-inning three-run homer that sparked the Waves to a 4-3 victory. Junior right hander Kea Kometani worked 7.2 innings to earn the victory. In Sunday's series finale, LMU's Jonathan Oller drove in six runs with a double and grand slam to lead the Lions to a come-from-behind victory.

PEPPERDINE DOMINANT FORCE IN WCC: Since the West Coast Conference (WCC) implemented divisional play in 1999, Pepperdine has been the conference's dominant team, compiling a six-year WCC record of 128-52 (.711), an average of 21.3 wins per season, captured six divisional crowns and appeared in the WCC Championship Series each year of its existence. Over that same time period, San Diego has the second-best league mark, registering a 102-77-1 (.557) record, claiming two divisional titles and winning two WCC Championship Series.

URIBES NEARING SINGLE-SEASON RUNS RECORD: Sophomore second baseman David Uribes is four runs of tying the Pepperdine single-season record for most runs scored. He currently has 70 on the year and trails Ryan Christenson who totaled 74 in 1995. His 70 runs scored lead the West Coast Conference.

BRIGHTWELL MOVES INTO DOUBLES TOP 10 LIST: Senior outfielder Cory Brightwell against San Francisco on Saturday to move into a tie for 10th place on Pepperdine's all-time doubles list. He has eight two-baggers thus far this season to bring his career total to 44 and tie Matt Howard (1986-89) for 10th place on the Waves' all-time list.

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: Pepperdine is currently batting .305 as a team and has a collective ERA of 5.02...The Waves' 305 team average is their highest since batting .318 in 2001 when they went 42-18 and captured the West Coast Conference title...Pepperdine's 5.02 ERA is its highest since 2002 when the pitching staff recorded a 5.76 team ERA, the highest in school history and the only time that a Waves pitching staff has ended a season with an ERA of 5.00 or higher...Pepperdine is batting .323 in WCC play and has a team ERA of 4.31...The Waves have a total of seven regulars batting .300 or better for the season and eight players are hitting .300 or better in conference play...Junior designated hitter Steve Kleen, in the midst of a career-high 11-game hitting streak, tops the Waves with a .357 average, 18 doubles , 49 RBI and 13-multiple-RBI games...His 18 doubles are one shy of tying a group of six players for ninth place on the school's all-time single season list...During his current 11-game hitting streak, Kleen is batting .404 (21-for-52) with 11 runs scored, six doubles, a home run, 14 RBI and .577 slugging percentage...Freshman Luke Salas ranks second on the club with a .343 average...Sophomore second baseman David Uribes is third on the Waves with a .336 average, leads the team with 70 runs scored, 79 hits, four triples, 18 stolen bases and 26 multiple-hit games...His 70 runs scored and 18 stolen bases also lead the WCC...Uribes has also been one of the conference's top hitters during league play as ranks fourth in average (.407) and first in runs (43), hits (55), hit-by-pitch (10) and stolen bases (14)...Uribes has also been swinging a hot bat of llate as he is batting .408 (20-for-49) with 17 runs scored, three doubles, two triples, one home run, four RBI, has a .612 slugging percentage and is 5-for-5 in stolen bases.

WAVES GARNER PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS: Senior pitchers Jacob Barrack and Brandon Boesch were named to the West Coast Conference's (WCC) preseason all-conference team by the league's coaches in a poll conducted by Baseball America. Barrack compiled a 9-3 record and 3.44 ERA as a junior, while Boesch recorded a 6-5 mark and 5.10 ERA. Sophomore shortstop David Uribes (.330-2-28) was also selected to the team along with senior first baseman/designated hitter Brent Lewis (.309-3-18) who transferred to Pepperdine after playing at Mississippi State last year.

PEPPERDINE WELL-TOOLED: In a poll of West Coast Conference (WCC) coaches conducted by Baseball America, sophomore second baseman Nick Kliebert and junior third baseman Patrick Rooney were labeled as the conference's best defensive players at their positions. Additionally, senior Brandon Boesch was picked as the WCC's best control pitcher.

