Humphries Drives In Game-Winning Runs As Waves Sweep EKU

Feb. 20, 2011

Box Score

Pepperdine and Eastern Kentucky Game Two Box Score (Feb. 20, 2011) Get Acrobat Reader

Pepperdine and Eastern Kentucky Game Three Box Score (Feb. 20, 2011) Get Acrobat Reader

MALIBU, Calif. – The Pepperdine baseball team completed its first three-game opening weekend sweep since 1999 thanks to four timely RBI by junior center fielder Brian Humphries in both ends of Sunday’s doubleheader vs. Eastern Kentucky at Eddy D. Field Stadium.

The victories lifted Pepperdine’s record to 3-0, while Eastern Kentucky left Southern California at 0-3. The Waves last sweep of an opening weekend series vs. one opponent took place in 1999 at home vs. Nevada; in 2001, they swept the Wolfpack again but only after beating Fullerton on Opening Day.

Back to Sunday and Humphries (El Cajon, Calif./Granite Hills HS), whose day began right where it left off last night, standing at the plate facing Colonel closer Ryne Purcell with one out of an 8-7 game and Tyler Brubaker (Valencia, Calif./Saugus HS) representing the tying run at third base. Humphries was ahead in the count 1-0 when game two was suspended late Saturday due to rain, and took two more pitches before sending a line drive to shallow center field.

EKU’s Ryan Faidley made the catch on the run, but the speedy Brubaker beat his throw home to send the contest into extra innings.

From there reliever Ricky Villarreal (Edinburg, Texas/Edinburg HS) pitched a scoreless 10th, which included getting out of a two-on jam with a double play, and an inning later, freshman Eric Karch (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West HS) struck out a pair in helping to earn him his first collegiate victory.

After Karch did his job in maintaining the 8-8 deadlock, the Waves put two of their first three runners on base in setting the stage for more Humphries’ heroics. And on the first pitch he saw from EKU reliever Matt Fyffe with two outs, Humphries singled to shallow left to bring home pinch runner and redshirt freshman Ranny Lowe (Granada Hills, Calif./Notre Dame HS), who was making his collegiate debut.

Once again, the throw from the outfield was right on its mark, but the EKU third baseman Bryan Soloman mistakenly cut it off just a few feet from home and his follow-up attempt at the putout was a hair too late.

The Waves won game two 9-8.

Eight innings and several hours later another bang-bang play at the dish would serve as the turning point of Pepperdine’s eventual 3-1 victory in game three.

With one out in the top of the frame and Pepperdine ahead 1-0, sophomore reliever Brian McIlhenny (Scottsdale, Ariz./Brophy College Preparatory) surrendered a bases-loaded single back up the middle that appeared to plate two runs and give EKU a 2-1 lead.

However, the home plate umpire waved off the go-ahead run scored by Richie Rodriguez after ruling runner’s interference on the play. Not only was Rodriguez – EKU’s leading hitter this series – called out at home for the inning’s second out, but he was also ejected from the game because the umpire deemed his collision with catcher Nate Johnson (Camarillo, Calif./Camarillo HS) to be malicious contact.

Colonel Head coach Jason Stein also was ejected from the game shortly thereafter for vehemently protesting the umpire’s decision.

When the game finally resumed after several minutes of back-and-forth arguing McIlhenny came back to strike out Solomon on a full count and squash EKU’s threat.

Pepperdine’s second rally of the day started in the bottom half of that controversial inning as with one out the Waves loaded the bases thanks to a single by sophomore Joe Sever (San Jose, Calif./Bellarmine College Preparatory) sandwiched in between two hit batsmen.

EKU pitchers hit 13 batters compared to one for the Waves, and after Chris Amezquita (La Mirada, Calif./Servite HS) reached first after being plunked by Jim Clancy, Humphries again found himself up in a pivotal situation: one out and the bases-loaded of a tie game.

