Brown's Complete Game Shutout Powers Waves to 3-0 Win
The win moves the Waves to within two conference wins of a regular season WCC title.
May 11, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. – The No. 22 Pepperdine baseball team clinched a spot in the conference tournament and strengthened its hold on first place in the WCC on Sunday behind a dominant complete-game two-hit performance by Aaron Brown. Brown tossed all nine innings as the Waves shut out No. 24 San Diego, 3-0, to take a 2-1 win in the three-game series.
The Waves scored two runs in the first and then added an insurance run in the seventh to provide more than enough offense on the day. The victory not only assures the Waves of one of the top four spots in the conference, but it gives them a two-game lead in the WCC standings with three games remaining. Pepperdine is now 34-14, 17-7 WCC and San Diego drops to 34-19, 16-11 WCC.
“I just tried to be aggressive out there, get ahead of hitters and let my defense work behind me. Those guys did a great job today,” said Brown, who is now 10-1 on the year. “This is a really big win for us going into a big weekend at Gonzaga. We just need to keep playing the way we are and finish strong.”
Brown (Chatsworth, Calif./Chatsworth HS) also drove in the first run of the day with an RBI single in the first. The Waves would plate a second run in the inning on a USD error to take an early 2-0 lead.
After that both pitchers settled in for the battle. At one point in the game, Brown retired 18 straight batters as he cruised through the Torero lineup in 100 pitches and just over two hours. Louie Lechich got the start for USD, tossing 7.2 innings and giving up five hits and two earned runs. He also had a stretch of 15 straight retired batters in the game.
The Waves finally got to Lechich again in the seventh inning as Chris Fornaci (Walnut Creek, Calif./De La Salle HS) drove a pinch-hit single into centerfield with two outs. It was Fornaci’s second pinch-hit RBI-single of the series.
“Our biggest thing was to compete and make them play defense today,” said head coach Steve Rodriguez. “We only struck out two times today and that’s one of the biggest reasons we won. We forced contact and were able to get the big hits. Chris is one of the best pinch-hitters in the country from my standpoint and he came up with another big hit for us.”
The Waves posted five hits on the day, getting base-knocks from five different players. Brown finished the day with seven strikeouts and just one walk to go along with his two-hit, shutout performance.
“Aaron was awesome to watch today,” said Rodriguez. “He stayed in the zone and only walked one batter which is extremely impressive. It’s pretty rare when you see guys get better as the season goes on and that’s exactly what he’s doing.”
Pepperdine rebounded in the weekend series, winning the last two games after dropping an 11-inning affair on Friday.
The Waves have three WCC games at Gonzaga remaining next weekend and one non-conference game at home against UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday. Pepperdine can clinch the regular season conference championship with two wins at Gonzaga.