No. 29 Waves Capitalize on UC Irvine Miscues in 4-3 Win

Hutton Moyer

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April 1, 2014

MALIBU, Calif. - The Pepperdine baseball team picked up its second win over UC Irvine in the last two weeks on Tuesday afternoon, downing the Anteaters 4-3 at home in a non-conference matchup.

Four pitchers combined to hold UCI to three runs on the day and the No. 29-ranked Waves got just enough offense, scoring what turned out to be the winning run in the eighth inning.

"Our guys did a good job continuing to put the bat on the ball today," said head coach Steve Rodriguez. "Even with the wind blowing in and it being hard to get the ball to carry, we kept the pressure on them and got them to make some mistakes which we were able to capitalize on."

Pepperdine took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning and after Hutton Moyer (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic HS) drew a walk and then stole second base, he was able to advance to third on a groundout. A throwing error by the UCI catcher, who was trying to pick Moyer off after a big secondary lead at third, allowed the Waves' second baseman to score easily and give Pepperdine a 4-2 advantage.

The fourth run proved crucial for the home team, as John Brontsema doubled in the ninth and then scored on a wild pitch to pull UCI within one. Eric Karch (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West HS) settled down, however, and was able to get the final batter to pop out to shortstop. It was Karch's league-leading ninth save of the year.

Matt Maurer (Medford, Ore./North Medford HS) got the start for Pepperdine, giving up one run in 5.0 innings of work. A.J. Puckett (Danville, Calif./De La Salle HS) gave up a run in 2.0 innings pitched after taking over for Maurer and Chandler Blanchard (Henderson, Nev./Coronado HS) gave way to Karch after throwing a scoreless eighth. Maurer took the win, leaving the game with a two-run lead, to move to 3-1 on the year.

"Maurer was battling some illness and had a tough outing last week, so we were really looking forward to getting him back out there," said Rodriguez. "He did a phenomenal job keeping us in the game for as long as we needed him to and that's what we've come to expect of him. The rest of the bullpen did a great job bridging it to Karch then, who has been excellent for us."

The Waves were able to score three of their runs while Maurer was in the game, with Moyer getting things started in the first. He again capitalized on a UCI miscue, going from first to third on a failed pickoff attempt. Bryan Langlois (Oak Park, Calif./Oak Park HS) would drive Moyer in with a sacrifice fly to give Pepperdine a 1-0 lead. Moyer then drove in the second run of the day with a sacrifice fly of his own in the third and Aaron Barnett (Mission Viejo, Calif./Capistrano Valley HS) added an RBI single in the fourth to make it 3-1.

A Taylor Sparks solo home run got UCI on the board in the fourth inning, giving the reigning Big West Co-Player of the Year four on the season. The Anteaters added another score in the seventh, but couldn't complete the comeback in the ninth.

Aaron Brown (Chatsworth, Calif./Chatsworth HS) was the only Wave with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with a run scored on the day. Moyer had just one official at-bat, drawing a walk, hit-by-pitch and hitting a sacrifice fly. He drove in one run and scored two more. Kolten Yamaguchi (Kona, Hawai'i/Konawaena HS) scored the lone remaining run, going 1-for-3 at the plate.

UCI actually out-hit the Waves 10-5 on the day, but were unable to string enough offense together in any one inning. Grant Palmer went 2-for-5 and Brontsema was 2-for-3.

The non-conference win moves the Waves to 21-7 overall and drops the Anteaters' record to 18-10. Pepperdine hits the road this weekend for a three-game WCC series at first-place Saint Mary's.



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