Baseball Comes Back to Win 8-6 at Pepperdine

Zach Walsh
Zach Walsh

MALIBU, Calif. – Santa Clara baseball earned an 8-6 win at Pepperdine on Friday afternoon in Eddy D. Field Stadium. Sophomore Matt Smithwick hit his first home run of the season and scored runs along with freshman Zach Walsh who hit a two-run home run to lead the SCU offense.

Santa Clara (9-31, 5-11 WCC) trailed by two runs entering the ninth inning against Pepperdine (17-22, 6-10 WCC) but rallied to score four runs (one earned) and take an 8-6 lead into the bottom half. Freshman right-handed pitcher Alonzo Billips faced three batters in the bottom of the ninth and recorded three outs to get his first collegiate win. Max Green (0-2) was handed the loss for the Waves.

"The numbers don't tell this ball club's story," head coach Dan O'Brien said. "Say whatever you want about this team, but the real story is their resiliency, how much they care about each other and how much they never stop competing for one another. I love these guys."

Pepperdine took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Jeremy Goldenetz led the inning off with a double, advanced to third on a single and then scored on a sacrifice fly from Aaron Barnett.

SCU responded in the top of the second with a two-run home run by third baseman Walsh to retake the lead. Junior first baseman Jake Brodt walked to lead off the inning and was driven home on Walsh's two-out shot to left center.

The Waves tied the score at two in the bottom half of the second inning on a solo home run by Joe Caparis.

Santa Clara once again took the lead on a two-run home run by right fielder Smithwick. His first home run of the season came after freshman center fielder Andre Nnebe reached base on a strikeout that ended up being a passed ball.

Pepperdine cut the SCU lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the third inning as Ben Rodriguez hit an RBI double to drive in Jordan Qsar.

The Waves knotted things up at four in the top of the sixth inning. Saul Sandoval-Estrada doubled down the left field line to get things going for Pepperdine. Jeremy Goldenetz then singled to right field which advanced Sandoval-Estrada to third base but an error in right field allowed the runners to move up one more base and tied the game at four.

Pepperdine loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth via a walk and two singles. Matt Gelalich then walked to score a run and put Pepperdine ahead 5-4. They added a run later in the inning to lead 6-4 before SCU scored four in the ninth inning to win the game.

Smithwick got hit by a pitch to start the top of the ninth inning and junior designated hitter Niko Holm walked to make way for Jake Brodt. Brodt singled to score Smithwick from second and cut the lead to 6-5. Meditz then reached on a sacrifice bunt and then everybody advanced on a throwing error by the pitcher, including senior Joe Becht who scored to tie the game. Redshirt freshman Ryan McCarthy then singled to score Brodt. Junior shortstop Austin Fisher then hit an RBI bunt to score Meditz. Smithwick's run was the only earned run of the inning.

Up Next: Santa Clara plays game two of the series at 3 p.m. PT on Saturday.

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