The Brooms are out and the series is over with San Diego logging a dominant 3-0 series win over the Waves capped by today's 7-3 victory. It was a dominant series in every manner with the Waves only threatening for a short time in the sixth inning today. USD won 10-3 on Friday and 5-0 on Sunday.
The sweep marks the first time the Toreros have swept Pepperdine in three games and the first time Pepperdine has been swept in a three-game series this season. The series victory also secures a commanding three-game lead for USD in the WCC standings with the postseason looming.
Heading into the ninth, San Diego picked up one more insurance run to increase the lead to 7-3. A.J. Griffin is still on the mound to try to complete the save after taking over for starter Matt Couch in the sixth inning.
Just when the Waves were back in the game, they commited their fifth error, and it was costly. With two runners on in the seventh inning, Kevin Hansen hit a line drive to center field. It was hit hard, but right at Adrian Ortiz, but the ball bounced off Ortiz's glove and Daniel Magness and Logan Gelbrich had plenty of time to run home to pad the USD lead to 6-3.
Pepperdine picked up another run in the seventh to cut the deficit to 4-3, but it looked like it was going to be a lot worse for the Toreros. Ryan Heroy led off the inning with a single and the next two batters reached on bunts. Luke Salas placed a great bunt and simply outran the throw at first while Denny Duron reached when pitcher Matt Couch misplayed the ball.
San Diego coach Rich Hill had seen enough and brought freshman reliever A.J. Griffin out of the bullpen. Griffin built a 1-2 count against pinch hitter Joseph Evans but ended up hitting Evans with a 2-2 count to force in a run.
Matt Aidem was the second pinch hitter of the inning and fouled out to Shane Buschini in right field. Buschini made a great play to get the ball back to the infield to hold Salas at third. Then leadoff hitter Adrian Ortiz hit a ground ball to short that forced out Salas at home. Salas ran into catcher Jordan Abruzzo on his slide and the home plate umpire called interference as Abruzzo threw to first base for the third out.
This is the third bases-loaded situation of the game and they’ve only amounted to one run scored.
The Waves have suddenly swung momentum in their favor. The Pepperdine bats caught fire in the sixth inning to cut the deficit to 4-2. Trent Diedrich led the inning off with a single and Danny Worth crushed a ball to center field to send Diedrich home with an RBI double.
Eric Thames followed up with a dribbler past second base to get to first. Shane Buschini misplayed the ball in right field, allowing Worth to score and Thames to get to second.
The Waves made a pitching change as well, with Jordan Durrance taking over in the bottom of the sixth. He established control after allowing Justin Snyder to reach on a single. He got USD RBI leader Jordan Abruzzo to ground into a double play and retired Shane Buschini to quickly end the inning.
Brett Hunter is working way too hard to have a 4-0 deficit. The Pepperdine pitcher got in trouble again early in the fifth, with two base runners reaching on a walk and an error before he got his first out. Kevin Hansen ended up knocking in Josh Romanski from third on a groundball to third to increase USD’s lead to 4-0.
Hunter has had to work hard for the outs that he’s gotten as well. He’s already faced five full counts to bump his pitch count to over 100 and when he’s forced bad swings from San Diego batters, he hasn’t gotten much help. Pepperdine now has more errors (three) than hits (two).
Just when it looked like the game was getting out of hand for Pepperdine, Brett Hunter got out of a big jam.
He started the third inning allowing consecutive hits to Daniel Magness and Josh Romanski before walking Logan Gelbrich to load the bases with no outs. He managed to find a rhythm to close the inning though, as the final three batters all recorded outs with infield fly balls. I just heard the radio announcer say that Hunter's pitch count is already over 80, though, so he likely won't be around for long.
Meanhwhile, San Diego's Couch just keeps on cruising as he's gotten through four innings with two hits and no runs allowed. The Toreros' three first-inning runs are still the only score of the day.
I'm hanging out in the stands for today's game. With the extra media attention around the USD-Pepperdine matchup, including several regional television stations and our own CSTV cameras, the six-man press box at Cunningham Stadium isn't quite big enough.
Not that I'm complaining. I'm wearing shorts and sandles to work today and sitting in the San Diego sun. I'm just glad they've got their wireless network working.
