Pepperdine Defeats USC 9-2 to Advance to Monday's Regional Championship

June 6, 2005

Long Beach, Calif. - Playing with its back to the wall is something that the Pepperdine baseball team has become accustomed to in recent weeks and this weekend has been no exception. After losing the first game of the Long Beach Regional to USC on Friday, the Waves have stormed back to win three straight, including a 9-2 victory over the Trojans Sunday evening at Blair Field, to advance to Monday's regional championship game.

Earlier on Sunday, Pepperdine (41-22) stayed alive with a 6-3 victory over Long Beach State before coming back later in the day to top the Trojans (39-20) and set up a re-match with USC Monday at 7 p.m.

Monday's game will be televised live by KVMD in the Los Angeles area and can be found by checking with your local cable provider.

Against the Trojans, Pepperdine once again received outstanding pitching as sophomore right hander Robert Della Grotta (3-2) worked 5.1 effective innings and received clutch relief work from freshman Doug Konoske and senior Steve Kleen.

'We got exactly what we wanted out of (Della Grotta),' head coach Steve Rodriguez said. 'We ask our pitchers to give us a chance by getting into the fifth or sixth inning and not giving up the big run.

'It puts such pressure on the offense when you fall behind,' Rodriguez said. 'W tell them to get into the fifth and if they are still grooving we'll let them stay, unless we feel our bullpen has an advantage.'

Della Grotta was able to keep the Waves and in the game and provided exactly what the club needed.

'I really felt good,' Della Grotta said. 'It was a big game and I felt great. I was well rested. I hadn't pitched for a while and it all came together tonight.'

Della Grotta held the Trojans to five hits and two runs over 5.1 innings before leaving with runners at first and second and no outs in the sixth and the Waves in front 3-1.

Konoske came in and after allowing a single that loaded the bases and walking a batter to force home a run, recorded a strikeout and popup to avert further damage and hold the lead.

The Waves added an insurance run in the seventh inning freshman Adrian Ortiz tripled to right -enter field with one out and scored on an infield out.

The freshman right hander worked a perfect seventh inning before giving way to Kleen after surrendering back-to-back singles to open the eighth.

Kleen came in to face USC All-American catcher Jeff Clement and induced him to hit a medium deep foul ball down the right field line that freshman right fielder Donald Brown fielded and made a perfect throw to second to nail Matt Cusick for a double play.

The final out came out on another foul out to right field and Kleen kept the lead and picked up his national-leading 17th save.

Pepperdine broke the game open in the eighth as it sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs.

Junior David Uribes, sophomore Chad Tracy, freshman shortstop Danny Worth rookie Donald Brown each had two hits a piece for the Waves.

NOTES: Pepperdine is in a regional final for the second straight year and third time and second time since 1999...In 1999, the Waves and Trojans met in the regional championship game, and USC defeated Pepperdine 12-7 and earned a College World Series berth...The 41 wins mark the 12th time in school history the Waves had won at 40 games and first since 2001.

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