FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
MALIBU, Calif. – Pepperdine won’t have to wait until 2012 to get West Coast Conference newcomer Brigham Young University on its schedule because the Cougars will be heading west to Eddy D. Field Stadium at the end of March.
The widely anticipated three-game series between two of the nation’s most prominent private faith-based institutions will take place Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 31 to April 2. Pepperdine and BYU have faced each other once in the last decade – a 5-0 road victory for BYU in February of 2004 – but regularly battled throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s with the Waves winning 13 of 18 meetings.
The BYU series concludes a March schedule that features 15 home games for Pepperdine, including weekend wars with 2010 NCAA qualifiers Louisville (March 11-13) and Coastal Carolina (March 18-20) and Dayton (March 25-27) of the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Waves will also play host to regional rivals UC Santa Barbara (March 1), UC Riverside (March 9) and Cal Poly (March 22).
Overall, Pepperdine will battle six clubs that qualified for NCAA postseason play. The national runner-up UCLA Bruins play host to the Waves for a night game on Feb. 22 and make their return trip to Malibu on May 3. Pepperdine visits UC Irvine the following night on May 3 and has games scheduled with NCAA Super Regional participant Fullerton on April 5 and May 10.
The combined record of Pepperdine’s 2011 opponents from last season is 598-527 (.522).
"I’m excited for us to play this kind of schedule with so many good teams coming out west to play us," head coach Steve Rodriguez said, "and we are always willing to travel anywhere in the country to play quality teams. It is going to be a tremendous experience for our guys and Pepperdine to have some great teams coming to Malibu".
Before the Waves get rolling through its prolonged March homestand, they will make weekend road trips to Fresno State (Feb. 25-27) and East Carolina (March 4-6). Pepperdine last faced Fresno State in 2007 – the year prior to the Bulldogs’ NCAA Championship run – and pulled off a three-game sweep, winning by scores of 4-0, 3-2 and 10-4 in Malibu.
The Pirates of ECU visited the West Coast last year with a No. 13 ranking, but were overmatched by Waves’ pitching in games one and two before salvaging a 3-2 victory in the series finale.
Pepperdine’s WCC campaign begins April 8 with a trip to Portland, which was the conference’s surprise club of 2010. The Pilots were pegged to finish last in the WCC coaches’ preseason poll, but instead finished second to San Diego at 14-7 and registered the conference’s best overall mark of 34-18. Portland appeared destined to challenge USD for the league title and earn an NCAA postseason berth at one point, but a nine-game losing streak in mid May (which included sweeps by San Diego and San Francisco) quickly derailed the Pilots’ dream season.
San Diego is Pepperdine’s second conference opponent and will welcome the Waves on the weekend of April 15-17. The Toreros won 19 of 21 WCC games this past season and were victorious through 15 straight games to open the season before being shutout by the Waves 5-0 on May 21.
Pepperdine will host four conference series in 2011, beginning with Loyola Marymount (April 21-23) and Santa Clara (May 6-8), followed by Gonzaga (May 20-22) and Saint Mary’s (May 27-29). The Waves visit San Francisco from May 13-15.
Eastern Kentucky, which finished a game over .500 at 28-27 and 9-12 in the Ohio Valley Conference, will open Pepperdine’s 72nd (and 38th in Malibu) season of competition for game one of a three-game series on Feb. 18 at 2 p.m.
Pepperdine finished 2009 with an overall record of 24-30 and placed third in the WCC for the second straight year at 12-9. The Waves return several of their WCC postseason honorees, including outfielders Brian Humphries (El Cajon, Calif./Granite Hills HS) and Floyd Given (Rohnert Park, Calif./Rancho Cotate HS), catcher Nate Johnson (Camarillo, Calif./Camarillo HS), and middle infielders Joe Sever and Zach Vincej (Saugus, Calif./Saugus HS).