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Pepperdine Baseball Forces Decisive Game 3 in Super Regional

Pepperdine
The Pepperdine Waves baseball team after defeating TCU, 3-2, in Fort Worth, Texas, to force a decisive third game in the Super Regional of the College World Series. The decisive game is June 9 at 3 p.m. (Image courtesy of Pepperdine University)

The Pepperdine Waves baseball team lives to play another day, as the collegiate squad from Malibu defeated Texas Christian University (TCU), 3-2, on June 8 to force a decisive third game in the College World Series (CWS) Super Regional in Fort Worth, Texas.

It was the second consecutive 3-2 score in the best-of-three series pitting the 1992 National Champion Waves versus the nation’s seventh-ranked Horned Frogs. TCU defeated Pepperdine by a 3-2 count on June 7.

Both teams will play a deciding Game 3 in Fort Worth at 3 p.m. on June 9. The winner advances to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

The Waves (43-17) won behind seven scoreless innings by West Coast Conference pitcher of the year Aaron Brown (13-1), who reportedly struck out four, walked two, and allowed five hits. It was Brown’s 10th consecutive win.

Trailing 3-0 heading into the final two frames, TCU (46-16) scored two unearned runs in the eighth inning, but reliever Eric Karch pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 16th save to preserve the victory.

Pepperdine is looking for its first trip to the CWS since 1992, when the Waves won it all that year. The Horned Frogs, meanwhile, are looking for its first CWS berth in four years.

TCU will send freshman southpaw Tyler Alexander (10-3) to the mound on Monday afternoon. Taking the mound for Pepperdine will be righty sophomore Jackson McClelland (8-3).

Even though the game is at Lupton Baseball Stadium on the TCU campus, the Horned Frogs will be the “visiting” team for Monday’s winner-take-all contest. The home and visitor teams were determined by a pre-game coin flip.

Pepperdine defeated Arizona State in the Super Regional opener in San Luis Obispo, Calif., followed by two wins against Cal Poly. In the other half of the bracket, TCU topped Siena and twice defeated Sam Houston State en route to the Super Regional series against Pepperdine.

A handful of Southern California teams participated in the Super Regional playoffs, including U.C. Irvine, Long Beach State, and Cal State Fullerton. The Anteaters of U.C. Irvine defeated Oklahoma State 8-4 and 1-0 this past weekend to advance to the CWS.

Other teams to earn berths in the CWS on June 8 were Louisville, Texas, Texas Tech, and Vanderbilt.

Texas Tech is playing in its first-ever CWS. For U.C. Irvine, it is the school’s second overall appearance in the CWS and first trip there since 2007, when the Anteaters finished third.

U.C. Irvine will open against Texas. The Longhorns will be making its 35th CWS appearance and finished as college baseball’s champion in 2005. Texas last appeared in the CWS in 2011.

Only three of the nation’s top eight seeds remained standing as of Sunday evening: No. 7 TCU, No. 3 Virginia, and No. 6 University of Louisiana – Lafayette (ULL). The other six top seeds – Oregon State, Florida, Indiana, Florida State, and Louisiana State – have been eliminated.

Louisville made its first-ever trip to the CWS in 2013; the Cardinals finished fifth last year.

Vanderbilt is making its second CWS appearance; the Commodores made its CWS debut in 2011 and finished third overall that year.

There are three CWS berths still available heading into the do-or-die games on June 9. In addition to Pepperdine-TCU, other Game 3s taking place include ULL-Ole Miss and Maryland-Virginia.

The 2014 CWS will begin June 14 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.

UCLA won the 2013 CWS but failed to be one of the 64 teams to qualify for this year’s tournament. The Bruins also played in the 2010 CWS Final, but lost to South Carolina. Last year, UCLA defeated Mississippi State to win the CWS.

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