MORE ACCOLADES: Junior right hander Kea Kometani was ranked as the West Coast Conference's (WCC) seventh-best pro prospect and sophomore shortstop David Uribes rated 10th in a poll of coaches conducted by Baseball America. Senior Brent Lewis, who transferred to Pepperdine from Mississippi State, was ranked as the second-best newcomer to the conference behind pitcher Jared Hughes of Santa Clara.

CHRIS KELLY, GREG RAMIREZ SELECTED IN 2003 FIRST YEAR PLAYER DRAFT: For the 29th consecutive year, Pepperdine had at least one player taken in Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft in 2003. Two players were selected bringing the all-time number of times a player has been drafted to 114. Junior first baseman / outfielder Chris Kelly was chosen in the sixth round in last June's draft by the Chicago White Sox and senior right hander Greg Ramirez was a 22nd round selection of the New York Mets.

FIVE FORMER WAVES MAKE MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT IN 2003: The 2003 season proved to be a memorable year for five former Pepperdine baseball players as infielders Danny Garcia, David Matranga, pitchers Dan Haren and Noah Lowry along with catcher Dane Sardinha made their Major League Baseball debuts. Garcia, Haren, Lowry and Sardinha were teammates during the 1999 and 2000 campaigns. Sardinha was a second round pick of Cincinnati, while Garcia, Haren and Lowry were part of a school-record nine players selected in the 2001 draft. Haren was a second round draft pick of the Cardinals, and after being called up in June, finished his rookie season with a 3-7 record, 5.08 ERA and struck out 43 in 72.2 innings. Garcia, a fifth round pick of the New York Mets, collected two hits in his major league debut. Lowry, a first round pick by the Giants, made his major league debut against Arizona and pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Matranga, who played at Pepperdine from 1996-98, made an impressive big league debut as he homered in his first major league at-bat against the Texas Rangers on June 27.

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: Since Eddy D. Field Stadium opened in 1973, Pepperdine has been a tough team to beat at home, compiling an overall record to date of 687-259-13 (.723) and registering just one losing season in 31 years. The Waves were 9-12 in the inaugural season of 1973 and since then has produced 29 winning seasons in the last 31 years, including a 15-12 record this season. The Waves have had 27 straight winning records at home. Pepperdine finished .500 (11-11-2) in 1977.

WAVES POST 26 STRAIGHT 30-WIN SEASONS: The 2003 campaign marked the 26th consecutive season that Pepperdine has won at least 30 games. The Waves were 36-25 in 2003. Dating back to the 1978 season, the Waves have totaled at least 30 wins every year, 40 games 11 times and posted two-50-win campaigns during that time. Pepperdine is currently 26-30 in 2004 and needs to win two of three games at WCC Championship Series and win two games in the NCAA Tournament to secure its 27th consecutive 30-win season.

WAVES AMONG TOP TEAMS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Since 1979, Pepperdine is the second winningest program in Southern California, trailing only Cal State Fullerton heading into the 2004 season. The Waves have resgistered a 976-491 (.665) record and made 14 NCAA Tournament appearances during that time. Cal State Fullerton has compiled an overall record of 1,111-471 (.702) and made 20 NCAA appearances. Pepperdine's 14 NCAA Tournament appearances are third behind the Titans and USC (15).

RODRIGUEZ VICTORIOUS IN HEAD COACHING DEBUT: Steve Rodriguez, a two-time All-American at Pepperdine and a Waves' assistant coach the last four seasons, is beginning his first season as the program's 16th head coach. He replaced Frank Sanchez who compiled a 257-161 (.615) in seven seasons in Malibu. Rodriguez was victorious in his head coaching debut as Pepperdine registered an 8-7 victory over UC Irvine in the season opener on Tuesday. He became become the Waves' sixth head coach since 1954 to win his head coaching debut, joining Walter Glass (1961), Gary Marks (1963), Wayne Wright (1969), Andy Lopez (1989) and Pat Harrison (1995). Rodriguez is one of 27 rookie head coaches in Division I baseball this year. He is also one of three first-year head coaches, joining Gonzaga's Machtolf and Saint Mary's Jedd Soto.

