FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
MALIBU, Calif. – Junior transfer Colin Rooney’s (Yorba Linda, Calif./Saddleback College) eighth-inning, three-run homer was the key shot in Pepperdine’s 14-3 victory over Long Beach State Sunday afternoon at Eddy D. Field Stadium.
The two-out blast to left center increased the Waves’ lead from four to seven, and more importantly, crushed any hopes for a Long Beach comeback in today’s scheduled 10-inning exhibition.
In the teams’ prior meeting this month at Long Beach, the Dirtbags rallied from a five-run deficit over the final three innings to force an 8-8 tie.
The Waves built their lead with five more runs through the last two innings as they capitalized on four Long Beach errors, including three in the 10th. The Dirtbags committed six errors, which led to five unearned runs.
Long Beach’s defensive gaffes began in the first when center fielder Jonathan Jones misplayed freshman Brian Humphries’ (El Cajon, Calif./Granite Hills HS) fly ball. As a steady breeze blew in off the Pacific, Jones appeared to overrun the ball by a step, which allowed Humphries to coast into second and score on senior David Harris’ (Glendora, Calif./Glendora HS) follow-up double down the left field line.
Harris moved to third on a Kip Masuda passed ball and later scored on the catcher’s errant pickoff attempt.
Those two miscues gave Pepperdine the lead for good, and placed the loss on LBS starter Tyler Topp.
Waves’ starter and sophomore Scott Alexander (Windsor, Calif./Cardinal Newman) picked up the win despite a somewhat shaky outing, in which he gave up a run on a hit batsman (Jones) and two wild pitches.
Long Beach could have incurred further damage in the first after two runners moved into scoring position on a passed ball, but Alexander induced a ground ball to quell that threat before returning for an easy second inning of work.
Alexander’s performance was – for lack of a better term – copied by four of his six relievers as they regularly wriggled out of tight situations. Senior Doug Konoske (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon HS) was the only Wave to retire the Dirtbags in order with two strikeouts in the ninth.
Senior Robert Dickmann (Woodland Hills, Calif./Notre Dame HS) followed Alexander to the hill and had already given up a run in the fourth when he turned a 1-3 double play. With runners at first and second, Dickmann caught a Jordan Casas bunt and doubled off Steve Tinoco retreating back to first.
Freshman Cole Cook (Los Angeles, Calif./Palisades HS) stranded four runners between the fifth and sixth, and in the eighth, junior Jonathan Harmston (Fresno, Calif./Bullard HS) left aboard two more in addition to being helped by a fine defensive play.
With Pepperdine ahead 6-2, the Dirtbags were seemingly poised to make their move with a one-out walk followed by a Trever Blood double off the left field wall that was collected by freshman Tyler Brubaker (Valencia, Calif./Saugus HS).
Without hesitation and marksman precision, Brubaker hit cutoff man and shortstop Denny Duron (Shreveport, La./Evangel Christian Academy), who then fired the perfect strike from shallow left to freshman catcher Nate Johnson (Camarillo, Calif./Camarillo HS). The rookie backstop caught the ball standing up and tagged Matt Avery up the third-base line for the second out.
The Dirtbags walked 10 times in addition to collecting eight hits, but went on to abandon 13 runners. By comparison, Pepperdine was clutch most of the day and stranded only six.
The Waves’ first big inning was a four-run third and they did it all without the benefit of an extra-base hit.
Pepperdine opened the inning by loading the bases on a Bryce Mendonca (San Leadro, Calif./Bishop O’Dowd HS) single followed by consecutive walks to Humphries and Harris.
Mendonca came around to score after junior Ryan Heroy (Henderson, Nev./Green Valley HS) was plunked by Manny McElroy, then a Duron single sandwiched in between a pair of sacrifice flies plated the next three runs.
The Waves’ second four-run outburst in the ninth also was void of extra bases. Sophomores Matthew Frazee (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Bainbridge HS) and R.W. Zeller (Milwaukie, Ore./Rex Putnam HS) led off with back-to-back singles and advanced a base after Brubaker reached on a shortstop’s fielding error.
Three consecutive singles off the bats of Heroy, freshman Aaron Gates (Villa Park, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS), and Duron brought everyone around to score. Heroy reached home on the back end of Johnson’s double play ball to short.
The Waves’ five hits that inning brought their total to 11. Duron and Gates finished tied for the most hits with two each, while Rooney and Heroy both drove in three. Heroy also scored three times to lead all players.
Derek Legg and Blood led Long Beach with two hits. Josh Corrales was its most effective pitcher with two scoreless innings.
Pepperdine returns to the diamond at Field Stadium later this week for its three-game intrasquad set known as the Blue and Orange World Series. Games are scheduled to take place Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturday at noon.