Pepperdine upsets No. 1 Seed Arizona State 15-5 In Opener Of NCAA Regional Friday
Junior right hander Kea Kometani turned in eight solid innings and freshman catcher Chad Tracy hit a three-run homer, drove in five runs and scored four times to lead Pepperdine to a 15-5 victory over No. 1 seed Arizona State in the opening game of the Fullerton Regional at Goodwin Field Friday afternoon.
The victory moved the Waves (29-30) into Saturday's winner's bracket where they will play local rival, host and No. 2 Cal State Fullerton at 3 p.m. The Titans defeated No. 3 seed Minnesota 7-1 Friday night.
The Sun Devils (40-17) will face Minnesota in an elimination game at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Building on the momentum gained from a 12-10 come-from-behind victory over Loyola Marymount in the clinching game of the West Coast Conference (WCC) Championship Series last weekend, Pepperdine once again displayed some late-inning heroics on Friday.
The Waves and the No. 7-national seed Sun Devils were locked in a 3-3 tie heading into the seventh inning before Pepperdine sent nine batters to the plate and scored five runs as it took advantage of an error to assume an 8-3 lead.
After Pepperdine went ahead 4-3 on an RBI single to center by Tracy, senior Cory Brightwell followed with a single to center to load the bases with one out..
Zechery Zinicola replaced Derek Averill (4-3) and induced junior shortstop Patrick Rooney to hit into a potential inning-ending double play to shortstop that would have kept it a one-run game. However, junior All-American Dustin Pedrioia threw the ball away at second base and into right field allowing two runs to score and giving the Waves a 6-3 lead.
Sophomore third baseman Nick Kliebert drove home the final two runs of the inning with a two-run double inside the third base bag and down the left field line, extending the lead to 8-3.
Pepperdine added three more runs in the eighth inning on a bases-loaded clearing double to right-center field by Rooney that gave Pepperdine an 11-4 lead.
Tracy capped a four-run top of the ninth inning with a three-run shot over the left field fence, his team-leading 12th of the season.
"I think that we came in today and surprised a lot of people because I know that we surprised me," head coach Steve Rodriguez said. "In order to win, we had to play our best, play hard, and go out there with no intimidation.
"We played at our highest level and kept the competitive edge that we needed to win." Rodriguez continued. "Arizona State came in as arguably one of the best teams in the country and when they made some errors, they showed they were human and we were able to capitalize on their mistakes."
Pepperdine capitalized on a pair ASU miscues in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead as it scored an unearned run. The Sun Devils got that run back in the bottom of the inning and took a 3-1 lead in the second, scoring twice against Kometani.
Kometani (8-6) kept the Sun Devils in check from that point on as he scattered 14 hits, allowed five runs, walked four and struck out four in an eight-inning, 135-pitch effort. The junior right-hander's effort came on the heels of a 142-pitch, complete-game outing at Loyola Marymount last Friday.
"I was not surprised that I went eight innings this afternoon," Kometani said. "I treated this just like any other game and knew that if the team could perform behind me that I had a good chance to earn the win."
NOTES: Chad Tracy's five RBI against Arizona State are a career-high and the four runs batted in by Patrick Rooney equaled his season-high...Pepperdine has now scored 55 runs in its last five games, scoring double digits in four of those games...The Waves have also totaled 74 hits their last five contests...During its current five-game winning streak Pepperdine is batting .365 as a team with 24 extra base hits, including 20 doubles...The Waves' win over Arizona State was their first win in a regional opener since defeating Fresno State 4-0 in the 2001 Los Angeles Regional...Pepperdine has won opening games in six of its last seven regionals, dating back to the 1992 West Regional when it went on to win the College World Series...The Waves' lone loss came last year at the Long Beach Regional when they fell to the host 49ers...The 15 runs scored by Pepperdine was the most since defeating Middle Tennessee State 18-17 in 12 innings at the 1995 NCAA West Regional..The 15 runs allowed by Arizona State are the second-most by a Sun Devil team in post-season play...ASU allowed 21 runs to USC at the 1998 College World Series...The 10-run loss by Arizona State equals its largest margin of defeat, equaling its 13-3 setback to Cal State Fullerton at the 2001 Fullerton Regional.