THE PROGRAM: In the midst of its 65th season of intercollegiate competition, the Pepperdine baseball program has compiled an all-time mark to date of 1,664-1,176-22 (.585). The Waves have advanced to the NCAA Championships on 20 occasions, and Pepperdine has participated at the College World Series twice-finishing third in 1979 and winning the national title in 1992. Pepperdine has won 30 or more games in each of the last 26 seasons dating back to 1978, and surpassed the 40-win mark on 11 occasions during that time span. Since the West Coast Conference was re-instituted for baseball prior to the 1985 season, Pepperdine has either won or shared 10 of the last 19 league championships. Dating back to the start of the 1985 campaign, Pepperdine has compiled a cumulative record of 768-408-11 (.652), including a 428-144-2 (.747) mark against league opponents.

Steve Rodriguez: Steve Rodriguez, a former collegiate All-American and a member of Pepperdine's 1992 College World Series Championship team, begins his first season as the Waves' head coach. Rodriguez was hired on June 18 after serving as an assistant for four years under Frank Sanchez, who took a permanent medical leave of-absence on June 5th after seven seasons as Pepperdine's head coach. During Rodriguez' four seasons as an assistant, the Waves compiled an overall record of 145-98 (.597), including an 88-32 mark in West Coast Conference (WCC) play, captured the WCC title in 2001 and made NCAA Tournament appearances in 2001 and 2003. Rodriguez, who earned All-American honors in 1991 and 1992, becomes only the third former Pepperdine player to assume the head coaching duties for the Waves in the program's 64-year history. Gary Marks became the first Pepperdine player to pilot the program when he skippered the program from 1963-67. Gail Hopkins, who played at Pepperdine from 1962-64, coached the Waves during the 1968 season. Rodriguez was a fifth-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in 1992 after helping the Waves' to the national championship and being named the WCC's "Player of the Year." He played professionally for seven years with the Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Montreal Expos organizations. Rodriguez made the major league leve with the Red Sox and Tigers in 1995. As a sophomore in 1991, Rodriguez batted .419, the second-highest single-season average in school history. His 104 base hits in 1991 are a Pepperdine record and .367 career average ranks second all-time in Waves' history.

WAVES AT HOME: Since 1997, the Waves are 163-78 (.676) in games played at Eddy D. Field Stadium. The Waves' all-time home record at Eddy D. Field Stadium, dating back to the start of the 1973 season, currently stands at 687-259-13 (.723). Pepperdine finished 23-12 in 2003 and concluded this season with a 15-12 mark.

WAVES ON THE ROAD: Since 1997, Waves are 116-114 (.504) in games played on the road. Pepperdine completed the 2001 campaign with an 18-12 road record, including a 2-1 mark in neutral site contests. The Waves were 13-18 on the road, including 2-3 in neutral games, in 2002. They concluded last season with a 13-12 record. Pepperdine is 11-18 on the road this season.

SPORTS INFORMATION HOTLINE: For updated information concerning Pepperdine athletics, including results and a schedule of upcoming events, please contact the Pepperdine Sports Information Hotline at 310-506-7373. The hotline will be updated on a regular basis throughout the course of the 2002-2003 school year.

ON THE WEB: For updated information concerning Pepperdine athletics on the World Wide Web, please bookmark the following address:

FOR MORE INFORMATION: For more information on the baseball program, or to arrange interviews with players and the coaching staff, please contact Al Barba at the Pepperdine Sports Information Office by calling (310) 506-4455.



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