Starting Pitching Carries Waves To Series Sweep Of No. 23 Coastal Carolina

March 19, 2011

Box Score

Pepperdine and No. 23 Coastal Carolina Box Score - Game 1 (March 19, 2011) Get Acrobat Reader

Pepperdine and No. 23 Coastal Carolina Box Score - Game 2 (March 19, 2011) Get Acrobat Reader

MALIBU, Calif. - Freshman Matt Maurer went 7.0 innings in game one, junior Aaron Gates pitched 8.0 frames in game two, and combined they surrendered just two runs to 23rd-ranked Coastal Carolina during Pepperdine's doubleheader sweep Saturday at Eddy D. Field Stadium.

The 2-1 and 7-1 victories lifted the Waves' season record to 9-10, while the Chanticleers dropped to 13-8. For Pepperdine, this weekend's sweep marked its first series win over a nationally ranked opponent since last March when the Waves took two-of-three from then-No. 13 East Carolina.

Pepperdine won the first game behind a season-high eight strikeouts from Maurer (Medford, Ore./North Medford HS) who outdueled fellow southpaw Jim Birmingham in improving to 3-1 on the year.

The Chanticleers struck first in scoring their lone run on a third-inning RBI ground out by John Findaza. But after that play Maurer allowed just five more base runners, and stranded three of them in scoring position.

Maurer received all the run support he and his two relievers would need in the fifth where the Waves scored both their runs on hits by Joe Sever (San Jose, Calif./Bellarmine College Preparatory) and Brian Humphries (El Cajon, Calif./Granite Hills HS).

Sever started the frame by ripping a double down the right-field line and moved to third on Humphries' bunt single back to the mound. Then with junior Ryan Van Amburg (Campbell, Calif./St. Francis HS) at the plate, Birmingham uncorked a wild pitch that brought Sever home for the game-tying run.

Humphries scored the go-ahead run two outs later after Findanza, the catcher, threw the ball into left trying to catch the Waves' junior stealing third base. Humphries stole two bases in game one to raise his season total to six.

Maurer left the game at the start of the eighth with an efficient pitch count of 91 (59 strikes), and was followed to the mound by sophomores Brian McIlhenny (Scottsdale, Ariz./Brophy College Preparatory) and Ricky Villarreal (Edinburg, Texas/Edinburg HS).

McIlhenny retired all four batters he faced on three ground outs and a strike out. Villarreal came on to record the final two outs and caught Rich Witten looking at strike three to end the game.

Villarreal's save was his third of the year.

After watching teammates Jon Moscot (Pacific Palisades, Calif./Palisades Charter HS) and Maurer baffle the Coastal batters through the previous two games, Gates (Villa Park, Calif./Orange Lutheran) brought all that knowledge with him to the hill in shutting down the Chanticleers once more. Gates' 8.0 innings pitched were a career high, adding five strike outs and scattering six hits and a walk.

The lone free pass Gates issued all game was to first-inning leadoff hitter Scott Woodward, but he was left stranded at third after the Waves' left-hander came back with two strikeouts and a ground ball to second base.

"I felt good warming up today and even though my walking the first guy wasn't the best thing, that didn't carry over into the rest of the game," said Gates of his performance. "I was able to come back and throw strikes at the next two guys, plus the defense made some great plays behind me, and it's always easier to pitch when you're given a big lead."

Pepperdine's offense, which scrapped together two runs in games one and two, exploded for four runs on Gates' behalf in the first inning off Coastal starter Stefan del Pino, who entered the weekend with a spotless 3-0 record and 2.05 ERA.

But today wasn't del Pino's day as he didn't get beyond the first out. The Chants' lefty started out by hitting leadoff batter Harrison Kain (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Thousand Oaks HS), then walked Chris Amezquita (La Mirada, Calif./Servite HS) to put two runners aboard who would eventually and successfully execute a double steal.