“In that situation I was really expecting to see an off-speed pitch to start me off, but he surprised me instead with a fast ball that I just had to take,” Humphries said. “A few pitches later I was ready to hit a curve ball, but he came at me with a change up and I was fortunate enough to keep my hands back and get the ball through the infield.”

Back on top with a 3-1 lead, Pepperdine again turned the game over to Karch who became the first Wave in over 13 seasons (detailed records only go back to 1999) to record a win and a save in the same day. Karch retired the side in order with a strikeout and two ground balls to short.

Game three originally started as a pitchers' duel between Pepperdine sophomore transfer Jon Moscot (Pacific Palisades, Calif./Palisades Charter HS/Cuesta College) and EKU’s Stephen Hefler. Both hurlers delivered 6.0 quality innings, allowed no more than a handful of base runners, and kept their pitch counts in the low 80s.

Moscot struck out 10 Colonels in his Pepperdine debut, walked one, and escaped two significant jams in the first and third innings before retiring 12 of the last 13 batters he faced.

Hefler allowed a Tony Cooper (  San Carlos, Calif./Junipero Serra HS/Cañada College) leadoff single and then held the Waves in check all the way through the fifth. Pepperdine scored its first and only run (unearned) vs. Hefler in the sixth on Sever’s sacrifice fly to right that plated redshirt junior Miles Silverstein (Bell Canyon, Calif./Calabasas HS).

Silverstein battled for a walk to start the inning, moved to second on a sacrifice hit, and should have been put out a third but Soloman dropped the ball out of his glove running toward the bag.

“EKU played some amazing baseball this weekend,”’ Pepperdine head coach Steve Rodriguez said. “They all competed hard, received good pitching and the mistakes that both clubs made could have pushed this series in either direction.”

“But I think for every coach this first weekend series also shows you what your team is made of in terms of character, because they don’t get to play anyone but themselves in the spring or fall and you’re not always sure you know the things they can and can’t do,” Rodriguez added. “I can say for sure though the culture has changed within this club, and they all showed what they were really made of in coming back twice today. This sweep is a testament to our guys’ hard work and perseverance.”

Pepperdine returns to action Tuesday night for a 6 p.m. game at UCLA, before heading north to Fresno State next weekend for a three-game series.

Pepperdine 9, Eastern Kentucky 8 (Feb 19, 2011 at Malibu, Calif.)
Eastern Kentucky.... 010 003 130 00 -  8 12  0      (0-2)
Pepperdine.......... 010 200 311 01 -  9 12  2      (2-0)
Pitchers: Eastern Kentucky - MCGRATH, Kyle; HARRIS, Matt(5); HORD, Chris(7);
WAGNER, Lincoln(8); PURCELL, Ryne(9); FYFFE, Matt(10) and HAGEN, Sean. Pepperdine -
Gates, Aaron; INMAN, Keven(6); MAURER, Matt(7); VILLARREAL, Ricky(8); KARCH, Eric(11) and
Diedrich, Trent; Johnson, Nate.
Win-KARCH, Eric(1-0)  Loss-FYFFE, Matt(0-1)  T-3:49  A-298
Weather: 57, Mostly Cloudy
MAURER, M. faced 3 batters in the 8th.

Pepperdine 3, Eastern Kentucky 1 (Feb 20, 2011 at Malibu, Calif.)
Eastern Kentucky.... 000 000 010  -  1  9  3      (0-3)
Pepperdine.......... 000 001 02X  -  3  4  1      (3-0)
Pitchers: Eastern Kentucky - HEFLER, Stephen; TERRY, Greg(7); CLANCY, Jim(7); WAGNER, Lincoln(8)
and HAGEN, Sean. Pepperdine - Moscot, Jon; NAJERA, Alex(7); McILHENNY, Brian(8); KARCH, Eric(9)
and Johnson, Nate.
Win-McILHENNY, Brian(1-0)  Save-KARCH, Eric(1)  Loss-CLANCY, Jim(0-1)  T-2:34  A-353
Weather: 58, Sunny



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