Things have picked up where they left off on Sunday. San Diego starting pitcher Matt Couch retired the first three Pepperdine batters of the day. The Toreros took advantage and jumped out to an early lead when Daniel Magness knocked a one-out laser down the left field line to score Jordan Abruzzo and Shane Buschini for a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
But San Diego wasn't done. The score prompted a meeting at the mound with pitcher Brett Hunter just one out into the game. Two batters later, Hunter plucked Logan Gelbrich at the plate, setting up Sean Nicol, who hit a ground ball through the legs of Pepperdine third baseman Matthew Frazee. The error allowed Magness to score from second. The inning mercifully ended for Hunter with the bases loaded when Mike Metzger, the ninth batter of the inning, couldn't check his swing for strike three.
In what was billed as a powerhouse matchup between the top WCC teams, Peppderdine is playing to avoid a sweep to San Diego today. Coming into the series, the Waves and Toreros were tied for first place in the conference standings; now the Waves are coming off of two blowout losses and looking to prevent digging a three-game hole behind San Diego at the top of the standings.
Josh Romanski didn't let it get interesting in the ninth. He finished off the shutout of Peppedine in three outs, striking out two of the three to finish with a 5-0 USD win. The Toreros take a two-game lead in the three-game series that was billed as a showdown for the WCC lead.
So far, though, it hasn't even been close. Behind an 11-strikeout performance from Brian Matusz on Friday and today's shutout from Romanski, San Diego has absolutely dominated the Waves and pulled off its 11th straight conference win.
And it hasn't just been pitching. They haven't needed most of them, but the Toreros have racked up 15 runs in two games to back up the stellar performances on the mound. If Romanski and Matusz are able to keep up their current pace, the Toreros are a threat to go deep into the postsesaon.
Josh Romanski does it all. With two on and two out, the San Diego pitcher stepped up to the plate and clocked an Adam Olbrychowski pitch over center fielder Adrian Ortiz's head to score Jordan Abruzzo and pinch runner Kevin McCoy. The runs pad his lead to 5-0 heading into the ninth.
It's not like he really needs them, though. Romanski is warming up for the ninth inning and looks poised to finish the complete game shutout. Unless the Waves have suddenly found the answer for Romanski, it looks like he's well on his way to his eighth win of the season.
With a runner on third and two outs, San Diego third baseman Kevin Hansen helped maintain Romanski's shutout with a nice play off the bag. He picked up a hard hit grounder off of Danny Worth's bat to throw him out at first and send USD to the bottom of the eighth with a 3-0 lead.
With a chance to seal the weekend series in two games and secure a two-game lead in the WCC, Toreros pitcher Josh Romanski continues to plow through the Pepperdine lineup.
Through seven innings, Romanski is still sporting a shutout, has four strikeouts, no walks and has given up just three hits to maintain USD's 3-0 lead. And he isn't even the staff ace. With a pair of left-handed studs in Romanski and Matusz, the Toreros have shut down the powerful Waves and look capable of playing with any team in the country in a three-game series.
With USD holding a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth, Pepperdine manager Steve Rodriguez surprisingly decided to give Dickmann the hook. San Diego had two on with two outs and RBI leader Jordan Abruzzo was at the plate, but Dickmann had been pitching a solid game and gotten Abruzzo out twice already.
The move backfired when Abruzzo slugged reliever Adam Olbrychowski's first pitch to right field, scoring Mike Metzger from third. To compound matters, right fielder Donald Brown misplayed the ball, allowing Justin Snyder to score on an error, giving USD a 3-0 lead.
After flirting with a score in the third, USD got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth. Shane Buschini reached first on a ground ball through first and second and advanced to third when Daniel Magness hit a laser down the first base line.
Logan Gelbrich hit into a double play on the next at bat, but it was good enough to get Buschini home and put the Toreros up 1-0. With the pace of the game so far, that could end up being a valuable run.
In the bottom of the third, San Diego's Mike Metzger reached second on a long drive over the right fielder's head. When he took a big lead off the bag, Dickmann threw a pickoff attempt that hit Metzger squarely on the head, knocking his helmet off. We could hear the smack of the ball in the press box. He shook it off though, but not much avail.
