It wasn’t exactly a knockout punch but Pepperdine broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday when Waves second baseman Denny Duron was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. The play forced home pinch runner Matthew Frazee and gave Pepperdine a 5-4 victory over UCSB in Malibu.
The Waves (29-16) jumped out to a three-run lead in the bottom of the first on four hits. Ryan Heroy singled home Matt Aidem, as Eric Thames also scrambled around third to score when Gauchos right fielder Brian Gump couldn’t come up with the ball cleanly. Heroy’s single put the Waves ahead, 2-0. Two batters later, Nate Simon singled home Trent Diedrich, giving the Waves an early 3-0 advantage.
UCSB (30-17) put up two runs in the top of the fourth on left fielder Mike Zuanich‘s RBI-double and shortstop Shane Carlson‘s RBI-single. The Gauchos had an opportunity for more runs in the frame, but Waves reliever Tyler Hess got Gump to fly out to left field, stranding three Gauchos on the base paths.
Both teams scored single runs in the fifth, before UCSB tied the game in the top of the seventh, 4-4.
Chris Fox started off the seventh with a walk, and stole second on the next at-bat. With two out and Fox on third, Carlson stroked a double into deep left field, scoring Fox. Carlson’s second RBI on the day tied the game.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the ninth that the Waves mounted a rally. Heroy led off the inning with an infield single to third base. Frazee pinch-ran for Heroy, and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Simon. After Chase d’Arnaud was intentionally walked, UCSB reliever Michael Martin walked Donald Brown to load the bases. That’s when Martin’s errant pitch fhit Duron for the game-winning run.
Carlson led the Gauchos offensively, coming off a 5-for-5 performance Saturday, to go 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Zuanich and Patrick Rose added RBIs as well, in respective one-hit and two-hit performances.
Pepperdine closer Nick Gaudi (4-1) earned the win, pitching 2.1 innings of scoreless relief.
Wednesday’s win gave Pepperdine a 3-1 record over UCSB this season.
Click here for Wednesday’s official box score and play-by-play.
UCSB resumes play Friday with a three-game series at Big West Conference rival and third place mate Long Beach State.