Baseball to Travel to Taiwan for International Competition This Month
Pepperdine will play three games over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Nov. 1, 2013
MALIBU, Calif. - The Pepperdine baseball team will travel to Taiwan over Thanksgiving weekend to play in an international competition against other teams from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, head coach Steve Rodriguez announced today.
The Formosa Cup calls for the Waves to play three games at the Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium in Tainan City between November 28-30. Jobu University will represent Japan, while the teams from South Korea and Taiwan have yet to be named.
This past summer, Rodriguez served as manager of USA Baseball's National Team Development Program's 17U squad. That connection led USA Baseball to offer the invitation to Rodriguez and the Waves.
"It's going to be exciting," said Rodriguez, who is entering his 11th season as the Waves' head coach. "One of the biggest things I'm hoping for is that it will be a good cultural thing for our guys. It's not just a chance to go and play baseball against some different countries, but to go and witness a different culture than what we're used to in the United States.
"It's always great when you can get out of your comfort zone and do something that isn't inside the box. It's going to be fun for our guys. I don't think anyone has been to Taiwan or done anything like this. And in some small capacity, we're representing the United States, so we want to set a good example for what our college teams are about, and hopefully we make a good showing of it."
Having been a member of Team USA back in his college days, Rodriguez knows the benefits of these sorts of trips first-hand.
"The biggest thing is team bonding," he said. "We're going to be spending 15 hours on a plane together. And you have to rely on each other when you're in a different country. I know when I played on Team USA these were the kinds of trips where the teams really bonded. I think our guys will come back changed people."
Pepperdine returns 17 letterwinners from last year's team that went 27-24 overall and 13-11 in the West Coast Conference. Among those back are junior infielder Austin Davidson (Oxnard, Calif./Oxnard HS) and junior catcher Kolten Yamaguchi (Kona, Hawaii/Konawaena HS), both of whom made the All-WCC first team last season, and two members of the starting weekend rotation, senior RHP Corey Miller (Laguna Niguel, Calif./JSerra Catholic HS) and junior LHP Aaron Brown (Chatsworth, Calif./Chatsworth HS), both of whom were All-WCC honorable mention.