With RBI leader Jordan Abruzzo at the plate with two on and one out, it looked like the Toreros were ready to break the scoreless tie, but Abruzzo grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Much like Romanski, Pepperdine's Robert Dickmann got out of the first inning with little trouble to go to the second with no score. The second inning was a repeat of the first with nobody sniffing home plate for either team.
While Friday's heavyweight matchup between Major League prospects Brian Matusz and Barry Enright was billed as the marquee matchup, today's pitchers aren't slouches. Romanski enters the game sporting a 7-1 record and 2.33 ERA while Dickmann claims a 5-2 record and 3.72 ERA. I'd be shocked to see anyone get close to the 10 runs that USD scored on Friday.
Game two between San Diego and Peppderdine is underway as the Waves look to recover from Friday's 10-3 shellacking and regain a tie for first place in the West Coast Conference.
Josh Romanski is on the mound for the Toreros, and while he didn't get off to the hot start that ace Brian Matusz did in striking out the first five batters of Friday's win, he got out of the first inning unscathed. Adam Ortiz reached on an infield hit and got to second on a throwing error when Romanski overthrew first base on a pickoff attempt. That was as far as he got though as Eric Thames struck out and Ryan Heroy grounded out.
Brian Matusz gets the win to improve to 9-2. But he did give up a two-run tater to No. 8 hitter Travis Tartamella in the 9th before getting yanked. So while his strike out total increased by 11 today, his ERA took a small hit.
USD-Pepperdine: Pepperdine breaks through for a run, USD scores some more.
Things got so bad for Matusz in the 8th inning, he actually gave up a run (gasp!). That caused an actual visit to the mound from Coach Rich Hill (scandalous!). It's now 10-1 going into the 9th.
Pepperdine 1B Ryan Heroy hit a bleeder between 1st and 2nd to score Adrian Ortiz to break the shutout. Matusz goes into the 9th inning with 11 Ks and has given up nine hits. There are two pitchers warming up in the bullpen, so we'll see if Matusz makes it back for a shot at a complete game.
USD has put up two more runs here in the bottom of the 8th
USD-Pepperdine: THIS isn't what I wanted to see today
San Diego has made this one ugly. It's now 7-0 here in the bottom of the 6th. Another pitching change is being made.
Not sure if I should read a lot into this one, Matusz is striking out everyone and Pepperdine looks like a team that is, indeed, in the middle of taking finals and preparing for graduation ceremonies.
Coach Steve Rodriguez told me back on Sunday that this is the time of year that so much is going on, he's not concerned no matter what the outcome of this series. After this weekend, Pepperdine is out of school for the year and, he said, his players can concentrate on just baseball. Which is good news, because it's just not happening for them today.
USD-Pepperdine: Wicked-big home run ends Enright's day
Shane Buschini just parked a Barry Enright pitch on top of the four-story dorm building in right field to make it USD 4-0. Yikes!
Couple of notes:
- USD's Matusz has nine Ks through five innings of pitching. The only inning he hasn't collected a K is the PU 4th inning where he made two great defensive plays to retire the side after giving up a pair of lead-off singles.
- USD's Josh Romanski has made two incredible diving catches in center field. The first one saved two sure-fire Pepperdine runs in the third inning.
- Barry Enright's 4.0 inning stint today was the shortest outing of the season for the Wave ace. Last year, he went 3.1 innings in the Regional title game vs. Missouri for the shortest appearance of his career..
USD still leads 2-zip after three and a half innings.
Pepperdine got a pair of singles to start the fourth inning, but a well-fielded bunt by USD pitcher Brian Matusz got the lead runner (Denny Duron) at third base. Then, Luke Salas got caught in a pickle between 2nd and 3rd, the tag on Salas and the subsequent throw to 2nd base got Travis Tartamella trying to advance a base. Double play. Threat over.
By the way, the play Matusz made fielding the bunt and gunning a guy out at 3rd base is one of the reasons I voted him higher than Vanderbilt's David Price in my Player of the Year voting on CSTV. He's solid defensively.
USD-Pepperdine: Toreros strike first... and second
Josh Romanski (the Saturday starter on the mound) and Sean Nichol started off the 2nd inning with back-to-back singles. Both eventually came around to score. Romanski's tally came on a sac fly RBI from Mike Metzger. Nichol scored on a single by Justin Snyder.