With runners in scoring position, Trent Diedrich (Fresno, Calif./Bullard HS) came through with an RBI infield single that would be the first of four straight hits for the Waves as they quickly built up a 3-0 lead. A bases-loaded walk to Torrey Jacoby (Camarillo, Calif./Notre Dame (Ariz.) Preparatory) made it a 4-0 game and brought an abrupt end to del Pino's outing.

Coastal reliever Ryan Connolly picked up the last two outs of the first, and was followed in relief by Tyler Herb who blanked Pepperdine over the next 3.1 innings. But after Herb left the game midway through fifth, the Waves responded with three additional insurance runs off Keith Hessler and Jimmy Coughlin.

Pepperdine was down to its last out of the fifth when Humphries scored an unearned run that gave the Waves a 5-1 lead. Humphries bunted his way on base and was leaning off first when Hessler's failed pick off attempt rolled out near the bullpen, allowing the left fielder to race all the way around to third. Van Amburg responded with a second RBI single.

An RBI ground out by Miles Silverstein (Bell Canyon, Calif./Calabasas HS) in the sixth scored Zach Vincej (Saugus, Calif./Saugus HS, and in the eighth, Diedrich drove in the second of his two runs on a base hit through the left side. Diedrich's three-hit game tied a career high and was his first since March 18, 2009 vs. Washington State.

Sever also produced three hits, while Humphries and Van Amburg had two each.

"Earlier in the season I think we were trying to do too much at the plate, trying to score five runs on one swing if we could," said Sever. "But going into this weekend, which the team agreed marked the start of a new season, we set about simplifying our approach. We just wanted to get on base and trust the guys hitting behind us. We also didn't make many mistakes while they (Coastal) did, and that's going to help us win a lot more games in the long run."

With the Waves' offense putting the game further out of reach through every at-bat, Gates was simply cruising through the Coastal lineup. He faced the minimum three batters four times from the third through eighth innings, and pitched to only four batters in the fourth and sixth frames.

In the seventh, Gates started the inning by surrendering a double to Hayes Orton, but caught the Chants' center fielder cheating off second base with a sharp throw back to Vincej for his team-leading third pickoff of the year.

Gates wanted to finish the game, but with his pitch count between 115 and 120, the coaches turned the ninth inning over to UNLV-transfer Jared Lee (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West HS), who retired the side in order in his Pepperdine debut.

The Waves will look to extend their three-game winning streak Tuesday when they play host to Cal Poly at 3 p.m.


Pepperdine 2, Coastal Carolina 1 (Mar 19, 2011 at Malibu, Calif.) (Game 1)


Coastal Carolina.... 001 000 000  -  1  5  1      (13-7)

Pepperdine.......... 000 020 00X  -  2  3  0      (8-10)


Pitchers: Coastal Carolina - BIRMINGHAM, Jim; BURKE, Aaron(6) and FIDANZA, John. Pepperdine -

Maurer, Matt; McILHENNY, Brian(8); VILLARREAL, Ricky(9) and Diedrich, Trent.

Win-MAURER, Matt(3-1)  Save-VILLARREAL, Ricky(3)  Loss-BIRMINGHAM, Jim(2-2)  T-2:17  Weather: 57, Mostly Cloudy


Pepperdine 7, Coastal Carolina 1 (Mar 19, 2011 at Malibu, Calif.) (Game 2)


Coastal Carolina.... 010 000 000  -  1  6  2      (13-8)

Pepperdine.......... 400 011 01X  -  7 12  0      (9-10)


Pitchers: Coastal Carolina - del PINO, Stefan; CONNOLLY, Ryan(1); HERB, Tyler(2);

HESSLER, Keith(5); COUGHLIN, Jimmy(8) and WITTEN, Rich. Pepperdine - Gates, Aaron; LEE, Jared(9)

and Diedrich, Trent.

Win-GATES, Aaron(1-3)  Loss-del PINO, Stefan(3-1)  T-2:43  A-297

Weather: 60, Cloudy



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