Pepperdine's Cory Brightwell hit a two-run walk-off home run with two
outs in the bottom of the 10th to lift the fourth-seeded Waves to a 7-6
winners bracket victory over second-seeded Cal State Fullerton on Saturday
afternoon at Goodwin Field.
Pepperdine improved to 30-30 overall and advanced to Championship Sunday
to face the winner of Saturday night's Cal State Fullerton-Arizona State
elimination game. Cal State Fullerton fell to 37-21 overall. Either the
Titans or the Sun Devils must defeat the Waves twice on Sunday in order
to advance to the Super Regionals.
Trailing 4-3 entering the bottom of the ninth, the Waves tied the game
with two outs as Nick Kliebert smacked a 2-2 pitch through the right side
to score Cory Brightwell and knot the game at four runs apiece.
Fullerton then responded with a pair of runs in the 10th as Justin Turner,
who doubled to lead off the inning, leaped over the Pepperdine catcher
to score the go-ahead run and the Titans added another on a sacrifice
fly by Felipe Garcia to give Fullerton a 6-4 advantage.
It wasn't enough to hold back the Waves, however, as Steve Kleen smacked
his seventh homer of the season to left with one out to bring Pepperdine
to within a run and, after Ryan Schreppel struck out Brent Lewis for the
second out, Chad Tracy reached on an infield single.
That brought up Brightwell, who promptly launched an 0-1 offering from
Schreppel over the left field fence for the game winner.
Schreppel (3-3) allowed four runs on a four hits and struck out three
in the loss. Ricky Romero started for the Titans, allowing two earned
on six hits in 7 1/3.
Kleen (4-3) earned the win in relief, allowing two runs on two hits in
an inning pitched.
The Titans immediately put Pepperdine starter Jacob Barrack into a jam
in the second inning, putting runners at the corners with one out and
loading the bases with two outs thanks to a full-count walk to Neil Walton.
However, Barrack wriggled out of the spot by inducing Ronnie Prettyman
to ground out to second base to end the inning.
Fullerton came right back and duplicated the effort in the third, but
this time with vastly different results. The Titans loaded the bases with
one out thanks to a leadoff walk, a single by Kurt Suzuki, and a hit batter
to bring up Felipe Garcia, who promptly doubled off the wall in right
centerfield to clear the bases for the 3-0 lead.
Pepperdine responded with a pair of runs in the fourth thanks to the bat
of Chad Tracy who had an RBI single to right that plated two when the
ball popped over the head of the Titan right fielder, cutting the deficit
Clark Hardman, who would later thwart a scoring chance by the Waves in
the fifth on a perfect strike home from centerfield to catch Justin Sandberg
trying to score on David Uribes' single, led off the Titans half of the
fifth with a single and moved to third on Kurt Suzuki's fielder's choice.
Hardman would then come around to score on Danny Dorn's fielder's choice
to make it 4-2 in Fullerton's favor.
However, the Waves would not sit quietly as Cory Brightwell sent a 1-2
offering from Romero over the left field fence to lead off the seventh
and draw Pepperdine to within a run at 4-3.
Garcia led the Titans with a pair of hits and four RBI on the day. Pepperdine
was led by Brightwell, who was 3-for-4 with four RBI.
POSTGAME QUOTES Pepperdine Head Coach Steve Rodriguez: On the amazing end to the game…
“My team is pretty hoarse right now in the voice category. I can’t
say we have had a more exciting game but I don’t think there has
been a more meaningful one.”
On overcoming being behind in the game…
“We made some big errors and that was the most frustrating part
for me because I knew we had a chance if we played good baseball. We did
everything we could to try to win the game as it went on. It’s a
great feeling for us and our guys went out and competed.”
On what else contributed to the victory…
“What’s funny is right before the game I asked for God’s
will to be done. If we win, we win. If we lose, let’s do it with
dignity and pride. It’s not exactly about the best players, it’s
about the best team.”
Pepperdine centerfielder Cory Brightwell: On his game-winning home run…
“The first thought in my mind was we don’t have to stay another
nine innings. I was looking fastball and adjusted to his change. I didn’t
have much time to think about it. The more you do think, the less you
On the attitude of the team…
“There is something going on with our team right now that none of
us can describe. We’re not the biggest and baddest players, but
when we play together we are. For the four seniors on our team, we’re
not going to end our college career right now. It’s not ready to
Pepperdine catcher Chad Tracy: On a controversial call at the plate that gave Fullerton a 5-4
“I felt that I blocked it, maybe I didn’t. It was a really
close play. As soon as they scored, it was a tough situation and we were
upset but we felt if we could keep it at two runs we’d come back.”
Pepperdine starting pitcher Jacob Barrack: On what has propelled the team to victory in the regional…
“It’s been our never-say-die attitude that has gotten us this
far. There’s been a little bit of magic going around but we’ve
been capitalizing on any chance we get.”