With their small ball approach, the Pirates scratched across three runs and that was more than enough. The Pepperdine lineup, missing starters Nate Johnson, Sam Meyer and Hutton Moyer and still without the services of Aaron Brown (though he is supposed to return to the mound on Sunday), struggled to score runs.
Pepperdine starter Corey Miller was not his sharpest, but he kept the Waves in the game, allowing only two runs in six innings. But for the second consecutive game, Seton Hall’s pitching shut the Waves down. Provost picked up his first win of the season while Brian Gilbert collected his first save. Gilbert pitched the final two frames without giving up a hit.
The Game Changer:
Seton Hall held a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning, but added an insurance run. After catcher Alex Falconi reached on a throwing error by Pepperdine second baseman Drew Hacker, Scott Kalamar hooked a hard grounder just inside the first base bag and just out of the reach of Brad Anderson’s diving attempt. Falconi scored to make it 3-0.
The extra insurance run would prove to be crucial because Pepperdine was finally able to scratch across a run in the bottom half of the inning. The Waves then put a runner in scoring position in each of the final two innings. If the score had been 2-1, the tension would have been higher and Pepperdine may have changed the way it attacked, playing for one run to tie.
Best Defensive Play: Replacing the country’s best shortstop is no easy task, but that’s exactly what Pepperdine freshman Cody Nulph has been tasked with. After last year’s Brooks Wallace Award winner, Zach Vincej elected to sign with the Cincinnati Reds, the job was won by Nulph. While he’s only hitting .209, Nulph has made some nice plays defensively.
On Saturday, he showed the range making plays behind second base and the hands coming in and picking a couple of slow choppers.
Best Pitch/Pitcher: Josh Provost started the season in the bullpen, giving up five hits, four walks and three earned runs in four innings. In his first start, Provost worked his way up to 6 1/3 innings of five-hit ball on Saturday. The 6-foot-8 right hander is an imposing figure on the mound, but it was the Waves assistance that made Provost look so good. Pepperdine chased a number of bad pitches and swung at several “pitcher’s pitches” early in the count — something that had Pepperdine hitting coach Rick Hirtensteiner seething.
Pepperdine head coach Steve Rodriguez was not happy with his team’s performance the last two days, particularly on the offensive side:
“Offensively, we are just not able to produce at all right now. We’ve got to do a better job being able to execute offensively. When we hold a team to team to three runs, we should be able to beat them and we didn’t.”
On his injured lineup:
“We’re banged up a little bit right now. We can look at this as an opportunity for some of the new guys to take advantage of an opportunity or make us realize the guys that we’re missing are the right guys. Hopefully, the guys who are in the lineup understand this might be an opportunity they don’t get again.
Seton Hall’s Rob Sheppard after the Pirates took the second game at Pepperdine to win the series:
- Josh Prevost – 6.1 IP, 5 H, ER, 0 BB, 7 K, Win
- Brian Gilbert - 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 2 K, Save
- Scott Kalamar - 2-for-3, R, 2B, RBI, BB, 2 SB
- Austin Davidson – 2-for-4, 2B
- Bryan Langlois – 2-for-3, R, BB, SB
The Bottom Line:
Pepperdine’s bats struggled on Friday against Seton Hall ace Joe Prosinski and again on Sunday facing Provost. The Waves struggles were magnified by the absence of middle-of-the-lineup power bats Sam Meyer and Nate Johnson.
Johnson injured his knee sliding into third base on Friday. He said he is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday to see the extent of the damage, but the way he was limping around the dugout wearing a knee brace, didn’t look good. Coach Steve Rodriguez said Meyer was suspended for the game for “on-the-field actions.”
The Waves started the season 6-2 but have dropped five of their last six as Scott Frazier has struggled in back-to-back Friday starts and the offense hasn’t been able to put enough runs on the board.
Seton Hall started the season 0-9, but has bounced back with a series win at Pepperdine to finish up its seven-game West Coast swing. The Pirates are going to try to small ball teams to death and win games with solid pitching and defense, which is exactly what they did Friday and Saturday.
If Seton Hall can get the pitching Prosinski and Provost provided, the Pirates could give some teams trouble in the Big East.
Also check out the 21-shot photo gallery from Saturday’s afternoon game.