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Baseball Welcomes Back its Alumni


 
 

MALIBU, Calif. – With 30 Major League Baseball players, 33 All-Americans and close to a hundred West Coast Conference honorees part of its all-time roster, Pepperdine alumni have become as important to the program’s success as the current players. 

Many of those who gave their all on the field, from Wade Ruby’s inaugural club of 1939 to Andy Lopez’ 1992 NCAA Championship squad, continue to give today. And while the alumni’s generosity has allowed the current regime to continually upgrade facilities, their passion and knowledge of all things Pepperdine Baseball has paved the way for 31 consecutive 30-win seasons, 17 conference titles and 26 NCAA Championship berths.

Because of these significant contributions from alumni and friends over the years, the Pepperdine coaching staff and its players decided to organize a three-day Alumni Weekend as way of saying ‘Thank You’ while continuing to raise funds for its nationally ranked program.

 

Pepperdine head coach Steve Rodriguez knows all too well the importance of alumni relations when it comes to fostering a program. Before taking over the team in 2004, Rodriguez was one of the Waves’ most distinguished competitors, leading them to the 1992 NCAA title before embarking on a professional baseball career.

 

“It’s always fun to have a weekend where we can bring parents, alumni and boosters together and introduce them to the new team members and their parents,” said Rodriguez. “The former players will enjoy reminiscing about past times on the baseball field, and it’s good for our current guys to bear witness to those great memories so they can begin to respect why they’re here and what they’re doing.”

 

More than anything, the coaching staff wants the alumni to come back to relax at their home away from home and enjoy a couple of days with some old friends and their families. They want also want the alumni to remain proud of the tradition they have established.

 

Please click here more information on Pepperdine Baseball's Alumni Weekend or scroll down through the schedule of events.

 

Pepperdine Baseball Alumni Weekend Schedule of Events

Friday, Nov. 7

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Diamond Golf Tournament at Moorpark Country Club

The golf tournament’s format is a foursome scramble scheduled for a 10:30 a.m. shotgun start. A post-tournament buffet will be made available on-site at the golf course beginning at 4 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to the top team.

 

A silent auction will be taking place during the golf tournament. Below is a short list of items (subject to change) up for bid.

 

Autographed baseball collection featuring C.C. Sabathia, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Kevin Brown and Joe Saunders

 

Signed basketballs from Luke Walton and Tracy McGrady

 

A Mike Schmidt framed autograph picture

 

A Gary Sheffield framed autograph Dodgers’ jersey

 

Hall of Famer Jim Bunning autographed baseball

 

Houston Astros “Killer B’s” (Jeff Bagwell/Lance Berkman) memorabilia package

 

Cincinnati Reds autographed Baseball Collection featuring Eric Davis, Tony Perez, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce

 

Assorted sporting event tickets, movie memorabilia, golf equipment, Pepperdine gear and vacation getaways also will be among the featured items

 

Saturday, Nov. 8

2 p.m. – John Scolinos Alumni Game

This year’s game is scheduled for seven innings and will feature a team of alumni vs. this year’s fall roster. Batting practice begins at 12:20 p.m. at Eddy D. Field Stadium.

 

5:30 p.m. – John Scolinos Award Dinner

The John Scolinos Honor Award is given annually to a Pepperdine baseball player in recognition of exemplary behavior during a season or career in the name of the legendary former Waves coach.

 

The recipient is honored for demonstrating strong character traits, including humility, resourcefulness, loyalty, honesty, work ethic, Christian behavior and sportsmanship, which contribute to outstanding performance and dedicated efforts both on and beyond the baseball diamond. Previous recipients of the award have been Cory Brightwell (2005), Steve Kleen (2006) Paul Coleman (2007) and Barry Enright (Feb. 2008).

 

This year’s recipient is former ace Brett Hunter, who struck out 148 batters in just a little over two seasons from 2006 to 2008. Hunter was drafted in the seventh round, #214 overall, by the Oakland Athletics this summer, and currently closes for the North Shore Honu of the Hawaii Winter Baseball League.

 

Brett came to us as an unknown on the baseball field but has really turned into a phenomenal pitcher who is going to have a tremendous career in professional baseball,” Rodriguez said. “What’s great about this award is that it not only goes to a good athlete but also to a person of great character and enthusiasm. There are a lot of off-the-field criteria that goes into deciding who gets this award and I believe Brett is more than a worthy recipient.”

 

Hunter was recently added to the Honu roster and picked up his first save on Nov. 2 after retiring the game’s final batter in a 3-1 win over Honolulu.

 

Hunter appeared in five games in 2008, compiling a 1-0 record and a 3.38 ERA while fanning 19 batters in 18.2 innings pitched. The preseason first-team All-American finished his Waves’ career with a 12-8 record with a 3.46 ERA.

 

Scolinos coached the Waves’ football and baseball teams for 15 seasons from 1946-60 and compiled a 263-219 overall record on the diamond. After leaving Pepperdine, he coached Cal Poly Pomona for 30 seasons.

 

The great tradition of the Scolinos Award was endowed upon the team by Dr. Jim Brinton, who recently had a Pepperdine Baseball Scholarship named in his honor. The first of these scholarships is being provided to freshman catcher Nathan Johnson (Camarillo, Calif./Camarillo HS), who will officially be introduced Sunday night.

 

“Jim Brinton has done an amazing job for our program in that he has really enforced the value of tradition, relationships and teamwork; he is a man of tremendous character,” Rodriguez said. “I recommended Nate to receive this award simply because I believe he and Dr. Brinton share many of the same values and characteristics. I know Jim would be very proud of the type of person Nate Johnson is and will become in the future.”

 

A two-year scholar athlete at Camarillo, Johnson hit .450 as a senior with four home runs and 23 RBI. Last weekend in his Waves’ exhibition debut at Long Beach State, Johnson applied the game-ending tag at home plate on Brennan Metzger in an 8-8 tie.

 

Johnson played all nine innings and provided a sacrifice fly RBI that was part of a four-run seventh.

 

“I’m honored to receive this scholarship,” Johnson said. “Dr. Brinton is a special guy within our program and it’s a big honor just to be compared to him.”

 

Brinton was inducted by Rodriguez into the Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame last weekend, and it was there that the head coach announced the naming of the scholarship in the doctor’s honor.

 

Rodriguez went on to praise Brinton, a 1957 Biology graduate, for all he has done for Waves baseball both on and off the field. Brinton played on Pepperdine’s first two baseball teams that advanced to the NCAA District Playoffs in 1955 and 1957.

 

“We were a bunch of second line prospects, rag-tag scrappers,” said Brinton, a respected urologic surgeon, during his induction speech.

 

Brinton, who was coached by Scolinos, has served on the Seaver Board of Visitors and Executive Committee, the Athletics Advisors Board and the Hall of Fame Committee for Pepperdine.

 

“Pepperdine gave more to me than just baseball,” added Brinton. “My life was influenced by both John Scolinos and George Pepperdine.”

 

Sunday, Nov. 9

Noon – Pepperdine vs. Long Beach State (exhibition)

The Waves and Dirtbags conclude their two-game exhibition series Sunday at noon at Pepperdine’s Eddy D. Field Stadium.

 

Their first game, which took place Nov. 1 at Long Beach’s Blair Field, ended in an 8-8 tie when shortstop Denny Duron (Shreveport, La./Evangel Christian Academy) threw out the potential game-winning run to Johnson covering home plate.


 

 

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